Upper Perk High School athletes participating in the annual Sports Boosters Fund Drive taking place on Aug. 15 include, left to right, Aubrey Gibbs, Nolan Graber, Jake Breyer, Erik Stalford, Kacey Myers, Holly Graber, and in front Zach Miller.
The Upper Perk Sports Boosters kick off the athletic year with their annual fundraising drive on Thursday, Aug. 15, an event that takes on more importance every year as constricted school budgets threaten everything not deemed “essential.”
Rain or shine, the current crop of Upper Perk athletes will be fanning out across the Valley starting at 6 p.m. to solicit donations from Upper Perk residents.
The sports boosters, who have been around since the early 1980s, contribute in many unseen but important ways to the athletic programs at the high school.
“The club pays for the Blue and Gold Banquet including trophies and several awards,” noted Booster secretary Nancy Graber. “We have given scholarships, helped pay for the drunk driving program (Every 30 Minutes), and paid for various upgrades at the high school. The general purpose of the club is to assist coaches, staff and athletes any way we can.”
UP Athletic Director Steve Perlstein recognizes the importance of the contributions of Graber and the other officers: Dave Moser, president; Brenda Diehl, vice president; Lisa Duemler, treasurer, and all the parents involved.
“The Upper Perk Sports Boosters play a vital role in the overall success of the Upper Perkiomen Athletic Department's yearly operations,” Perlstein said.
This year, the boosters have approached the high school administration about helping to replace the dilapidated message board that greets visitors as they enter the high school property. They hope to raise at least $3,000 on the evening of the 15th toward that and other goals.
The boosters work closely with Perlstein who deeply appreciates the efforts of not only that organization, which supports the athletic program in general, but of all the groups that support specific sports, such as wrestling’s Takedown Club.
The clubs give parents who want to participate in their children’s activities an appropriate and positive outlet for their enthusiasm.
“Their involvement is designed to help student-athletes achieve success on and off the playing field,” Perlstein said recently. “Athletic booster clubs also play an integral part in promoting interscholastic athletics by encouraging and contributing to positive spirit, enthusiasm, sportsmanship and involvement of our student-body and community.”
Membership in the boosters’ organization, and there is no such thing as too many members, is open to anyone who has an interest in Upper Perk athletics.
On the night of the collection, parents are needed to drive students to their routes around the Valley. Every athlete who participates in the event, whether a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, will get a free t-shirt.
Perlstein does what he can to ensure that the night will be a success.
“During the Upper Perk Sports Booster drive, I encourage full participation from coaches and student-athletes and prohibit high school practices from taking place the evening of the scheduled booster drive.”
Last spring, during sometimes contentious budget meetings that led to a zero tax increase for this coming year, a couple of school board members urged the community to take some of the money saved on taxes and contribute it to organizations such as the Educational Foundation, secure in the knowledge that the money will directly benefit students and programs.
The booster drive on Aug. 15 presents an opportunity to do just for the athletic programs in the district. Residents who may be missed or not at home can send donations directly to the high school athletic department.
Anyone interested in joining the sports boosters can contact one of the officers or Steve Perlstein at the high school.