Just a few years ago, in 2014 to be exact, a group of sports minded parents formed a fundraising group. The idea was to meet the needs of updating sports equipment for the Garden Valley School. At the time, the football team needed newer protection gear.
Mark Palmer and Terry Tucker also wanted to fundraise for lights for the football field. Costs of providing field lights became an ambitious project to the tune of ninety thousand dollars. The reason to consider lights on the field was that there were so many parents, grandparents and other family members that cannot come to day games due to work schedules. Having games that were after dark would mean lights were needed to play at a later time. Lighting for the field project has a gofundme page at this time.
Some concerned parents joined in fundraising efforts to help the football team and in 2014 were able to raise over ten thousand dollars at a Terrace Lakes Ballbuster event. At that time the total amount went entirely to the football team to get protection gear. The group just wanted to help the kids out. Getting lights for the field became secondary and viewed as a long term project. By 2015, the parents organized to become the Garden Valley Booster Club. According to Edie Nelson, Booster Club Treasurer, fundraising began to expand with burger stands at events and working at the cook shack at the football field. They have had big fundraiser dinners, golfing and auctions to raise money with 100% back to the sports programs.
Booster Vice President Bob Nelson said “We realized that other programs needed help, also, and so we split the funds up between all of them now”. In the 3 1/2 years of fundraising the Garden Valley School sports programs have received over thirty-six thousand dollars in money for a variety of sports program equipment.
The Boosters had hoped to get more parents involved but Nelson says that there is a core of about 8 people that volunteer or sit on the Board. The current board members are Mark Palmer-Booster President, Bob Nelson-Vice President, Cindy Encinas-Secretary and Edie Nelson-Treasurer. The Nelsons explained, “We spend a lot of our own time and money to keep things going. It seems that so many people are interested in getting money but do not want to participate in helping raise the money.” Edie spoke about the future of the Booster Club saying, “Soon the baton will need to be passed and others will eventually have to step up to the plate if they want to continue to get money for sports equipment.”
Recently some parents had misunderstandings as to why the money is not going just to the football program. The Booster Club simply changed directions to fund all sports program needs. Now, any coach can make a request for a dollar amount for equipment and is brought before the Booster Club at their meetings. Edie Nelson said, “We want to be fair to everyone since every program has old equipment that needs to be upgraded and new programs starting out need new items.” The Boosters group are hoping to get more parents involved and come to Booster Club meetings to see what is happening.
Written by Janet Juroch – BCC Staff