Boosters: it’s more than just sports

Unless you have student at Sonoma Valley High School, your only knowledge of Booster Clubs might come from SVHS’s popular Crab Feed, occasional mentions in the newspaper or the TV show, “Friday Night Lights.”

Even for those familiar with booster clubs, there are a lot of misconceptions.  SVHS Booster co-president Wendy Swanson says that the most common of which is that the club supports only the most high profile sports teams at the school.  “We support all the extra-curriculars — drama, music, forensics, film, et cetera, not just sports and we support all sports — water polo, tennis, softball, etcetera — not just football. Most importantly, all of the funds raised go directly to the students.”  
Many of the most popular programs at SVHS would not exist without Booster support including the school newspaper, the Forensics team, the theater program, Grad Night, the Yearbook, the No Name Café, the Welcome BBQ and dozens of other programs, teams and events.

With their annual Crab Feed set for this Saturday, Sonoma’s Boosters are eager to get the word out about the wide range of SVHS activities that receive the club’s support.   

Currently SVHS’s Boosters have approximately 235 annual memberships, in line with past years, but, Swanson said, “a really small percentage of total SVHS families and a tiny portion of families whose students participate in these extra-curricular activities.”

The Club is an all-volunteer organization that has, since 1980, supported, funded and promoted more than 40 Sonoma Valley High School sports and student organizations. Despite tough economic times, this year alone, the Boosters have committed more than $160,000 to fund activities and teams.   

According to Swanson, over 85 percent of SVHS students participate in an extra curricular funded by Boosters.

In the absence of big donors like Buddy Garrity from “Friday Night Lights,” Booster Club income comes from three main sources: memberships and donations, a Home Winemakers wine tasting event, and Saturday’s Crab Feed. Student involvement is also key to the Boosters’ success; the club awards a scholarship every year to a graduating senior who has most actively raised funds for Boosters during the year.  
Swanson is eager to stress that there are many ways that Sonoma residents can support the Boosters. Families and businesses can contribute by joining, attending events, donating raffle items or volunteering. Businesses can also purchase sign space at Arnold Field where football, soccer and baseball games are held. 
Communicating who they are and what they do is crucial, and members have worked hard in recent years to increase communication with their members through e-mails, telephone calls, letters and even through their own Facebook page.

The Boosters meet on the first Monday of every month in the SVHS Library at 7 p.m. and the public is welcome to attend.  The current Board includes Co-Presidents Wendy Swanson and James Grossi and board members Mike Daly; Veronica Brooks; Maddie Morgan; Jenny Witous; Moya Jones; Janey Mulas; Alice Schimm, Lori Maggioncalda and Kathy Murphy, as well as Principal Dino Battaglini; Athletic Director Bob Midgley; Leadership Coordinator Tammy Rivara and a member of the student government.

Said Swanson, “Sonoma has a truly vibrant slate of academic, athletic and extra-curricular offerings through the high school but these important programs require the active and generous help and involvement of everyone in the community.”

Boosters annual crab feed

The Sonoma Valley High School Boosters 2011 Crab Feed is Saturday night, Feb. 5, 6 p.m. at Cline Winery. Tickets are $75 per person for a night of crab, salad, pasta, wine, live music and dancing Rich Little Band and bidding on an array of silent and live auction items. Tickets can be purchased before by emailing

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