Aspen Booster Club’s reach goes beyond football ﬁeld
ASPEN – Like most fall weekends in Aspen, this coming one is busy with high school sports – the football team plays Friday night under the lights, and the newly resurrected girls softball team plays Saturday, as does the girls volleyball team.
And like most fall weekends in Aspen, the AHS Booster Club will be out there recruiting members and drumming up support for the dozens of sports, activities and clubs it backs each year.
“One of the things we know is that during these times of severe budget cuts, every penny counts,” said Mary Ryerson, a member of the AHS Booster Club’s executive committee. “This is where the Booster Club can really make a difference for the entire school community.”
In fact, the Booster Club – a 100 percent volunteer organization, which means all proceeds go toward the programs it supports – doesn’t just back athletics. In Aspen, Booster Club grant recipients range from the AHS football team to the student senate and from the Great Ideas Seminar to the all-school, end-of-year picnic. Programs like Experiential Education, the National Honor Society and the school’s literary magazine are also on the Booster Club radar.
“We fund everything … literally,” said Ryerson, explaining that grant requests are reviewed monthly, with decisions on which groups get funding made by the club’s board with input from the school so that duplicate grants are not issued. “Our goal is to try to fund things that have an impact and that can be sustainable.”
According to Ryerson, the amount the Booster Club raises varies from year to year. In the past, it has been able to give out as much as $80,000 in grants annually. Generally, the club brings in “tens of thousands of dollars” per year.
“We fund some significant needs and some smaller needs,” said Ryerson, using the examples of new jerseys for the soccer team and a teacher breakfast as opposite ends of the spectrum.
Booster Club membership, which is available at varying levels of support, is the organization’s largest funding source; a membership drive is currently under way, though people can join at any time. The group also raises money through concession sales at sporting events, the sale of AHS logo wear and more.
“There are several great fundraising groups that support the schools,” Ryerson said. “But we are the grassroots one … the fun one.”
The reason, she said, is simple: “The schools should be the epicenter of the community so everyone can find a reason to come out and support the teams, clubs and events we sponsor.
“That’s one of the reasons I like Booster Club – kids, parents, whomever can be a part of it.”
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