Thursday, April 17, 2014
Brian Henry and his wife, Sassy, spent last weekend in Augusta, Ga., enjoying their annual trip to The Masters.
It was an enjoyable few days of golf and family time for the busy couple, owners of The Sea View Inn, Get Carried Away, Palmetto Cheese, and Pawleys Creek Apparel.
Brian is also chairman of the Georgetown County Planning Commission, and in January he took on a new role: president of the Waccamaw High School Athletic Booster Club.
“I love all sports, grew up loving sports,” Henry said. “I played a lot of sports.”
Henry describes the president’s job as a “cheerleader for all teams.”
Waccamaw High fields 12 varsity girls teams, 11 varsity boys teams, five girls junior varsity teams, and five boys junior varsity teams.
“Waccamaw has had a tradition of winning in the past but there’s an opportunity to do more,” Henry said.
All of the school’s sports are funded by the Booster Club, and individual team fundraisers.
“Our job is to raise the money to fund all the sports,” Henry said.
The Booster Club’s budget for this school year is more than $160,000.
What the Booster Club doesn’t do, is decide how much money to spend on each sport. That decision is made by principal David Hammel and athletics director Joan Cribb.
Henry said the club is careful not to spend every penny it collects every year.
“Any president’s goal should be at the end of the season have money left over for next year so we’re not scraping around for money.”
The Booster Club starts seeking members and sponsors for the upcoming school year in July. Individual memberships begin at $25, and sponsorships begin at $250.
Depending on the level of sponsorship, perks include program ads, all-sports passes, preferred parking, access to a hospitality tent, a banner inside the football stadium and gymnasium, and Waccamaw gear.
If you ask him, Henry can usually tell you off the top of his head who most of the big sponsors (those who give $1,000 or more) are. He announces the home football games and reads the list to the crowd several times a game. (Another perk of sponsorship.)
Henry said the number of gold sponsors (at least $1,000) has been on the rise in the past couple of years. It’s the Booster Club’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Another successful fundraiser is the annual Shuck N’ Pull, which was renamed the Booster Bash this year and raised around $24,000 after expenses.
The biggest money maker at the bash was the live auction, which raised $11,000.
Also popular were the teams’ wish lists, which featured items coaches wanted, along with the cost for each item. Booster Club members could then choose an item to fully, or partially, fund. The wish lists raised $10,000.
Henry’s goal for next year’s Booster Bash is to raise more than $40,000.
The club’s next fundraiser will be the inaugural Warrior Mud Run on June 21, which will feature a 5K race with 15 obstacles that runners will have to traverse in mud. People can compete in a team or individually.
Since it is the event’s first year, having fun is more important than fundraising.
“We just want this event to be a lot of fun,” Henry said.
Another one of Henry’s goal is to increase participation in sports at the high school by reaching younger kids, and getting parents involved in the Booster Club before their kids reach Waccamaw High.
The Booster Club has adopted the slogan: “Four campuses, one school. We are Waccamaw.”
Henry said the club is trying to create a sense of community, all the way down to the B-teams in the middle school. Waccamaw has four sports with B-teams: baseball, football, volleyball and cheerleading.
Recreation teams on Waccamaw Neck have also started wearing “W” on their hats and shirts, another chance at “community building,” Henry said.
Henry has been involved in the Booster Club for many years as his daughters, May May, 15, and Camille, 13, have grown up. May May is a freshman at Waccamaw High and Camille is a seventh-grader at Waccamaw Middle.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I like being in the mix.”
His term as Booster Club president will last two years. One thing he would like to get done, which he admits is a “stretch,” would be to resurface the track at Waccamaw High. He estimates that would cost $100,000.
But, with a combination of money from the county and Booster Club, he said it might get done.
For more information on joining the Booster Club, go to www.waccamawathletics.com.
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