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Everyone Pays Same Amount - Booster Fees

Would you pay seasonal fees if they were the same for all levels? (ex. L2-L10/Xcel/Boys=$1000/year)

  • Yes - We are a team and should be paying for the team no matter our child's level.

    Votes: 3 21.4%
  • Yes - But I would not be happy about it.

    Votes: 8 57.1%
  • No - I would leave and go to another gym that does not do it this way.

    Votes: 3 21.4%

  • Total voters
    14
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JBS

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Here is a excerpt from the Twistar's Gymnastics Handbook...anyone at a club that operates like this? What do you think of it?

http://www.twistarsusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2013-14-Handbook.pdf

Our TEAM Booster Club

Twistars USA Gymnastics Club has a very active and well-respected “Booster Club”. The
goal of the Booster Club is to support the competitive team in a variety of ways, but
foremost it is their function to underwrite some of the related expenses.

Each family of a competitive team member is required to hold membership in the Booster
Club. Requirement for participation in the Booster Club is set each year by the Board of
Directors as specified in the Bylaws. Members should understand that the Booster Club
requires three specific actions on your part. They are:

Financial Commitment—the financial commitment for each year is determined by a
recommendation of the Board of Directors and voted on by the general membership in
Aug/Sept. of each year. Commitment has been running around $1300 (including $330 for
Camp) per family. Fundraising opportunities are available to each member. Commitment
payments are broken into monthly installments beginning in July and spread out over the
competitive season. Once a member accepts their spot on competitive team we have a one
month grace period prior to being committed and obligated to the entire financial
commitment to boosters club. This means that even though a monthly payment plan
exists, IF a child should decide to retire from the sport of gymnastics, the financial
commitment to booster club is still due in full.
How is the Financial Commitment Determined? Simple, first we establish a
competitive team budget (entry fees, 50% air fare, coaching fees, boosters club
administrative costs, phone, postage, web site fees, etc) For example $230,000. Next we
deduct the money raised through our general fundraisers (see Time Commitment). For
ease of math lets say $100,000 was raised. $230,000 minus $100,000 leaves $130,000 left.
We take this amount and divide it by the number of booster club families (say 100) and
that is how we come up with the $1,300 financial commitment fee.
As per your signed team agreement (required for participation on Twistars
competitive teams) families are obligated to the entire booster club commitment fee as of
August 15th. Families may opt for full payment OR a monthly payment plan established by
booster club. Athletes that retire from USA Gymnastics Club competition for greater than
one year Between Aug 15 and Dec 31st
would only be obligated to the monthly fees that
extend through their 30 day notice of departure period. Retiring after January 1 would
create a commitment to fulfilling to entire financial obligation to Twistars Boosters Club.
Athletes choosing to pursue gymnastics training at another USAG club would be obligated
to the full booster club amount for that year. There is a grace window from July 1- August
15th where if a child retires from the sport, all booster club obligations would be waived.

Time Commitment— The above example illustrates the importance of productive and
profitable GENERAL FUNDRAISERS. The time commitment creates a work force for the
important fundraising events. Booster club members are required to serve as the work force 22

for our TWISTARS USA GYMNASTICS INVITATIONAL (which raises $50,000-
$90,000 each year) and one other smaller event (usually in the form of a gymnastics
competition). Families should automatically set aside the first full weekend in January (with
the Friday being the 5th or later) as this is the date for our annual Twistars Invitational.
Depending on the number of families in the boosters club, the jobs are divided up, and the
number of working hours determined.

Committee Assignment—each family, in addition to your active participation on an
Invitational Committee, is required to serve on a standing committee of the Booster Club.
Sign up for committee assignments is usually held in late summer. Efforts are made to
assist members in signing up to serve on a committee in which they have some expertise.
 

gymmiemom

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Feb 28, 2013
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Our booster club is run like that. We are a small club so those numbers do not compare to ours, but the idea is the same. Our "membership fee" is set each year at our annual budget meeting which is held in June, by the Executive Board. This year it was $500. We broke it up into installments with the final one being due the month we would have our first meet (November). Those fees along with our fundraising cover EVERYTHING. Coaches fees, meet entrance fees, leos, warm-ups, additional clinics the girls attend in the off-season, awards banquet, team gifts for state, and usually at least part of camp if not the whole sum. It is so nice to start meet season knowing there are going to be no additional funds required of me except for my own traveling cost.

