Volunteers Make it Happen – Meet Bill Powning

Q: How long have you been volunteering with BORP?

I started volunteering with the BORP kayaking program in 2021.

Q: What made you want to start a Pickleball program?

I discovered pickleball six years ago. For me it is the perfect balance between a bit of exercise, social fun, and competition. After seeing all the sports that BORP sponsored I thought “why not pickleball?” A portable net was set up at the bike and kayak facility a couple years ago. A few people tried it out and had fun, so we held another few sessions at James Kenney Park in Berkeley. The weekly Saturday game from 1-3pm started almost one year ago.

Q: Why BORP?

I have really enjoyed being around BORP participants, staff, and volunteers. They remind me to keep doing things I enjoy — what I can, when I can as often as I can.

Q: What’s next for Pickleballers?

That’s up to whoever shows up. I think around 25-30 people have tried it out and we are now getting 6-9 players on a regular basis. Pickleball was a hit at the annual Adaptive Sports Expo. I’m hoping that more young folks come try it out. Everywhere pickleball is played there is a wonderful diversity across age groups and other dimensions. The wheelchair game is breaking into national tournaments with wheelchair and hybrid divisions (wc and standing players). There is a BORP conversation going on about whether to play indoors and/or out and finding a venue with more than one court. Who knows, maybe there will be a “team” someday and games with other wheelchair athletic programs.

Q: Do you mind being call Pickleball Bill?

I am amused by the nickname especially if it attracts some more participants. (And I hope it stays within the BORP community. laughing)

BORP (Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program) Adaptive Sports Expo is an event for people with disabilities to try out the Sports and Recreation activities offered by BORP, October 14, 2023, Berkeley Ca. Photos © Scot Goodman.