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Junior Entry Fees at ACBL NABC

The ACBL has long maintained a junior discount policy at NABCs, and I know (anecdotally) that this has made participating meaningfully more affordable and attractive for some families, and also younger players who are paying their own way.    

I believe that the "$10 coupon" option was first instituted when regular entries to NABC+ events were only $20 per session.  Thus, eligible young players were offered half price or better, and the most they would ever pay for any event was $10 per session.   

Now that those entry fees are up to $30, I'd like to suggest that it is time to increase this discount to at least $15, and preferably more.  Otherwise, I think we have a situation which greatly discourages youth players for whom cost is a concern from playing the top events.   This is especially true for those aged 19 and Under, who could be playing free in a regional event.   Under the current policy, an NABC+ event will instead cost them $40 a day, or even more if they reach a stage where screens are in use.  An NABC event will cost them $24 per day.  A regional or lower rated event is free.

Even when entry fees were "only" $25 per session, the financial cost of playing NABC+ events as opposed to regional events has been quite significant, again, especially for those aged 19 and Under.  When players from my area are headed to Youth NABC (which is free entry) at the Summer Nationals, I like to encourage the more advanced players to try at least one NABC or NABC+ event if their family can be there for more than just the Youth NABC.  Yet for some, the difference in cost is a deterrent to doing this, and they stick to side games and regional events.    

Link to full Las Vegas NABC fee schedule: https://nabc.acbl.org/vegas/plan/#fees 

YOUTH & JUNIOR ENTRY FEES

$10 coupon All Juniors 21 and under and full-time students 26 and under are entitled to coupons that may be used for any event. Full-time students must provide proof of eligibility. Coupons have a $10 value.

Free plays Any Junior 19 and under may play for free in any regional-rated event (for other events, see $10 coupon).

NBO Junior Teams Junior players named to teams to represent Zone 2 NBOs in world competitions will receive free plays at NABCs when playing with members of their team or members of another team representing a Zone 2 NBO. These free plays are valid for NABCs occurring between the time they are named to the team and the world championship.

Given that my son is soon to become ineligible for most of these discounts (except maybe next year, those offered to NBO Junior Teams), I feel more comfortable raising this issue.  I was reluctant to do so in the past, because of the financial gain to my family.  I'm also motivated to speak out now because the upcoming fee increase makes it even tougher for me to encourage our more ambitious local youth players to try NABC+ events, especially in cases where  I know that going to the NABC at all is difficult for their family financially (despite SiVY sponsorship).

  

If there are any board members reading this who agree that a change may be in order, and would be willing to work to get this done (ideally for this summer!),   I'd be happy to discuss this further either in the comments here on BridgeWinners, or privately.  

 

I am grateful that the ACBL offers these discounts, both as a parent who has benefited, and as a youth bridge organizer.  Even if there is no change made, this policy is fantastic!!  I just think it could be even better:)    

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