The thing I like about the fee is that there are always those families that don't pull their weight when it comes to volunteering or working a fundraiser. So if they have at the very least, put their money in the pot, it makes it an easier pill to swallow for the rest of us who spend hours every month or sometimes week on booster club business.

You cannot be on team without being a member of the booster club. Fees are minimal in comparison to paying for everything out of our own pockets. Of course new parents always slightly balk at the membership fee, but once we show them the budget they come around very quickly.

We fundraise only 3 times a year. We host 2 meets (our major money makers) and hold an annual father-daughter dance in the community which also makes a few thousand for very minimal work. We have done other fundraisers if we end up coming up short but I love that we aren't constantly selling stuff :)
 
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Seeker

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Aug 30, 2012
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We don't have a booster club...it's every man for himself. Which means, we pay for everything out of pocket.
 

rjb123

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Aug 17, 2013
810
Ours is quite similar to that, however it is divided into compulsory and optional charges. So those two groups do pay different amounts. It is not cheap, but frankly, when you consider the costs of meet fees, USAG memberships, coaches at meets, etc, it is not too bad. I do hear it is a doozy if you do a "double season" though - (compulsory in fall and optional in spring- you are paying year round, where normally you only make your payments during your "meet season"), but there are LOTS of opportunities to make money to decrease your cost! I want to say that our total cost this year was in the range of 750ish. We don't do a "camp" so that is different, and in the compulsory levels we travel locally. I like that our HC tries her best to make this sport as affordable as possible while still giving the girls the experiences they need as the move towards the higher levels. She really knows what she is doing IMO.
 

Dka

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Feb 23, 2013
267
Sounds like ours too, ours is 1000 but we pay for each meet too, so besides the steep tuition monthly, it adds another 2000. Very expensive sport
 

gymmomtoo

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Sep 27, 2011
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We don't have a fee like that--we do say if you go to another gym after you are registered for meet fees, you must reimburse the booster club for those fees, but have never had it happen, and doubt we'd enforce that. I also wonder Twistars tries to make people continue paying after the gymnast quit. I would think they'd have trouble with that.
 

cbifoja

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I'm assuming these are not 501c3 booster clubs.
 

JBS

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What I'm really trying to figure out is what everyone things of everyone paying the same amount regardless of level. We are looking at L2-L10 girls / boys and Xcel all paying the same amount.

This means that the upper end will get a good discount.
 

JBS

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My understanding is that we cannot require membership fees or volunteer hours as a stipulation of sharing in the benefits of the booster club.
The clubs are requiring those...not the booster clubs. Our team requires 16 hours worked at home meets. The profit from these then goes to the booster club. Our club also requires an equal donation to the booster club. The booster club is not actually requiring anything.
 

Quadqueen

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May 14, 2011
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The clubs are requiring those...not the booster clubs. Our team requires 16 hours worked at home meets. The profit from these then goes to the booster club. Our club also requires an equal donation to the booster club. The booster club is not actually requiring anything.
We are "required" to work about 8 hours at our home meet. However, none of the profit from that meet goes to the booster club. Ticks me off.
 

Krystan

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May 18, 2011
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I think it would be tough for the lower levels to stomach those fees when most of it is probably going to the upper levels, but at the same time I really like the idea of spreading it out more evenly. I wonder how many kids quit the sport at the higher levels because of money? I think having promising gymnasts able to compete longer and go to more visible meets helps out the gym as a whole, and this should be encouraged. Also, I don't consider $1300 to be very high at all, considering it includes camp and all the meet fees (although I might consider it high for L2 and L3 if they are not going to a lot of big meets).

