Booster Club

Discussion in 'Gym Management' started by littlegymchampsmom, Apr 3, 2007.

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  1. littlegymchampsmom

    littlegymchampsmom New Member

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    I am not certain if this is the proper place for this topic, so I apologize if I am incorrect.

    I am interested in finding out how to start a booster club at our gym so, any input from anyone that has started one, been involved in starting one, been a part of one etc. is great.

    How does a booster club work?

    Also, any great advice or complaints to share regarding your own booster club?
    How does your booster club work?
    Is it fair?
    Are you happy/unhappy with it?
    Would you rather compete without a booster club?
    Are there ideas you would use to change the current system?

    Any info regarding this topic would be great! thanks - lgcm
     

  2. Megley

    Megley Guest

    lgcm, this is a great question and I'm sure you will get some good responses. I wish I had more useful information to share, but we aren't required to join our booster club until July. I'll obviously know more about it once I am a member. What I have been able to glean from speaking to team parents is that each team family has to pay in a certain amount to the booster club - I think it is $500 - but that can be paid either in installments or sort of "worked off" by volunteering for bingo nights that the booster club holds. That money, plus money raised via various fund raising events, helps pay for competition leotards, warmups, and other gifts for the gymnasts, as well as travel expenses for coaches. The booster club coordinates getting all the gymnasts signed up / registered at USAG and for various meets, coordinating home meets (there is a meet coordinator for each level), and just dealing with the administrative stuff like scratching gymnasts from meets, adding gymnasts, etc. There are meetings once a month. I think that most booster clubs are 501(c)(3) organizations. Ours has a website that posts meet schedules, meeting times and other pertinent information. It seems like a good idea to me and involves the parents in a volunteer way that assists the coaches and the gymnasts.

    Meg
     
  3. gym law mom

    gym law mom New Member Proud Parent

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    Ok, we'll be honest. Just about every gym with competitive teams have some type of booster club(may be known by other names). I know that the rec program of the gym cannot financially support the competitive program. I feel issues with booster clubs come down to how the parents are treated and what is expected.

    We are not technically required to join the booster club, but I don't know of any parent who isn't a member. When we joined, the booster club was below broke---they owed $ and were facing a new competition season. One reason was, they had put all their faith in bingo for years. Bingo was mandatory at one time---if you had a kid on team you HAD to work bingo. Parents actually left and went to other gyms or just pulled their daughter out completely due to this. Many 501(c)(3) organizations are finding bingo is not bringing in the money it used to due to online gambling among other things. The year we joined the gym owner actually met with the parents and "requested" we all chip in $100/family to get the booster club on its financial feet again. They then looked at doing corporate sponsorships, other fund raisers plus bingo.

    This year was better financially, but they added volunteer hours. A set number for compulsory and higher number for optional(hmmmm--maybe another year at Level 6 would be a good idea!). You do not get hours for helping with meets(working on the floor that is) or doing bingo. The hours are hard to come by and for every hour you're short at the end of the year, you owe $10/hour to the booster club.

    What do we get out of it? If you do bingo AND they make enough $ then it pays for your daughter's meet/coaching fees. It does not cover travel expenses for out of state meets. Each girl has an account and a % of sales from various fund raisers go there which you can use for any gymnastic related expense. They organize an end of year banquet and pay for the gymnasts dinner(parents have to pay for their own). Supposedly, they are picking up the tab for the new warm up/practice leo, but new meet leos/warmups are parent's expense.

    Our booster club has improved some---still has a long way to go especially with communication. Also there is alot of overlap with the actual gym and sometimes it feels like the booster club parents are gym employees.
     
  4. littlegymchampsmom

    littlegymchampsmom New Member

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    Thanks so much to both of you for your responses... they really help a great deal. So, because it is a 501(c)(3) organization, this allows for fund raising correct? I am curious to know how many (approx.) team girls comp & op, your gyms have? + who runs your program? only volunteers/parents or is the gym club owner generally responsible?

