Students who participate in high school activities have higher grade-point averages, fewer discipline issues and lower rates of alcohol and drug use than students who do not participate in school activities.
Participants also are more likely to be successful than non-participants in their endeavors after high school.
Despite the overwhelming benefits of educational based activities, high schools are struggling to support and maintain quality athletics programs due to shrinking budgets and rising costs. High school interscholastic athletics programs typically receive less than 2 percent of their operating budget from a school’s general fund. State and local tax dollars are restricted for other specific educational purposes.
The cost of equipment, uniforms, travel and game officials’ fees are just a few examples of expenditures that contribute to the large amount of money necessary in order to run outstanding athletics programs.
Athletics departments are increasingly relying on fundraising dollars in order to meet athletics budget needs. High School athletics would not be possible without the revenue generated by fundraising and donations.
Many high schools have begun to develop corporate sponsorships collaborating with local businesses. Companies advertising their services and products at school athletics facilities is another popular example of increasing revenue. LED boards in gyms/stadiums and static signs on baseball/softball outfield fences are common in many Iowa communities. These fundraising trends are necessary and have “trickled down” from professional sports and collegiate athletics.
High school athletics departments will continue to be on the “look out” for new sources of revenue. As important as these sources of income are, the No. 1 source of fundraising dollars continues to be high school booster clubs.
This is where all of us can help support students in every community.
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The cost of admission for a high school athletics event is about $5. Buying a bag of popcorn, along with a beverage to wash it down is “cheap” in comparison to other athletic venues. You can spend an enjoyable evening watching young people excel in sport and competition. The excitement and enthusiasm provided by high school friends playing sports together is priceless. Campuses and gyms “light up” on Friday evenings as two rival high schools compete for bragging rights and the love of the game.
The next time a high school student asks you to buy a product in support of their activity, consider it even if you may not want or need it. It takes courage by that teenager to approach you.
Support students and high school booster clubs in your community today. Your support helps high school programs now and will benefit all communities in future years as students involved in all high school activities become the leaders of the next generation.
l Mike Winker, 54, is the former activities director at Xavier High School. He is in his third year as a Lecturer at the University of Iowa in the Sport and Recreation Management Program, heading up the Certificate for Interscholastic A.D.