At our gym we have a booster club which technically pays meet fees and coach's fees, but we pay the booster club per meet we sign up for. L5 and above have to do all meets anyway, so it comes out to around $1300 anyway. We have a few fundraisers that do lower fees a little, but some of it goes to equipment, etc. Dd's gym is still growing in many ways, so switching to a system like that once our fundraising gets up there a bit might be a good idea. I also like the monthly payment plan!

Regarding having to pay the full year if you quit: absolutely! The gym (or booster club) usually has to sign up for meets and have all fees paid several months before the meet. The gym certainly should not get stuck with covering the money if people drop out, unless there are extenuating circumstances, and they are able to get a refund or transfer the spot to someone else. We sign a paper that says we understand we are responsible for all meets we've signed up for and will pay the gym in full if we leave before we've paid. This is why, before I sign this paper, I double check that dd realizes this means she's "in for the long haul", or at least fully committed until the last meet is done.
 

mommyof1

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What I'm really trying to figure out is what everyone things of everyone paying the same amount regardless of level. We are looking at L2-L10 girls / boys and Xcel all paying the same amount.

This means that the upper end will get a good discount.
We are currently at a gym where the booster club fees vary by level, but the very substantial "volunteer" requirement is the same for all levels and the funds raised benefit the upper levels more than the lower levels. We are moving to a gym where you pay your child's actual expenses and there is no "volunteer" requirement. The booster club structure was the second most important factor in our decision to move.

I wouldn't mind so much if there were two tiers of fees, one for compulsories and one for optionals, and no required "volunteer" work or other fund-raising (although I do think it is reasonable to expect parents to work at any meets hosted by the club.) I don't mind subsidizing L5 a little since there is a chance my kid (hopefully L3 next season) may actually get there someday. I would deeply resent subsidizing L10, since that is several years off and the statistics indicate that most kids won't make it that far. If I were an Xcel parent I would not want my kid's fees subsidizing JO, as many Xcel parents presumably choose that path because of the cost.

And remember, you have to boil the frog slowly!
 
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wallinbl

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What I'm really trying to figure out is what everyone things of everyone paying the same amount regardless of level. We are looking at L2-L10 girls / boys and Xcel all paying the same amount.

This means that the upper end will get a good discount.
Last club, parents would not have tolerated such a thing, but that was very much an "every man for himself" kind of place (meet/coaches fees were paid by parent to club based on actual cost, not through booster club). Current club, it's a flat fee to the booster club, but it's definitely a more "team" environment. Any thoughts as to which is more pleasant?

As to comments about 501c3, everyone paying a membership fee is fine, but membership generally has to be optional. It's actually better from a 501c3 standpoint for the "benefits" to not correlate with the "contributions", so paying one membership fee, but "benefits" being based on gymnastics level is completely fine. Paying differeing amounts into a 501c3 based on level, and getting differing amounts of "benefits" that correlate with how much you paid in, is not fine (basically becomes a tax shelter for your meet/coaching fees).
 

GYM0M

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Jul 23, 2013
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Our booster club is not ran like that. Membership is optional and fee is minimal, less than $50. We hold fundraisers and profits are divided equally among members, whether or not they participated. We are given a list of meets that the coaches will attend and we are allowed to choose which meets we attend based on personal budgets. We then can choose to pay out of pocket for the meet or use our booster club funds.
 

vagymmomma

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Apr 26, 2010
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This article does not do justice to the ruling. I think it could raise the scrutiny of booster clubs and everyone with a booster club should read the decision. However, the key issue was the private inurement based on the specific fundraising outlined in the facts. The court noted the lack of any scholarships based on need. They also said certain fundraising was directed at individuals - not the whole club (a red flag of private inurement). Plus, they noted the statement that the "primary purpose" of the booster club was fundraising. Folks should read it, compare it to their facts, and seek professional guidance if they feel it is warranted.
 
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