The club was originally formed over a decade ago, under the leadership of John Riley Sr., but lapsed into inactivity a few years ago.
Last fall, Terry Skoglund; her husband Brad, the varsity baseball coach; Kyle Nehowig, the football coach and athletics coordinator; and his wife Deb, the gymnastics coach, decided the financial need in sports would be great, and getting greater.
"We saw the budget cuts coming, and we knew the budgets would be tight," explained Kyle Nehowig.
"We knew these budget cuts were coming, so we thought we'd be proactive and do something for the kids," added Terry Skoglund.
The Bulldog Booster Club is independent from the school.
What hurt the club in the past, he thinks, was an effort to do too much as volunteers, from taking tickets to running the concession stand. The athletic department has lists of parents and volunteers to handle these duties now. "Our main purpose is to raise money for athletics at the school," he said of the boosters.
"Our other goal is to boost school spirit," Skoglund added.
The club's goal is to run one big fund raiser per season. Last fall, the club started by selling discount cards, where area businesses donated what amounted to coupon deals listed on each card. They also organized tailgate parties before the home football games.
This winter, the club held 50-50 drawings at home sporting events, where students sold tickets to a drawing. Fifty cents of each ticket went in a pot for the winner, and the other half went to the Booster Club.
The club didn't have a big event this winter but plans on having an ice fishing tournament in 2002.
Next weekend, the club will host its spring event, and the one with the most people. The club is having a hog roast in the parking lot at Northern Lights Dining and Lounge. Tickets for the all you can eat and drink event are $15 per individual and $25 per couple. They can be purchased at the Paynesville Office of the Melrose Credit Union, from Community Education, and from any spring athlete or coach.
The club relies on the athletes of the respective season to help them conduct their fund raiser. "The money is for them," explained Nehowig. "We want to get them involved."
The club couldn't get anywhere without the support of businesses and people in the community, Nehowig noted. The club is looking for volunteers to help at its big events. "You don't need 100 people at a meeting, but when the activity comes you need help," said Nehowig.
"Fund raising isn't much fun," agreed Skoglund, "but when you get a bunch of us it makes it better."
The club meets the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the American Legion. Everyone is welcome. Current officers are: Terry Skoglund, president; Deb Nehowig, vice president; Brenda Kochman, secretary; and Debbie Meagher, treasurer.
The club's goal for its first year back in operation was to raise and spend $10,000, but if the hog roast goes well they will only clear $7,500.
That money has been spent on equipment, with an emphasis on the junior high sports, which frequently end up with hand-me-downs instead of new uniforms and equipment. "You've got to build the program from the ground up," Skoglund said. "Part of that is looking good."
So far, they have given money to every coach that has requested it, Nehowig and Skoglund both said. ""I'm not working to see the money sit," said Nehowig. "I want to spend it on the kids."
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