    Our gym, being less then 1 yr old, has no booster club for gymnastics, only for our tumbling and tramp program. Right now there are only about 15 girls on team (6 are optional) , but there are another 13 girls moving to team - 11 of them will compete next season. The team is growing... Mine is one that won't compete, but I want to get started on (or at least know about) something to help defray the costs of comp a little - if it is worth it of course. Right now the coaches are very reasonable w/their expenses - I think - , but w/regionals - luckily all of our op girls qualified so that the parents can share expenses - and then w/nationals coming up after.. wow! If only one girl qualifies she would have to foot the bill of the entire trip!!!

    Meg, do you know if the $500 is an initial pay "in", or is it annual? Also is there a monthly fee you pay as well? When you find out/join, I am curious to know if there are more out of pocket expenses you incur during meet time. For instance, does this cover the gymnasts lodging - or only coaches?

    GLM, did your bc have any luck w/corporate sponsorships? How many volunteer hours was required per family for comp/op's and what could you get hours for? - it does seem a little silly to require hours and then not be able to "have the hours" to work. Did I understand correctly that if you work floor, or bingo this did NOT count as your time? Was there many of you that "owed" at the end? ... Is the financial info & the amount of monies raised available for anyone on team to review? Does each girl's account get distributed to equally?

    Sorry for so many more ?'s... I just want to find out if it is worth pursuing. i hope to hear from more on this topic & what you like/dislike about your booster club. nic
     

  5. gym law mom

    gym law mom New Member Proud Parent

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    From what you've said about your teams growing for next year, I would speak with other parents about forming some kind of booster club. See if you can get parents, gym owner and team director to have a meeting to discuss how much it does cost to keep a competitive program running. Since there is a booster club for T & T ask them for ideas on how to get started. There is paperwork that needs to be filed to be officially a 501(c)(3) organization(tax exempt).

    We don't have Level 4, so we have 18 compulsory girls and 21 or 22 optional. As your optional teams get bigger it forces the budget up. As you mentioned you have girls going to regionals and most optional girls compete out of state during their regular meet season. Usually compulsory kids compete in state and their meet fees are less than the optional girls. Our booster club budget this year was about 130k. Only coach's travel/hotels were covered along with meet fees if you did bingo. Any travel expenses by any gymnast are paid for by the parents.

    There are alot of fund raisers you can do which cost you nothing to start---car washes, bake sales etc. Each year now we also "adopt" a charity to give about 10% of our profits to. We did find corporate sponsorhip quite beneficial. One large nationally known sandwich chain signed on last year and we have one of their banners hanging in the gym, they get an ad in every meet program etc. They were nice enough to chip in and buy all the team girls windbreakers with the gym name and logo on the back and their name on the upper left side.

    It will take a couple of years to really get going and have some decent money to spend---sounds like now is a great time to start.
     
  6. davjam

    davjam New Member

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    I have been in several gyms with booster clubs, programs or whatever you want to call it. My personal feeling is that it is sometimes necessary to have them. If your program is self sufficient as a business entity it should carry some of the costs to travel.Entry fees should always be covered (as a coach, I think it should). If the opposite is true, then parents may have to volunteer or even pay for some expenses. I think the best scenario would be to charge a rate that just covers it all. That might seem extreme but then less headaches down the line. The only thing parents should pay for is the room (minus the gymnast) as the number of people could be different at each meet.
    Another problem is that there are certain individual parents that never seem to participate for some reason. This is extra work for others and frustrating for the coaches.:eek: I also think that most fundraisers are too requisite of the parents. They need to be a special project that everyone can enjoy doing and have a great time. It should follow the KISS theory. Also it needs to be set up so that the gymnasts can develop a sense of participation and worth in doing them. Too often fundraising is a chore and duty assigned! :mad: Why can't they be fun and enjoyed?:rolleyes: The most important factor are good people that get along and are able to work with each other. There needs to be a person who is capable to spearhead it through the entire process and others to act as support throughout. Involve the kids for references to what they might like. Anyway those are some thoughts I had to your query. :D
     
  7. JBS

    JBS Administrator Staff Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    You must first talk to the owner of the gym. If they are not interested in a booster club, then it is a no go.

