"The Fundamental Helpers": A Look at the Booster Club
Published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 3:23pm
URBANA - Imagine Uni gym decked out in orange and blue. Tables fill up most of the gym floor, a few with huge bowls of pasta, tasty treats, and refreshing drinks. The rest of the tables have Uni High athletes and their parents sitting at them, enjoying their food and chatting joyfully.
This setting is of the well known sports banquets held at the end of each season. These celebrations would not be possible if it weren't for Uni High's Booster Club.
The Booster Club is a group of volunteer parents that aid during sporting events, raise money for athletics, and do what they can to help coaches.
Last year, the Booster Club provided much support to athletics. One of the highlights was Uni's participation in Coaches vs. Cancer, a movement spread by the American Cancer Society throughout the nation in an effort to raise money to find a cure for cancer.
Uni High was set to compete against Normal Calvary Baptist in boy's basketball. Many fundraisers were planned for that night, such as a raffle, a halftime shootout, and multiple donation boxes constructed around the gym. People also had the option to write on the pink memorial paper that lined the hall to the gym, giving small stories or comments about people they knew that were affected by cancer.
Not only were fundraisers set up for that night, but several weeks before the game t-shirts, that were designed by alumni Eddie Diazmunoz, were being sold to help the cause. The weeks leading up to the game were filled with pink t-shirts and profits.
When the game day came, a rally was held for two hours prior. During the rally, students dined on free pizza and salad, painted their faces, and creatively made banners and balloon arches.
The night's events and t-shirt sales yielded $2,100 for Coaches vs. Cancer — a tremendous success.
Now while the Booster Club does not do many of these huge event, even the smaller things they do are incredibly important too. Every year, the Booster Club runs the fall, winter, and spring sports banquets where they provide food for the athletes and parents.
The electricity used to run the scoreboard for home soccer games is payed for by the Booster Club, as are "those fashionable green Port-a-Pottys so enjoyed by soccer fans," remarked Booster Club President Pat Fernandez.
All of these things attribute to the Booster's Club primary goal, which is to support the teams and their coaches. The amount raised last year with this goal in mind was $12,000, all going to help out with needed equipment, space, or renovations.
With such a successful year last year, the Booster Club aims to hit high again. Fundraisers will be reinstated.
"We will once again be working with Mr. Beesley to host the Coaches vs. Cancer event," says Fernandez. "Last year was our first year participating in this event and we ended up number six in the state for raising the most funds of participating schools."
With a new year also comes new ideas for fundraisers. Volley for a Cure, an event similar to Coaches vs Cancer, will be held next month as Uni High's volleyball team plays Arthur Okaw Christian.
Also you might have already seen the new addition to the Booster Club coming in the bi-weekly Booster Blast, a school-wide e-mail highlighting how the different Uni teams are doing and what they will be participating in through the coming weeks.
Behind the success of every Uni High athlete are the coaches, families, and Booster Club representatives that make it all possible.
"They [Booster Club] are fundamental to the success of the athletic programs and are a major help to the Athletic Department as a whole," said Athletic Director Sally Walker.
So whenever you watch a game or a match, remember to stop and think about the work that was put into the planning and putting on of the event and be proud that it happens so seamlessly thanks to the great help of the Booster Club.