Booster Club needs boost

Ron Burtz

After being resuscitated 10 years ago, the Wildcat Booster Club appears to be on life support once again as 2020 draws to a close. Jennifer Ham-Kainz, president of the organization, announced recently that since she and the other members of the leadership team will no longer have students in the school system, they are retiring from active involvement. That could mean the death of the club if others don’t step up to take over.
“I got involved because a group of parents saw a need to help out with concessions mostly in the beginning and then we evolved into all of these other areas,” said Ham-Kainz. “It was satisfying to be able to help all of the extra curricular activities to the extent we have when they need funds and provide scholarships for seniors.”
Starting with rebuilding concessions at school events, the group made the sale of concessions a profitable endeavor. One of the first efforts was to purchase a badly-needed new popcorn machine along with many other supplies.
“We started doing a tailgate supper at homecoming,” said Ham-Kainz, “and selling merchandise throughout the week for Purple & Gold Day.”
The Booster Club also raised money by selling 50/50 tickets at games and offering Wildcat merchandise for sale at games and functions like the annual Santa’s Village at the high school.
“We have been at Santa’s Village for many years now to help get our presence out into the community more and to offer merchandise to those who may not always come to sporting events,” said Ham-Kainz.
Other events in which Booster Club has been involved in recent years include helping with prom snacks and purchasing post prom gifts (This year Booster Club funds purchased a laptop to be given away.), helping sponsor Freshman Impact and 5th Quarter and taking on special projects like providing sweat towels, water bottles, cheerleading practice mats and senior banners for sports teams. The group has also provided pep buses for playoff games.
In addition, Booster Club has supported student families in crisis with special 50/50 donations over the years and has awarded scholarships to qualifying seniors in the amount of $8,250.
Through these methods the Booster Club has raised money to help with extracurricular activities expenses on a per-request basis to the tune of nearly $30,000 over the past decade.
Superintendent Mark Naugle said the organization has supported all school programs “from drama and music to athletics.”
“It has just been a very positive group to work with and to support our kids and their activities,” said Naugle.
“We have had a great group of officers and volunteers over the years help out and make it the success that we had hoped for in the beginning,” said Ham-Kainz.  “It was a lot of fun, but now it is time for the next group to continue helping the students at Custer School District. We have given it a good run and now that we will no longer have any students in the school system, we are looking for volunteers to take it over again after the year is done in June 2021.”
Those interested in helping keep Booster Club going may contact the current members through the “Custer Wildcat Booster Club” page on Facebook.   
As the current members wind down their involvement with Booster Club they will once again participate in Santa’s Village this Saturday, Nov. 21, and will sell off their remaining inventory. In an effort to lessen the number of events they have to attend, group members recently started doing online merchandise sales and don’t carry as much inventory on hand.
Those wishing to use the online store can find it through the Facebook page or by going directly to
“Certainly we hope it continues,” remarked Naugle. “The ladies that have done it for a long time have done great work and have really done a lot of good for our kids.”

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