Camas High School offers a wide variety of extra curricular activities that appeal to many different interests.
Beginning at the end of October, girls bowling will be added to the list.
“Currently, we are the only 3A or 4A school in Clark County who does not offer girls bowling,” said Terry Cavender, CHS athletic director.
Cavender and Rita Pakenen, the district’s human resources director, made a presentation to the School Board at last Monday’s meeting to approve the request for bowling.
The request stems from an effort to increase girls sports participation numbers after a citizen complaint last year under Title IX. It alleged that the district discriminated against female middle and high school students by failing to provide them with equal athletic opportunities.
In lieu of fighting the complaint, the district agreed to report its activities to support female students in athletics to the United States Department of Education, office of civil rights, which investigates Title IX complaints.
Since then, Pakenen and Cavender have been researching ways to get more girls involved, and bowling was one sport that wasn’t offered.
“I don’t know if any high school can meet participation on a truly equal basis, Cavender said. “It’s a moving target.”
Currently, sports participation rates at the high school level is 52 percent male and 48 percent female.
“As long as we’re making every effort to improve opportunities, we are OK.” Pakenen said. “We are looking for places in sports to add young women.”
Girls head track coach Alisa Wise expressed concern that female athletes could potentially be recruited just to make participation rates appear equal.
“I don’t want to force kids out (for track) just to make the numbers look pretty,” she said. “I’m all for equal opportunity but we need to be cautious.”
One of the reasons bowling will be added is that Cavender is hoping to attract a new demographic to the athletic program.
CHS principal Steve Marshall agreed that it would.
“Bowling is unique because it appeals to a different segment of the student population,” Marshall said. “I think it’s a good benefit for the student body overall.”
Bowling is a Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association approved sport, and includes post-season play.
“We have an opportunity to bowl at Big Al’s with the rest of the teams and hopefully our program will grow,” he said. “Bowling gives them another opportunity.”
Cavender is expecting it to cost the school district approximately $4,000 to $5,000 for coaches. Alley rental will be paid from the Associated Student Body fund. He plans to ask the boosters club to cover the cost of team shirts and bags. Players will need to provide their own bowling ball.
Currently, Camas High School sports offerings include football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, track, cross country, golf, swimming and tennis. Girls are offered all of these sports, with the exception of football. They are also offered gymnastics and dance.