Many people are familiar with the weekly Bingo nights hosted by the Smith-Cotton Athletic Booster Club every Saturday at Smith-Cotton Junior High, but if more volunteers don’t step up soon, the group is in jeopardy of disbanding.
Twelve people make up the current Bingo board, with four teams of three rotating throughout the month. However, four people are needed for the events to run smoothly, and some people end up working more than one weekend a month. Michelle Calder-Drum, for example, calls Bingo three out of the four Saturdays a month, when she usually would only be scheduled once. While the board members enjoy helping the school’s athletic teams, volunteering that much can be a little tough.
“Our biggest problem is there are a lot of board members who want to step down, they’re not going to at the moment, but come May they probably will,” Calder-Drum said. “We need to get 10 to 15 new board members on, and get them trained and comfortable so they can take over.”
Many of the board members are no longer parents of students, as their children have long since graduated, like Calder-Drum. One volunteer has been on the board for about 20 years. Calder-Drum said most of the current members haven’t stepped down because they want the group to continue.
“We don’t want to disband by any means, but if we don’t get board members we’ll have to and it’s a huge loss to the school, to athletics,” Calder-Drum said. “We don’t want to see that happen. That’s why I call three times a month.”
Calder-Drum said they are looking for energetic, honest volunteers, and volunteers don’t have to have a child in Smith-Cotton athletics. There isn’t a specific number needed, so the more members, the better. She emphasized that with more members on the board, the responsibilities could be spread out more.
Board members would go through a four-Saturday training process, learning how to do a variety of tasks, including calling, selling packets, paying out the proceeds to the winners of each game and selling dobbers. Some members would help with bookkeeping and records that are sent to the Missouri Gaming Commission on a monthly and quarterly basis. They would also be in charge of the four athletic team volunteers that help each week by working the floor.
“The benefit of doing Bingo on a weekly basis is such a huge impact to our school system,” Calder-Drum said. “It helps Smith-Cotton sports teams, and it also helps the summer traveling teams, like youth wrestling, softball, baseball, football, soccer and swimming. Those parents come in and work for those sports teams, and most of those kids will end up at Smith-Cotton. Because of the money we’ve raised, we made a huge donation for the new stadium, lights at the soccer field, wrestling mats for the wrestling room, and we helped with the score board for swim teams. Those dollars get spread out to everybody.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact Calder-Drum at 620-4221.