Cheerleading booster club hosts basket bingo
With budget cuts looming and a need for money increasing, the Parkland Cheerleading Booster Club turned to Lori Hamm for help hosting their first-ever basket bingo event Jan. 13.
Starting at 11:30 a.m., the doors to Parkland High School's cafeteria were opened to cheerleaders' family, friends and the community to partake in the Vera Bradley, Pampered Chef, Longaberger bingo hosted by the booster club.
"Next year with the budget cuts, we just found out that none of their sneakers or any of that will be covered. Anything that the girls keep, we are going to have to pay for now," Tina Dean, first-year president of the booster club, said. "So, we're trying to do extra things like this basket bingo so maybe we can offset some of the costs to the parents for next year."
Tickets sold for $20 for 20 games of bingo, and an optional $5 more for five special games where the prize value increased.
The initial 20 prizes were valued at approximately $50 each, whereas the five additional prizes ranged from $100 to $200.
Fundraising plays an important role to the cheerleading team at Parkland, especially this year with the budget cuts juxtaposed with the increased opportunities the team is trying to add to its repertoire.
"We're just trying to raise funds for the girls. There are a lot of new things that we're doing this year," Dean said. "We've added competitions, so with that comes a lot of fees."
Hamm has been responsible for running the Football Booster Club's basket bingo for the past five years, which made her a perfect fit to host the first cheerleading basket bingo. The key was tailoring it to the team's needs.
"This year, cheerleading asked me to do that, but they wanted me to pair up with other direct sales companies," Hamm said.
She contacted representatives from Vera Bradley, Pampered Chef and Longaberger to involve them in the basket bingo. She was able to get their consent and cooperation, which made the event a reality.
"I was responsible for finding those consultants and pulling together the 20 games of bingo with their products and the five specials," Hamm said. "[The success] really lies within the booster club. They were amazing getting all the fillers for the baskets."
In addition to selling tickets to participate in the bingo games, the booster club worked with the entire cheerleading program to sell ink stampers, raffle tickets for additional prizes and food.
Cheerleaders worked side-by side-with the booster club in an effort to raise as much money as possible to combat a decreased budget in a positive way.
"You want them to have as many experiences as they can as a cheerleader. They're always here for everybody else, so we're kind of here for them," Dean said. "They provide the spirit to the school, [and] we provide them the funding to provide that spirit."
In addition to raising money, the cheerleaders worked with their teammates in an entirely new environment.
"It's also fun for us because we all come together as a team. It's part of a bonding experience," senior cheerleader Alexa Claudio said.
Hamm's husband, Roger, hosted the basket bingo. The cheerleaders continued to help run the event even after everyone was seated.
"The cheerleaders are going to be my runners," Hamm said. "They're going to run around and call back the numbers to verify it's a good bingo, and also to hand out the prizes."
Although she was serving as a volunteer, Hamm expressed hope for a successful event to help out the cheerleading team in any way possible.
"I'm hoping to make over $1,500," Hamm said. "I average 140 people at the football one, so I'm hoping to get at least 100 [people] today."
Even as they worked hard to make the event a success, the cheerleaders and booster club members were just as excited for the start of the basket bingo, where many also participated.
"I kind of hope to win," junior cheerleader Olivia Macdonald joked.
Regardless of who won bingo or whose number was called for the raffle prizes, it was evident that the first-ever Parkland Cheerleading Booster Club's basket bingo was a winning fundraiser.
"I'm amazed by all the help that came out today. I think it was a wonderful thing," Hamm said. "We couldn't have done it without each and everyone of them."