As bocce has a successful stint in schools across Paris, the Australian community is encouraging a similar program in local schools.
As countries emerge into a new COVID-normal way of life, a big focus for most nations is in getting the community back into sports, as part of the overall health and wellness of the nation.
Likewise in Australia, the focus will be getting communities back to sport and Bocce Australia will focus on our youth with programs, like that running in Paris.
In Paris, the youth sports program was launched and the junior bocce program was one of the leading sports.
In Paris the local government area (LGAs) or arrondissements are named according to their number, which corresponds to an administrative district and there are a total of 20.
All 20 arrondissements held a bocce program with a typical attendance of hundreds of youths enjoying and learning bocce skills.
The youth games brought together 540 middle-school students at INSEP, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris – an action that is part of Heritage Paris 2024 to promote all sports to young people.
The program was very popular with the public and the young participants, and for this reason, bocce sport was selected as a sporting activity for its qualities of skill, endurance, and resistance.
“We presented our sport to an audience and teachers who did not know the sport of bocce,” said Thierry Mahoudeau, technical manager of the FFSB in charge of the Youth Games action.
“Many left with the desire to play our sport and the students enjoyed it.”
Throughout the weekend, the students took turns to give the best of themselves on sports activities that are not part of the curriculum in the schools and colleges.
From the obstacle course inspired by the show Ninja Warrior to the para sport with relay course of wheelchair manoeuvrability, to blind football through a laser run, to a dance event on connected mats or a test of connected bikes in relay, the progressive shooting was decisive for the most favoured by the youth.
In teams of three, they took turns for five minutes before giving way to the second group who was responsible for putting the cones and balls back in action for their comrades.
Incorporating challenge, aerobic exercise, resistance, and recovery time, “we have all aspects of a fun, active, fast-paced sport for all level” said the technical framework of the FFSB, who hopes to repeat the experience next year.
Bocce Australia has adopted these elements in the Junior Bocce development program and are looking for councils (LGAs), clubs and schools interested in taking up bocce as a sport to build a pool of talented players in this area.
We encourage interested organisations to contact their local state bocce representative or Bocce Australia.
As a kick-start to this program, for the next 12 months Bocce Australia will sponsor schools and clubs that are keen to implement a junior bocce program, along with support from one of our partner providers or our National Development Officer.
As we come out of this COVID-19 pandemic, resurrecting community sport, club sport, and school sport will be so important for our youth, so get on board now!