Do You Feel Pressure To Donate To Boosterthon?

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Does your local school participate in the Boosterthon run?  This is a great program, similar to Jump Rope For Heart that I participated in when I was a child.  Children run laps at school and sponsors pledge money per lap up to a maximum of 35 laps.  For example, if you pledge $1 per lap and the child you sponsor runs 10 laps, then you have made a $10 donation to Boosterthon.  If the child that you sponsored runs the maximum 35 laps, then you have made a $35 donation to Boosterthon.  I am 100% behind this idea, kids should be active and family fitness should be encouraged but I do not agree with the way our local Boosterthon program uses our children to bring in donations.  It’s not the fact that children are lured in with the prizes, but how they are lured in that bothers me.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Bring in a pledge on the first day and win a bonus prize
  • Bring in 2 more pledges this weekend and win a bonus prize
  • The grade level with the most pledges will win something special such as no homework passes
  • Emails are sent home to parents each day with stats on goals met and goals that have not been met.  These stats are also shared in class so that your child comes home each day asking for more pledges so they can beat the other grade levels and be in the running for a special grade level treat.

The idea of bringing in multiple pledges is pushed so hard on the children, that they feel bad about themselves if they do not bring in donations, especially on the days where bonus prizes are offered.  A minimum pledge which will award a child with a prize is $30, so basically you are paying $30 for a child to receive a cheap bracelet, headband, etc.  Yes, part of this money is going towards equipment to the school, but I’d rather sell cookies, Christmas wreaths, Poinsettias, etc. where the sponsors get something in return for their donations.  I do not want my child asking for $30 donations from the neighbors so close to the holidays.  I say $30 because my son is going to run every one of those 35 laps plus some and $30 is the smallest donation that you can give that will award the child with a prize.

Bobby boosterthon

Here’s my son’s picture from the Boosterthon right after the race was over.  There are 35 spots on the back of his shirt where each one is marked through as he runs that lap.  You can also see the lines on the front of his shirt which identify each additional lap that he ran after he ran his 35 Boosterthon sponsored laps.  Last year he really wanted to get a certain number of pledges so that he could “win” a pen with invisible ink.  In order to get that pen, we were going to have to spend $70 in donations, so I bought him the pen on Amazon along with a few other fun items instead of paying $70 in Boosterthon donations.  I thought that was a great idea, but  he would have rather paid the Boosterthon donation.  This year he reminded me of that, so I sent in one $35 donation and he “won” a red headband and a plastic bracelet.

My son loves the Boosterthon run because he is very competitive.  He is always running in front of the pack and can’t wait to beat last year’s Boosterthon achievements.  Boosterthon could be an awesome experience for the entire family  but so many parents dread Boosterthon week due to the pressure placed on their children to bring in tons of sponsor-ships.  I believe that this local program is a prime example of peer pressure and do not agree with the way it is handled.

Does your local school participate in Boosterthon?  Do you feel that this program is “pushed on the children” or is it a fun experience for all?

Photo Credit:  vimeo.com

12 thoughts on “Do You Feel Pressure To Donate To Boosterthon?”

  1. Blogwithmom,
    I clearly understand what you are describing. I have 4 (kids, that is) and they know how I feel about fundraisers. I think the majority of fundraiser programs that cater to schools are incentive based. “Hey Kid, yeah, you’re great. Go home and drive your mom bananas so she buys 100 bucks worth of junk so you can have this ultra cool, super magical, glow in the dark pen that will break as soon as you get home.”

    I never do the max, I volunteer my time, and because I love my kid, I, too, spend just enough to get the headband.
    Why? Because we love our kids and we want them to have the best educational experiences.

    K

  2. I don’t believe our schools participate in this particular program, although they do have similar ones. I like the idea behind the Boosterthon, especially since it encourages physical activity -something many of our kids are lacking in this day and age. I also believe it teaches children many important values as well. However, I have to agree with you and say that it sounds like they are putting a lot of pressure on the kids to bring in those donations – especially for such small ‘prizes’. I understand the idea behind providing incentives and positive reinforcement, but I also think they could find a better way to make it more worthwhile to the kids. And like you, I also prefer the programs where the sponsors get something in return whether it be cookies, wreaths or whatever. By the way, your son sounds like a wonderful boy! That is great that he prefers earning the donations and prizes over you just buying them yourself!

  3. Hey there! So glad your son had an absolute blast at the Boosterthon Fun Run! Looks like you have a future track star on your hands. Wanted to help address a few of your thoughts about prizes. We invite all teachers to every presentation, so if you’d like to know exactly how our team communicates to students and distribute prizes, I’d encourage you to reach out to your teacher. That will give you the best idea of what our Team Huddle experiences look like. We’re glad you enjoyed the program and pumped to serve your school again next year! – Noel

  4. I have ever heard of this and not sure if I agree with it because I feel it puts to much pressure on the child and the parent to as they are the ones that usually pay for those things . Thank you for sharing this.

  5. I think it’s great that the schools are trying to encourage kids to be socially responsible. Of course, if it’s forced, it’s not authentic, but if it’s a community choice to support the organization over another then it’s a good thing.

  6. Although I have no children I have certainly had friends who do and have been hit up more times then I care to remember. Back then I had the money so no problem–and many times I would just write a check and beg them NOT to give me whatever it was. I would have been stocked with cookie dough for years!! What I wonder about–what about the kids whose families really don’t have the extra cash–do they end up feeling inferior even if they run the most laps just because no one could afford (legitimately) to sponsor them?

  7. We had a great experience with it. My son was so excited to ask our friends and fam to help him by donating and he ran extra laps because he was so into it. It made him so happy!

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