Looking back on his first year at as president of the Klein Football Booster Club, Ken Arterberry is almost overwhelmed with support the club – and by extension the Bearkats football team – received from the community.
“The vendors in our community have been more supportive than you could ever imagine,” Arterberry said. “It’s been a hard year for them, but they were still able to make donations.”
The club’s board -- Arterberry, Vice President Jason Stroud, Treasurer Pam Carnes and Secretary Lindsay Stroud – knew it would need to take a different approach for the 2020 season. The club’s primary annual fundraising golf tournament couldn’t be held, and the normal face-to-face networking didn’t happen either.
With the standard playbook unavailable, Arterberry did the only thing he could. He called an audible.
“We started with the basics,” he said. “Our kids still had the opportunity to play football, so we thought it would be beneficial to reach out to parents and let them know how big of a deal that was.”
The club put a priority on getting as many members as possible out to the club’s annual Parent’s Day – typically a lower key gathering where parents mingle and meet the team – and turn it into a fundraiser. It worked.
“It was an amazing outcome,” Arterberry said. “We raised about $20,000 in that event, all from our parents.”
Buoyed by the Parent’s Day success, the club continued to work with the businesses who, despite hardships brought on by COVID, still wanted to contribute. Arterberry said a few stepped up with in-kind donations, including Eldridge Roofing & Restoration, which contributed hand sanitizer stations for fans to use at the stadium; Center Court Pizza and Brew, which created a revenue sharing program for diners who came in following Bearkat games with coupons club members handed out at the game; and Cormier’s Kitchen, which provided food for coaches during their Saturday office hours.
The club also developed some new fan gear to sell to club members and spectators who came to games, including logoed masks and gaiters.
“That proved quite successful,” Jason Stroud said. “Coach [Shane Hallmark] really liked the way they looked and encouraged all of the families to get them for the boys, so they all had the same thing. It was pretty exciting to have that for everyone.”
Through it all, the fundraising proved successful enough that the club has been able to fulfill all of the team’s projected needs for the current year and potentially into 2021.
“We will be able to take care of a variety of things that include knee braces and our future helmet purchases,” Arterberry said. “We have a list of other pieces of equipment that we’ll need, and we will be able to get that done.”
While the club relied more on its own membership to raise money, officers hope that they’ll be able to do more community outreach next year. That could open additional revenue streams. More importantly, though, it could create a small community feel for a team existing in the Houston suburbs.
“The goal is to get more community involvement,” Jason Stroud said. “That helps us create a close knit community feel, kind of like they portrayed in ‘Friday Night Lights.’ We want to make it so everyone in the community is excited about Klein Bearkat football.”
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