The June 5th article “Concession Stand Up for Grabs” was very misleading. Avonworth School Board President David Oberdick indicated that the Avonworth Football Boosters were giving up the concession stand due to “lack of volunteers.” This is not the case. The decision to eliminate the concession stand as a fund-raising endeavor was not taken lightly and the pros and cons of operating the stand were considered for several months. The school district, in fact, started this whole process when they tried to take the stand from the football boosters this past season. The events and facts that led up to this decision are as follows:
In March of 2008, then booster president Scott Turnbull was asked to attend a meeting in the Avonworth School District board room. He was not informed of the agenda for this meeting. At that meeting, two district employees, Brad Waters (director of fiscal management) and Greg Wagner (athletic director), asked that the athletic committee of the school board allow the school to run the concession stand at home football games. Mr. Turnbull was blind-sided by this request as the football boosters had successfully run the concession stand for numerous seasons.
After this meeting, multiple conversations and e-mails ensued to best determine how to run the concession stand and who would operate it. In the end, the Avonworth Football Boosters were allowed to continue operating the concession stand as it had done for countless seasons before. However, for the first time ever, other groups were going to be allowed to sell food and other items during the Friday night football games. The new policy stated that all items were to be approved prior to the football season, no competing items could be sold between the participating groups, and any changes or additions of Friday night sales were to be approved by the athletic director prior to game night.
Well, if you attended a home Avonworth football game last season, you witnessed first-hand the result of this policy. The areas surrounding our football field were turned into a carnival atmosphere. There were numerous tents and stands lining the walkways of the field. How did this new policy of “anything goes” affect the football boosters? Our earning power from the concession stand was greatly diminished. A football spectator comes with a certain amount of money to spend during the evening. When you offer 10 different places to spend that money, rather than a few, earning power declines. As the season progressed, more and more groups began showing up with fund-raisers and the groups that were originally permitted to sell at the games were bringing additional fund-raisers and raffles that were never approved by the athletic director. In general, this new policy was not being enforced as we were told it would be.
Loss of profits was not the only factor in our consideration to cease operating the concession stand. On several occasions, the football boosters were told to remove our equipment and stock from the concession stand because a non-school-sponsored outside group was renting the field and concession stand over the weekend. One would think that at least the equipment could be left in place, but after a piece of equipment was vandalized the previous year, our only option was to remove anything of value from the stand. This is generally a one-and-a-half hour undertaking for five to six people and not what one wants to be doing at midnight following a game. The football boosters have asked the school board on numerous occasions to reconsider renting the concession stand during the fall sports season (football and soccer) to outside groups. This request was not only made because it made our life easier, but also because we spend quite a bit of money on our own concession equipment and having it damaged or vandalized is unacceptable. Our own school district would not even consider this courtesy to the groups that raise money for our student athletes to have the things the district does not supply. A little cooperation in this matter would have gone a long way.
Did we have a lack of volunteers willing to work the concession stand? No, we were fully staffed, even over-staffed for every game. The difficulty that we are having with “lack of volunteers” relates directly to the dwindling number of people who are willing to take an active role in a booster group that runs into a brick wall on so many occasions.
2009 Avonworth Football Boosters
Brian Niklaus, Keith Graham
[Editor’s note: This letter also was signed by booster past president Scott Turnbull and other officers of the organization.]