The Ilwaco Sports Boosters committed to young people

<I>KEVIN HEIMBIGNER photo</I><BR>Mike DeSimone, Ilwaco Sports Boosters president, mans the boosters booth at the International Kite Festival.

ILWACO - For the past 20 years or so the Ilwaco Sports Boosters have made significant contributions to middle school and high school athletics in the community.

The Sports Boosters are a non-profit entity with the goal of supplementing school programs and allowing student-athletes to have a high quality experience in their extra-curricular activities that otherwise might be unaffordable.

In the past the boosters have provided lights for Pederson Field, probably the most costly and problematic of all their projects, but one of their most successful ventures.

According to Mike DeSimone, booster president, other recent success stories have been remodeling and up-grading the weight lifting area and resurfacing the track. The booster club also provides a secure method for sports teams to do fund-raisers for special projects of their own choosing.

At present the Sports Boosters are looking to upgrade the baseball and softball fields in Long Beach and to add a storage area at the track. DeSimone also expressed an interest in having summer camps for the various sports here on the Peninsula.

"Not every kid has the money to go to a summer camp, and we are exploring ways to have affordable camps happen here locally," he says.

The booster club brings in between $20,000 and $25,000 per year by holding such functions as the crab feed and having a food tent at the Kite Festival. The concession stand at the softball tournaments all summer long also brings in revenue.

Student-athletes, their parents and other volunteers man the concession stand and provide all the labor at events. Each team and coach is rewarded for the time they put in by receiving money to augment their programs.

DeSimone explains, "The booster club is only as strong as the people who are involved. We can always use more people who are dedicated to helping young people."

Anyone who is interested in joining the Ilwaco Sports Boosters or in making a donation of their time or money may call DeSimone at his home number 642-4584.

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