Welcome to Boosterland: A Message from Founder Ellen Raynor

Welcome to the Boosterland blog! This is my first post, my “Hello, world” to the booster club blogosphere. In addition to a blogger, I’m a techie, a green entrepreneur, a planner, an outdoors enthusiast, and a member of a large and socially engaged family. I cherish the years I’ve spent enjoying 4-H, volunteering, and sports–first as a player and later as a coach. It’s with those experiences that I approach boosterland.com and the Boosterland Blog.

Boosterland’s mission is simple: to make extracurriculars accessible to all high school students.

I believe that extracurriculars play an important role in the development of well-rounded young people. As a first step, I built this blog to share information about lessons learned in booster clubs across the country. Every time I attend a booster club meeting, I get asked things like “Is this challenge normal?” “Are we doing this the right way?” “How do other clubs do this?”

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I founded the Boosterland blog as a platform for sharing. When you read articles, comment, or respond to polls, you participate in a community based on sharing experiences. While fundraising is a popular topic in my posts, I hope you’ll tell Boosterland about other aspects of your club as well. How does your club engage the community, create tradition, and, of course, support the development of young people? I sincerely value your comments on these issues (yes, I read all the comments), as do your fellow readers. I want Boosterland to be as active and accessible as possible.

That’s one of the many reasons that I decided not to hide it behind a paywall. Anyone can read and contribute. There’s a free sign-up for commenting (so that I can cut down on spam posts). Whether you are an active contributor or primarily a reader, you should sign up (in the upper right hand corner) for occasional updates on new content (so you don’t have to check back here every day.)

Booster clubs fill the gaps in school budgets.  Budget cuts for extracurriculars just don’t seem to let up. Even when school budgets are stagnant, as in New York state where local property tax increases are capped, the share used by extracurriculars can drop because of other fiscal demands. Mandatory costs related to contracts, employer healthcare costs, and ADA requirements use more of the budget and in turn force cuts of extracurricular programming. A recent ruling in California, banning fees and deposits for public school materials, may have a similar effect. When I was doing my initial research for Boosterland, I asked an athletics coach at a local high school what schools miss out on by having a weak or non-existent booster club. He said,

“Money. It’s that simple. Funding is important. If we did not have our booster club, we would need to cut our athletic program by 30-40%. And to date we haven’t had to cut at all. If it wasn’t for the booster club, I wouldn’t be able to say that.”

Many booster clubs are funding not just the gaps, but the entirety of extracurricular programming. Without the passion of booster club volunteers, so many programs would get cut. But passion is really the beginning. We also need smart fundraising, strong community building, and continuity  in our booster clubs and the programs they support.

Boosterland is for everyone who builds community through extracurricular programs. Whether you’re a seasoned officer or a new member, a school leader or a curious donor, this blog is here to save you time and help you support your booster club. When I speak to booster club volunteers, they want to hear about best practices from other clubs. That’s because, with few exceptions, booster clubs aren’t competitive with each other. When a booster club volunteer has good ideas, they are happy for others to know about them. Boosterland is built for two-way communication. That means I want to hear from you, and learn from your experiences. Tell me about your booster club, its triumphs, and its challenges. You can comment on individual posts, or send an email to
Booster Stories

It’s helpful for me and Boosterland as a whole if you take the anonymous polls that you find in the sidebar. It helps me understand who I’m writing for, what types of schools I should research, and whom I should interview for future topics. If you have any questions, or would like me to post on a specific topic, please send me a message. I’m happy to hear from you!

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