By Peter Dugré
The cha-ching of a cash register sounds every time a local high school sports team needs new equipment. Budgets rarely meet demand for the robust local sports program. It’s the behind-the-scenes energy of the all-volunteer, non-profit Carpinteria High School Boosters Club that ensures enough funds are raised to bridge budget gaps and purchase items like new jerseys, scoreboards and bus rides.
In the spring of 2013 a new set of faces and fresh ideas took on leadership of the Boosters. Their focus aligned with what the boosters have always represented, a fundraising organization that supports CHS athletics. Yet, under the leadership of President Chris Kelsey, the newly minted board has driven membership up and has injected enthusiasm into the club that has paid off with $10,000 in annual contributions to the CHS athletic department to continue operations and to additionally support grants for numerous sports programs.
Board members often start due to their children’s involvement but continue even after their student-athletes graduate. Kelsey’s son, Connor, graduated from CHS last year. His daughter graduated in 2012. He’s still active as the club president and the announcer at Warrior football games.
Kelsey, a CHS alumnus, will continue on with Boosters in much the same way as Lori Bowles, the spirited hot dog server and concessionaire. She’s the vice president of Boosters and has not had a child at CHS since 2009, when her son graduated.
“Growing up I witnessed my parents donate endless hours to my high school, and I committed many years ago to pay it forward,” Bowles said. “Boosters has given me the opportunity to support the school and my son, make new friends, experience personal growth, and help make a difference for the betterment of the students.” She considers investing in local sports a community investment that pays dividends.
Club secretary Christie Cooney has been a voice behind the drive to refine the organization. The club meets the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. at the CHS cafeteria, 4810 Foothill Road. At the meetings, 13 board members and anyone else interested in the progress and needs of local sports teams, can hear the latest news.
The primary ways funds are generated remain membership drives—it’s $20 a year to be a member—concessions at football games and track meets and shrimp cocktail sales at the California Avocado Festival.
While an energized board is throwing ideas back and forth for more fund raising and creative new ways to support local high school sports, the goal of funding sports has never changed. And according to Cooney, the motivation remains “to encourage the moral and physical development of CHS students through the schools athletic program.”
Cooney, along with husband Pat, are motivated by three young daughters to continue supporting local opportunities for students-athletes through 2029, when their youngest daughter will graduate CHS.
Across all sports last year, CHS had 618 participants on 42 teams in 18 sports. Seven varsity teams made playoffs, three won league championships and girls varsity tennis won a CIF championship.
For the 2014-2015 school year, the Boosters plan to pick up the tab for new boys soccer and girls volleyball uniforms, contribute to golf range and course fees and assist with football helmet concussion prevention equipment, among many other projects. Last year, the Boosters supplied more than 1,000 sports balls.
The annual membership drive kicks off in September. Last year, the club gained eight new Lifetime Members, the highest level of membership earned with a $1,000 donation. Help is always welcome to staff the concession stand and avocado festival. To get involved, contact email@example.com.