When it comes to athletics, Miami Palmetto Senior High School remains highly regarded for its exceptional athletes and fierce competition brought each year. The football team is no exception. This year, 91 football players dominated the field and excelled all the way to the season playoffs. Behind all the smoke, helmets and cheering fans, there is an even greater force that allows the football team to thrive: its booster club.
Booster clubs typically consist of a sports team’s parents who organize efforts to support their team. Through volunteering, fundraising and contributing time, booster clubs ensure that the team has everything it needs for a successful season. Booster clubs remain especially essential to public schools, which have to compete with the funding that private school sports teams receive.
“What we do is we go out and do fundraising to support anything we need. We make sure we have available funds to be able to get as much help as we can like the other schools. The biggest teams out there are well funded and have lucrative booster clubs, and our job is to go out there and assist our team with anything needed,” Booster Club President Stephen Nimer said.
While the athletic department funds many aspects of the football team, the booster club provides the team with things like pre-game meals, apparel, team building programs, smoke to run through at the games and more. Boosters provide uniforms and team merchandise in order to foster the special feeling that comes with playing on a successful high school football team.
This year, the booster club organized for AIM Miami — a nonprofit organization that provides educational programming and yoga to high schoolers — to visit every Wednesday in the off-season for character leadership development sessions. The football team split into groups participating in 45-minute yoga sessions, followed by a 45-minute leadership development session.
“They’ve just done a tremendous job and not only just teaching our kids how to speak and how to have confidence within themselves outside of football, you know football is the easy part… the hard thing is getting a lot of kids to open up and getting them to speak to other people. We’ve been partnering with them and this was our second full year doing it,” Palmetto’s Head Football Coach Michael Manasco said.
Palmetto’s booster clubs also help support the football team through academic tutoring and helping to pay for SAT and ACT test registration fees when necessary. They echo Palmetto’s message of ensuring one’s education comes first and they make sure that it remains each player’s priority.
This year, the booster club is organizing a golf tournament fundraiser to bring together the community and fundraise for Palmetto’s football program. Running a top-notch football program requires around $70,000 – $100,000, so boosters host events to ensure the team receives those funds. Stay tuned for more information about the tournament, and how to show one’s support for the football team.
“It’s been a great year. We had a lot of help from parents and we will continue doing things in the future to help support the team. As for this year, we are very happy with the involvement we got with fundraising and very pleased with the help that we got. It was a very successful year,” Nimer said.