MARQUETTE- We might think of bridge as a game geared toward older people, but one club is getting area youth involved and learning the game.
A youth bridge club has been started at Bothwell Middle School to teach students how to play bridge so they can continue to play it throughout their years, said Mary Buys, the club's assistant teacher.
"It's an old people's game," Buys said. "We're hoping that we'll get younger people interested (in bridge), start playing and that it will replenish bridge players."
From left, Cooper Smith, 11; Lillan Bioll-Thompson, 10; Alexis DesParios, 11; Zoe King, 13; and Mason Garceau, 11, set to play a game of Bridge during the Youth Bridge Club recently at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Assistant Mary Buys, right, helps Zoe King, 13, arrange her cards and to choose one to play during the Youth Bridge Club at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Mason Garceau, 11, picks up a card at his partner’s direction during a game of bridge at the Youth Bridge Club at Bothwell Middle School in Marquette recently. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
There are two bridge clubs in Marquette, Jayne's Bridge Club and Superiorland Bridge Club. Jayne Paquette, the creator of Jayne's Bridge Club, want to get more youth involved in bridge, so she asked Buys to help and they started the program up in January, Buys said. They got permission from the school principal and sent out emails to parents and put on notices, she said.
"The program goes for about 12 weeks," Buys said. "Each week the kids learn a different part of bridge. Right now we're just teaching them the basics."
The American Contract Bridge League puts an emphasis on getting young people to learn bridge, Buys said. So ACBL has helped by supplying free books, cards and other things to the club, she said.
"ACBL has been very helpful with getting us supplies for the kids," Buys said. "And they encourage clubs, like Jayne's Bridge Club, to do things like this."
There are currently five kids in the bridge club at Bothwell. Buys said she hopes to continue this next year and maybe even expand to another school.
"We're a little bit surprised by the turnout, but I think for a beginning it's pretty good because it is a difficult game to learn," Buys said. "These kids have stuck with it and they're very dedicated, I think."
Mason Garceau, 11, learned about the club from an email his parents got from the school's principal. Garceau learned about bridge from his friend Cooper Smith, who is also in the club, he said.
"Cooper plays bridge on Saturdays with his grandma and I always wanted to learn how to play and I thought this was the perfect opportunity," Garceau said.
Garceau said he's still learning the basics of bridge - still a beginner - but he still finds bridge to be a fun game to play.
"It's really fun. We get to hang out and play card games that don't take that long, so we get to play a few hands," Garceau said.
Garceau said he hopes to participate in the club next year if it continues, and thinks that other students should join too.
"It's something to do that doesn't have to do with technology and is challenging to play but it's a lot of fun," Garceau said.
For more information about the club and other bridge lessons call Jayne Smith at 225-1456.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.