By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Three sports seasons and 32 varsity sports teams including unified teams make up the Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) Athletics program. They are all supported by the dedicated volunteers and members of the ARHS Booster Club, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the school’s athletic programs and facilities.
Although the school budget includes some funding for the athletic programs, there are always additional team and facility needs that go above that budget. Fundraising through different efforts throughout the year is important.
Booster Club President Tom Spataro is serving his second year in the role and said each team has a parent representative who volunteers to coordinate fundraisers and team events, including the end of the season banquet.
“The Booster commitment is to enhance the experience of the athletes and to build a sense of community,” said Spataro.
Financial supports through memberships and business sponsorships have made it possible for the Booster Club to be a part of several initiatives over the years. These initiatives include improving the walkway to the main stadium, updating the score board, and enhancing the weight room equipment. All athletes will benefit from the upgrades to the weight room, which allows them to have access to smash balls, bands, core training, and additional machines, bikes and weights.
The football team has the most players and has one of the larger booster groups, but they also have more expenses for equipment needed.
“We continue to get equipment that is safe and needs to be replaced like helmets and shoulder pads,” said Spataro.
Four scholarships are also funded each year by the Booster Club and awarded to senior student athletes.
A future project for the Booster Club is to collaborate with the school district and Athletic Department to investigate the feasibility of a turf field. A turf field would not only enhance outdoor practices but also be attractive and competitive for facility rentals.
“There are only a few schools without turf,” said Spataro. “Grass fields are difficult in the spring because they are wet and practices are held inside the gym versus outside.”
New lighting and upgrades to the stands and track are also on the Booster Club’s wish list.
Businesses will have new opportunities to sponsor the Booster Club, which will give them more visibility, such as signage in parts of the facilities including the weight room, scoreboards and fields.
One of the bigger fundraisers each year is the golf outing in June.
“It’s a good way for alumni, coaches, teachers, and administrators to get involved in a relaxed environment,” said Spataro.
While students learn life lessons from participating in sports, there are benefits for their parents too.
“Parents are always busy, but they always go to games,” said Spataro. “They are part of the community and network and form friendships with one another.”
The ARHS Booster Club is a recognized 501(c)(3) charity and all donations are tax deductible. More information can be found on the Booster Club’s new website, www.ARHSBoosters.com or on their Facebook page.