Booster clubs help support athletes, teams

By David Pan | Aug 22, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Edmonds-Woodway head football coach John Gradwohl (right) watches his players during a running drill earlier this summer at Edmonds Stadium. The football team is one of the programs supported by the Edmonds-Woodway Athletic Booster Club.

The fall prep sports season has begun.

Football practices started on Wednesday and everyone else – volleyball, cross country, girls soccer, boys tennis and girls swimming – kick off their practices on Monday.

But athletes and coaches aren’t the only ones gearing up for the start of the school year.

Edmonds-Woodway and Meadowdale high schools both have active athletic/sports booster clubs that play an important role in supporting student-athletes, teams, coaches and the student body.

Much of their work is done behind the scenes, but the results often can be seen on the fields and courts.

Edmonds-Woodway athletic director Angie McGuire said that the Edmonds-Woodway Athletic Booster Club (EWABC) has been instrumental in enabling the school to hire what she called extra help coaches for almost all of the school’s programs at one time or another. The Edmonds School District funds only so many coaches for each athletic program – typically a varsity, junior varsity and C team coach.

Depending on the needs and the availability, the school has been able to hire additional coaches and fund those coaches through the booster club.

It can make a big difference if two coaches are available to run a varsity practice, McGuire said.

“If we have qualified people around, it’s really nice to pay them,” she said. “We do have a lot of wonderful volunteers … It’s an improved experience for kids if they have the ability to receive more coaching.”

Meadowdale athletic director Beth Marriott appreciates how the Meadowdale Sports Booster Club provides financial assistance to student-athletes and their families. Through its Blue and White fund, the booster club helps with the district’s athletic participation fee ($100 per sport) and the ASB card fee ($50).

“Our sports booster club is providing the opportunity for any student to participate,” Marriott said.

Families are able to have the participation fees waived if they are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

Marriott, however, noted that some families might not qualify for reduced fees and if they have more than one child who plays more than one sport, the athletic participation fees could easily add up. ASB fees are not waivable.

“If you had three children who play sports and you might not qualify (for waived athletic fees), that’s a tremendous amount of money coming out of the family budget,” Marriott said.

In the last three years, the Blue and White Fund has increased its scholarships from $3,200 to $5,100, according to Meadowdale Sports Booster Club board member/treasurer Tracy Moen.

“We want all kids to participate, regardless if they can’t afford or if they don’t qualify for a reduced fee,” she said.

The Edmonds-Woodway Athletic Booster Club also helps cover the cost of athletic fees. McGuire added the club also helps student-athletes attend camps and tournaments.

“If there is a situation with a student-athlete in need, I always reach out and connect with our booster club,” McGuire said. “They help create opportunities for our kids to get out and compete in ways that they wouldn’t be able to.”

Edmonds-Woodway Athletic Booster Club board member/auction chair Gabrielle Catton said that the club supports all of the student-athletes, coaches and teams at the school.

“Part of our goal is to help supplement all of the teams, whether it’s replacing old equipment or uniforms,” she said. “We want to make sure those kids who want to be involved in athletics have the funding behind them.”

Both schools’ booster clubs help pay for transportation for postseason tournaments and games.

Marriott sees the booster club as an instrument to help bring a culture of inclusion to the school’s sporting events.

“They help pay for rooter buses to attend events for students who might not be able to get there,” she said. “They have tailgate events to bring people together. They have incentives to bring kids out to sports events that they might not have attended.”

Added Moen, “We try to involve all of the student body to rally around the kids.”

Both booster clubs are nonprofit organizations and when teams raise funds on their own, such as a car wash, the clubs handle the financial details.

“We bank all the money for all of the teams when they raise money,” Moen said. “We’re really housing it for all of the teams.”

The biggest fundraisers for both booster clubs are their annual auctions in the spring. The Meadowdale Sports Booster Club’s Auction will be held March 21 at Holy Rosary Event Center. The Edmonds-Woodway Athletic Booster Club’s auction is scheduled for April 27 at Holy Rosary.

For more information on the Edmonds-Woodway Athletic Booster Club see: http://edmondswoodwayabc.com/. To find out more about the Meadowdale Athletic Booster Club go to: http://www.mavsportsboosters.org/

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