Bowl for Kids 2020 Recap

It was a roaring good time as BBBS’ Bowl for Kids event went virtual for 2020! Adjustments had to be made for this annual fundraising event in response to the Coronavirus.

“We weren’t allowed to go to the bowling alley, but everyone was still ready to party like Gatsby as over $95,000 was raised to match at-risk kids with adult mentors. That translates into matching 76 kids on our waiting list!” said Lauren Portley, BBBS Vice President of Development.

This year’s virtual event included an online NetFlix movie night, costume contest, Rec Room virtual bowling game, Kendra Scott mystery boxes, and the sharing of innovative “at home” bowling videos … all sorts of fun as participants celebrated mentoring while channeling the Roaring 20’s.

Participants demonstrated a lot of creativity as they dug through their closets to showcase their costume prowess. Flappers and gangsters alike were evident as the Roaring 20’s Costume Contest got underway. Even BBBS CEO Brent Fields got into the fun with his imitation of Kevin Costner from The Untouchables movie.

“Even though we couldn’t be together in person, we were definitely together in spirit,” said Brent Fields, “focusing our fun and creativity to help children and families during this uncertain time. COVID may affect everyone, but not equally. Now, more than ever, our families need our support and we need yours.”

The Netflix watch party featured a showing of the movie ‘Kingpin’. Participants were invited to purchase special Bowl for Kids ‘movie night snack packs’, and to watch the movie from the comfort of their own homes. They were also able to chat with other viewers online as another way of being connected during the movie.

The fun and games continued with a Rec Room bowling game for registered BFK teams set up by Big Brother and Big Impact Group member Stefan Sinclair. “I was sad when it became apparent that we were not going to be able to bowl together in real life this year,” said Stefan. “When I shared the news with my company’s bowling team, my co-worker, Natti Wallace, suggested seeing if people would be up for bowling “virtually” using the Rec Room online game app.”

Stefan found out that, yes, groups were ready to bowl virtually. “Our company, WaveXR, has its roots in virtual reality (VR) entertainment software, and Natti is our resident expert on all things Rec Room,” he continued. “Participants got online to meet up in a virtual bowling alley with 3 bowling lanes, a virtual pool table, darts and other games. They were able to take photos and selfies with their in-game camera, and there was even a virtual concession area with pizza and drinks. Players were able to chat with each other using voice communication, which helped to provide the fun social experience that’s always such an important part of the in-person Bowl for Kids weekend bowling event.”

The Rec Room bowling session was livestreamed on BBBS’ Facebook page so that the general public could watch, learn more about BBBS, and make donations to the agency. Stefan provided Roaring 20’s trivia, as well as BBBS information, as he served as emcee and “host” for the event. “I most enjoyed the chance to get online and visit with a bunch of friends from BBBS and other game studios teams that I haven’t been able to see in person for the last couple of months,” said Stefan. “That said, even though it was a lot of fun, I really hope we’re bowling together in person at Highland Lanes next time.”

Sponsors play an essential role in Bowl for Kids’ success and this year was no different. 2020 business sponsors included financial consulting firm RSM US LLP – the event’s Kingpin Sponsor, as well as arm, Highland Lanes, Bluepoint Games, Rogers-O’Brien Construction, Apex Systems, BMC Software, GSD&M, HDR, O’Connell Robertson, CrossCountry Mortgage, and Moody Bank. In-kind sponsors included the Austin Chronicle, iHeartMedia, Kendra Scott and Pizza Hut.

Prohibition may have come to an end, but the generosity and support of everyone connected with the 2020 Bowl for Kids event will continue to make a difference in the lives of children for years to come. Thanks to everyone who helped us “think outside the box” to make this year’s virtual event a real success.

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