    Sorry to offend anyone...I will be speaking from a management point here.

    95% of booster clubs are not managed well (or not managed at all). They create problems, even fights, all while raising little money. Most of the time the owners and coaches play little part in the booster club (huge mistake).

    There are two ways that I would consider running a booster club at a gym that I owned.

    1. Not at all
    2. Owner of club is a booster club board member

    A gym is a small business. You are paying for a service, gymnastics. Pay for it...don't waste 8 hours working a car wash to earn $25 towards a meet. If a gym is not financially feasible, a booster club will not help. Clubs that are already stable develop stable booster clubs.

    Don't get me wrong...booster clubs can be great, they just need to have a business sense behind them. If your booster club is in the 5% that is operating correctly...you're at a good gym.

    ----------

    Run correctly, a team should break even at the least. If your team is not financially sound, you can expect problems. Many times parent's consider themselves lucky to be at the gym with lower team tuition. Could be true...or has your gym been through 5 head coaches in the past two years. If your gym is bright, clean, and keeps it's coaches....consider yourself lucky. I would gladly pay more at that gym.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2007
  8. gymbabisMom

    gymbabisMom Parent/Coach

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    I guess I should have read further before posting about booster clubs in the parent forum..LOL
    The first gym we went to had not booster club, it was a small gym and parents just paid their expenses as they went along. They did sort of band together and fundraise to buy equipment with was gifted to the gym.
    Second gym we went to had a highly organized and wealthy booster club. It was really well run and had very diverse fundraising opportunities. If you were willing to work, you could feasibly work off all your assessments (which ranged from $200 to about $500 quarterly).
    Current gym has a booster club that is sort of hit or miss. Other than working the fireworks booth, there is very little opportunity for fundraising unless you turn into a little amway person. Some of the sales fundraisers are very successful but usually for people that work in schools or healthcare, where they are constantly around people. Also, there is not much effective delegation, so the same people do everything, then complain cause they have to do everything. It just isn't well organized or run in my opinion, but here's my biggest complaint. Because my daughter was the only level 8, my assesments were high (wound up over $800 for the year). I have a very hard time paying an amount like that and still owe half of it. My budget is so tight it squeaks. The last meeting I went to they were discussing how they were going to make a rule that your child cannot compete unless everything is prepaid and the most adamant supporters of that were probably paying half of what I have to. Also the bills never come out untill right before the holiday season. So by that plan, I would have to come up with over $800 between November and January.
    Okay, off my soapbox, can you tell this is a touchy subject???
     
  9. littlegymchampsmom

    littlegymchampsmom New Member

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    wow, so much to think about... thanks for the responses.

    Gymbabismom, I can see what has happened in your situation, happening at our gym as well. For me that is further down the line, but it would be nice to get something going that is beneficial to all concerned. I am sure it is difficult and I hope that it all works out well for you... Do your coaches have a set amount that they charge per meet or is it based on their actual expenses?

    GLM, I def will be speaking w/other parents and of course the club owner, but I wanted to find out as much as I could about booster clubs before I do. Our gym is a little complicated... our club owner has a vested interest in the T & T part because her children are on the team + there are a few national/international tumblers on that side as well. I am hoping that the idea of starting a bc for the gymnastic side will be well received, but no one has really said anything about it. I am going to review what everyone here has said and really think of the best way to approach it. I would like to at least help get something in the works now... I think it is difficult for the team girls parents (because many of them travel a far distance everyday) to even think of adding more time to their schedule, and maybe they prefer to keep things the way they are... but wow! 130k?? I know that meets/travel can be expensive, but I guess I did not realize how everything can add up!

    tx again to all for your help, nic
     
  10. littlegymchampsmom

    littlegymchampsmom New Member

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    tx Davjam, for more input... what do you mean by the KISS theory? I think one of the reasons fundraising becomes less fun and more like a chore is because some parents have more than one child to fundraise for... at least that is the case for our family - football, basball, school, dance etc. Not that I mind fundraising because it can be fun and we always enjoy it as a family, but in the case of gymnasts, they already spend so much time training as it is...
     
