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Driving the Charge

Whenever student-athletes, coaches and fans converge for Chargers home games, you see a particular group among them — staffing the admissions gate, working the concessions stand, manning the grill.

There is much more the Charger Club does behind the scenes in its mission to support Charger athletics through volunteerism and fundraising. Formed in the 1970s as a football booster club, the Charger Club has evolved over the years to keep pace with the growth and changes at the school.

“A club that was originally founded by a small group of parents to support the football team has now become a community-wide parent organization,” said 2017-18 president Lisa Sicard. “Last year, we had more than 700 members supporting more than 65 sports teams.”

“The Charger Club is an integral extension of our Athletics department,” said Athletics Director Nancy Beatty. “It is an amazing club whose generosity impacts so many sports, teams and coaches.”

They do so by “providing volunteers to staff events and by raising money to purchase items that are not included in the coaches’ annual budgets,” said Sicard, “We also make significant contributions to larger capital campaigns that benefit the school, such as construction of the Mosack Athletic Center, the renovation of Overcash Stadium and the construction of the Field House.”

Jay and Amy Wilson got involved in 2015 when their son Charlie, now in 8th grade, started playing football — he signed up to be part of the football chain crew and she assisted with game concessions.

“My husband and I felt it was important to support all aspects of the school, including athletics,” said Amy Wilson. “It seemed like a small amount of volunteer time asked of parents, so I was more than happy to do it.”

She admitted to being a bit nervous about working the concessions stand the first time, but found it “incredibly organized” and a lot of fun.

“I loved greeting PD students and their families during the game,” she said.

“Volunteers are the Charger Club’s most valuable asset,” said Joceylyn Zeulkhe, who serves as Concessions VP along with Jill Asher.

Volunteerism takes many forms, said Sicard. Club members serve as team parents who act as liaisons between coaches and parents; create spirited and festive environments at home games; promote events and share athletic successes on social media; plan and staff the annual Charger Club Golf Classic in the fall; and organize appreciation events to recognize coaches, faculty and staff.

“We have more than 110 coaches in grades 7 to 12, and every one of them receives an end-of-the-year gift and celebration party sponsored by the Charger Club,” said Beatty.

“Conservatively,” said Sicard, “I would say we had more than 500 parents donate more than 1,000 volunteer hours last year at more than 400 events.”

Their fundraising comes from four main sources: gate revenue, concession revenue, membership dues and the golf tournament, the first of which was held in 2014.

“Over the last decade, the Charger Club has given $1.5 million back to our athletics program and school,” said Beatty.

Examples include campus athletic facilities adorned with items gifted from the Charger Club, including banners hanging in the Mosack Athletic Center; protective netting around the fields; backstops and scoreboards; gymnastic mats for cheer and dance teams; equipment in the Wellness Center, wrestling gym and weight room; bleachers and even water fountains.

“The projects that the Charger Club funds directly impact all of the students at Providence Day, not only the athletes,” noted Sicard. “While more than 75 percent of students in grades 7-12 participate in at least one sport, students in all the divisions use the facilities during their P.E. classes that we have helped build.”

The way to help the Charger Club to grow and continue its success in support Athletics is for more parents to get involved.

“Purchasing a membership or working a shift at the gates or in the concession stands are the best ways parents can help us,” said Zeulkhe. “These volunteer opportunities are a great way to meet new people within the Providence Day community.”

“This club truly makes a difference in our community,” said Beatty.  

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