Every athletic booster club’s first year should go as well as Fort Worth North Side’s.
After years of operating as groups of smaller clubs supporting different teams, parents hoped the school would benefit more from a strength-in-numbers approach. Last summer they formed the North Side High School Athletic Booster Club. The club started strong and hasn’t looked back.
“We really weren’t looking to raise a lot of money,” club president Jesse Rios said. “We just wanted to get established and get parents involved so we could help these programs. We had so many parents who wanted to be involved but they just weren’t sure how, so we put this together.
“We want to show these kids that their hard work does not go unnoticed,” he continued. “They are working hard, and we are willing to work hard for them to provide them with the things they need to succeed.”
The school had never had an all-sports booster club before, so Rios – along with wife Veronica – didn’t quite know what to expect.
“She looked at me and said we were crazy,” Rios said. “It’s been hard work, but we are overjoyed at the support we’ve gotten from our community.”
Crazy in a good way, it turns out. Four families turned out for an initial meeting, but once word got out, interest blossomed. The club now has 60 families as members, all of whom share the goal of creating a community environment for all of North Side’s athletic teams.
“When my wife and I spoke to the other parents about organizing, we just wanted our kids to have the same things that some of other school districts in the area had. We want to be able to help with equipment. The school district does a good job, but we wanted to show our pride and help.”
In year one, the club has done exactly that. They raised enough money and support at the beginning of the year to provide the football players, coaches and support staff with meals on game day.
“We had an outpouring of support,” Rios said. “We had a caterer step up and volunteer to provide everything we needed to feed the team.”
The club added a golf cart and outfitted it in school colors before taking it to every home game, where it became so popular that it almost has a life of its own.
“It turned into a very big deal,” Rios said. “I didn’t realize that it would blow up the way it did. We just wanted to show our colors. It’s been in parades. We use it to carry all our membership flyers around to the events. It has turned into much more than I ever thought.”
The trailer’s popularity – and the club’s hard work – has helped the North Side community take a renewed interest in supporting all the school’s athletic teams. When the football team made the playoffs for the first time in 40 years, the club sold more than 400 spirit shirts in the first 24 hours. Rios said attendance at volleyball and basketball games has been better than ever, and alumni are returning to the school to look for ways to show their spirit as well.
“We really wanted to create a community within our community,” Rios said. “People are coming out and we are seeing our branding everywhere. Alumni from the 1950s and 1940s are asking for things they can have or wear to show off their pride. It’s been great. New we want to keep it rolling.”
As the club grows out of it its infancy, Rios expects that it will take on some ambitious goals as it continues to drive community spirit and support each of the school’s teams.
“What can we do to help programs across the board?” he said. “We’re providing workout gear for the soccer teams. Football will need different equipment. We will start finding all of that out.”
As the club strive to meet more needs, it also looks to continue to grow and bring more families into the fold. Rios has taken the popular trailer to some of the high school’s feeder campuses, and that’s brought families whose students are still years away from ninth grade into the fold as well.
“We will be able to do things that hadn’t been done in a long, long time,” he said. “We are creating a lot of things to be proud of.”
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