  11. littlegymchampsmom

    littlegymchampsmom New Member

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    JBS, tx for your input as well. Can you give me an example of what a successful (in the 5%) booster club would be in your opinion? Our gym is only a year old and I am not certain of how well it is doing. The coaches "brought" a lot of their team w/them when they came...

    I am not sure I understand

    "You are paying for a service, gymnastics. Pay for it...don't waste 8 hours working a car wash to earn $25 towards a meet."

    How would the booster club make money w/out fundraising? Are you saying the fees should be built into the monthly fees of comp gym? - which btw, would be ideal to me. I am going to talk to a couple of other parents later today and just get an idea of how the T&T Booster club works at our gym, so I am sure I will have even more ?'s after - lol. :D
     
  12. Megley

    Megley Guest

    LGCM, it's an annual fee but you can "work it off" by volunteering for bingo or other fund raising activities or you can pay it on an installment basis so that you don't have to come up with the $500 at one time. There is no monthly fee to pay unless you split the $500 into monthly installments. I know for certain that travel expenses for the gymnasts are not paid so we would need to pay gas, hotel and meal expenses for away meets. Fortunately, there are only two travel meets in the Level 4/Level 5 compulsory schedule. Once you get into optionals, the costs are much higher and there are more travel meets. We have lots of compulsory gymnasts but not so many optionals. Last year, I think there were 20 Level 4s, about the same number of 5s, maybe 15 Level 6s. It drops off in optional Levels with probably a total of 20 girls in Levels 7 through 10.

    At least in our area, there seems to be a high demand for bingo so the booster club does fairly well with that fundraiser, though I believe there are others, and corporate sponsorship as well.

    I am not really in the know about the financial status of the booster club, but it seems to be doing pretty well and is supported by the gym owners. When I find out more, I will be sure to add the information. Good luck to you with starting a booster club. It's good that there is one already existing for T&T. It seems like that would be a good place to start and to get input.

    Meg
     
  13. JBS

    JBS Administrator Staff Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Exactly...I'm saying the parents should just pay for everything. A successful team program should be able to sustain itself financially...or it's obviously not successful.

    I'm just saying that working all day to get ONLY $25 is crazy. Meetings, fund raisers, etc...is it really worth it for the amount of money you earn. I'm the parent that would pay the dues in full and do nothing but watch my child have a good time.:)

    A successful booster club is one that is achieving it's goals and meshing well with the ownership of the gym...set your goals low and keep a clear line of communication with the owner (coaches don't count in this case, must be an owner). A booster club is like a business...start small and grow over time.

    KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid (some people prefer Silly)
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2007
  14. gym law mom

    gym law mom New Member Proud Parent

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    Ok, JBS you and our gym owner need to talk. He claims there is no way the rec program at our gym plus what we pay for monthly tuition for team will cover all team expenses. This is not a small gym. Main gym with 3 other locations all of which offer rec classes. Have a boys competitive program at one of the other gyms(about 3 yrs old)--girls pre-team, team and Eagles all practice at the main gym.

    We have paid "for everything" since my daughter moved to team as a Level 5 and again this year as a Level 6. Can we afford it if she moves to optionals---I don't know. We opted not to do bingo which did cover all meet and coaches fees for those that did. Several reasons on the bingo were the parent in charge is just plain obnoxious, one parent would have to commit to basically a job after work(doing bingo IS work) 2 nights/month and we all needed some family time rather than running to bingo.

