The newly formed Jarrell High School Football Booster Club wanted to make a good first impression, but their early efforts have far exceeded their wildest dreams.
“We had hoped we would be able to raise some money this year and we could leave that for next year’s club so they could raise the rest of the money for the new inflatable,” said Jolie Allen, the club’s president and one of the founding members. “But we raised it all.”
And then some.
“We have gotten amazing support from the community of Jarrell,” Allen said.
At the end of the previous school year, Jarrell’s all-sports booster club disbanded. With no organized support group, football coach/athletic director Amos Davidson reached out to a group of football parents to talk about the coming (current) season.
“My goal was to get the booster club set up this year, start saving some money and then next year we’d look at buying a new inflatable,” Davidson said. “But they were able to do it in four-and-a-half months. They just took it and ran with it.”
Allen and her colleagues went from forming a club by paying all of the required registration fees out of their own pockets to fundraising experts. With successful preseason events that included a car wash and the re-invention of the Meet The Cougars BBQ coupled with sponsorships and merchandise sales, the club has already raised enough to complete Davidson’s first wish – replacing the school’s 15-year-old inflatable.
“The dads have been setting it up for all of the games, and they said it smells pretty bad,” Allen said. “We chose to believe them. This was one of coach’s priorities, so we made it our priority and our goal to raise money for a new one.”
At one of the first official club meetings, Allen and her four co-founders joined with other interested parents and came up with other ideas. One remembered that the school used to host a meet-the-team event.
“The last one of those happened years and years ago, but we liked the idea so we brought it back,” Allen said. “We held it at the local VFW post and had a barbecue dinner and a silent auction. A lot of the auction items were donated by local businesses, so we had very little out-of-pocket expenses.”
By the time the community had finished meeting the Cougars, the club had raised enough to pay for a new inflatable and to begin thinking about its next big projects. The car wash proved surprisingly successful, and new merchandise sales are adding up.
“We updated our designs, and of course everyone wants to have the newest shirts and caps,” Allen said. “And we’ve also done very well selling shirts that are not football specific. Lot of people feel they can wear those to all of our other games, so that’s sold well.”
The club will host the first year-end football banquet – in years’ past the all-sports booster club celebrated all of the school’s teams with an event at the end of the school year – and hopes to raise enough to overhaul and modernize the public address and sound system at the stadium.
“When we started, we thought that, if by some miracle we had the funds, we’d improve the public address and sound system at the field,” Allen said. “We’d love to do that.”
With support from the community and the next group of booster club leaders, they might accomplish that ahead of schedule, too.
Allen, whose son is a senior player, said she never expected to find herself in this role, but she’s enjoyed every part of it.”
“This has been more than I ever thought would happen,” she said. “This was way out of my comfort zone, and I encourage others to do the same. Forge friendships and share it all. Football is such a special experience in Texas, and this is another way we can support our children as they go through it.”