High school athletics program launching new direction to raise funds

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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The Winters High School Athletic Department is moving forward with a new approach on fundraising this year. Prior to 2020, parent volunteers in the Winters High School All Sports Boosters Club would work to raise funds throughout the year to help support the athletic program and student athletes. They donated the raised funds to help buy new uniforms, much needed equipment for both athletes and sporting facilities, and provided the Warrior Wear Spirit apparel sold at various sporting events. Daniel Ward, the WHS Athletic Director, said the workload and time commitment was heavy for volunteers and asking local businesses and community members to help support multiple fundraisers was a lot. According to Ward, the sports booster volunteers and the Athletics program mutually decided to try a new idea (inspired by former Superintendent Todd Cutler) of selling sponsor levels once in the beginning of the year versus hosting multiple fundraisers. “We want to do this the right way,” Ward said. “Once a year do a big ask versus small asks throughout the year.” Ward said they were ready to put all of their efforts into the new advertisement program model — And then the COVID pandemic hit and shut it all down. Now with things opening up, Ward said they’re ready to try it again. The sports boosters club has since discontinued, however the same parents are stepping up to launch the new advertisement program. “Although we don’t have a boosters club, it’s those parents helping to get this off of the ground,” Ward said. Ward also noted that they waited to launch the program until June because local businesses and community members were still rebounding from the pandemic industry shutdowns. Funding from the WHS Athletic Partnership Program will go toward safety equipment, game equipment, referees, uniforms, field and gym maintenance. Ward said the WHS Athletic program’s biggest costs is to pay for referees, which ranges from $20–$25K a year. He said one of their more immediate needs is to get a new scoreboard for the gym. He said the current one is broken and they had to borrow a city league scoreboard during the spring season for basketball. The WHS Athletic program had a rough 2020 and had to incur all the costs that normally were funded by the sports boosters fundraising efforts. Ward said this past sports season they had no fundraising and no gate to bring in funds. “Financially we are struggling. We are trying to get back,” Ward said. “We worked hard to build up our savings and last year happened.” The new WHS Athletic Partnership Program offers different levels of sponsorship to businesses, organizations and individuals and ranges from $100 to $2,500. Each level offers the appearance of the sponsor’s name to be announced or to appear at WHS sporting events throughout the year. Including banners at the different sporting event venues around town. Ward said it was a nod at the Winters Little League field. “I love, now that my kids are old enough, to watch my kids play. I notice the businesses up on the (Little League Field) fence. I hope that is the same thing that happens when people come to watch Winters High School sports,” Ward said. To ensure placement in the fall sports program and that banners are printed and hung by the first football game, Ward said the deadline to submit sponsorship is Friday, July 30. The WHS Athletic Sponsorship Program forms are available on the WHS Athletics Facebook page or contact Ward at dward@wintersjusd.org.

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