    Right now, everyone pays a monthly tuition which of course goes up as your child moves up each level, USAG fee(1x/yr), $200 team fee---paid to the gym every summer and is put in their "equipment account" to help repair/replace old equipment, new team leos/warm ups when needed, $500 in meet entry fees(an estimate) plus about $200 in coaching fees for meets. Our complusory girls do not go out of state for meets---all are usually under 2hrs driving time. Big difference with optional. Meet fees are normally higher and this past season our optional teams went to 3 out of state meets that required flying, hotels etc. Then of course if your daughter has a good state meet, there is the possibility of regionals, sectionals etc.

    Some families simply don't have the money to pay for all of that. We do participate in some of the other fund raisers and have paid for a few things with money in my daughter's account. So, JBS, what would you do if a parent came to you and said we can't afford competitive gym(I know you don't have a comp program) and since your gym doesn't have any fundraising, we're going to have to either leave and find a gym that has it or she'll have to quit?
     
  15. JBS

    JBS Administrator Staff Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    I don't think ANY of the rec. fees should go towards team. This is a big argument in the gymnastics world. Every program in a gym should be able to sustain itself. There are very few gyms in the country running this way...but it is possible.

    Some owners also think it is not possible to run a gym without a team. They think the team pulls in all the rec. kids. HA HA...our 2 locations house 1700 gymnasts, 34,000 sq. ft., and an annual gross revenue nearing $2 million.

    I am a coach and a businessman. This is my life and my profession. I have a family to support. If someone could not afford it, I would fill their spot with someone that could. That's life.:( You have to remember that there are thousands of kids that never get to try gymnastics just because the sport, in general, is too expensive.

    Sounds cold...but that's the truth.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007
  16. bogwoppit

    bogwoppit Administrator Staff Member CBBC Board Member Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    I have to say at our gym, we do one small fundraiser a year, funds always go to new equipment. Rec fees do not pay for team. Parents pay every penny for their team girls. No family discounts etc. The fees are assessed at the begining of each year, you can pay in 4 post dated cheques or one full cheque. The fee includes all coaching, comp fees and for any coaches hotel rooms. Extra comps, suits, warm ups are charged extra, if you don't pay your child does not compete.

    Works really well, and as it has always been this way nobody has ever quit for financial reasons, often some do not begin team because of it though. Some girls train less hours to make it more affordable.

    Unfortunately gymnastics is not a cheap sport, and any sport that is pursued past rec levels is going to get pricey. It does suck that it becomes difficult to afford, but that is the way it is in amateur sports. My kids would love a horse in our field, but we can't afford it, so they don't have one.:(

    I tend to agree with JBS, I also would rather pay the money for a clean, bright facility with excellent coaching and leave it there. I do not want to help with bingo etc. Though I am happy to offer my time if I see a need, please do not "volunteer" me or my time.:p

    It has been very interesting to read how clubs differ in this way, none are wrong, all are different. What works is fine, what doesn't perhaps wshould be changed? Thanks for sharing you points of view for me to read!:cool:
     
  17. JBS

    JBS Administrator Staff Member CBBC Board Member Verified Coach Proud Parent Former Gymnast

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    Nicely said!:applause:
     
  18. gymbabisMom

    gymbabisMom Parent/Coach

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    In a perfect world....
    In my imperfect world, my kid made team when we could afford it. Later I was able to afford it because the gym we went to had a really good fundraising program. Now, my kid is still keeping up her grades, is still dedicated to the sport, and still trying her heart out. By the strictly business point of view, it would be to bad, so sad, you have to quit because your parent's can't afford it! Thank God everyone doesn't feel that same way, but now because of circumstances, that is probably exactly what I will have to tell my beautiful and talented child..
     
  19. gymgramma

    gymgramma Guest

    Why don't you try to find "sponsors" for your daughter to help w/gymnastics expenses? there is a girl at our gym who's mom sends out sponsorship letters to all their family and friends and she raises most of her child's expenses that way - meet fees, camp fee, leos, etc
     
  20. gymbabisMom

    gymbabisMom Parent/Coach

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    That's funny, my husband and I were just talking about that very thing.
     
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