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Memberships become more flexible for Mitchell booster club

By streamlining its membership process and making it easier for Kernel fans to be a part of the group, the Mitchell Athletic Booster Club is hoping to create more interest for the 2018-19 school year.

The booster club is making two primary changes: replacing its traditional booster club night format with a punch pass and season pass structure for members, and combining the booster club membership and Kernel Bowl sponsorship structures.

"It came over some discussions we've been having over the last year and looking at everything we're doing," Mitchell High School Activities Director Cory Aadland said. "We've been looking to see if there's a better way we can do things and these were a couple of things that made sense."

Previously, a booster club membership gave participants free admission to a number of events throughout the year, usually spread evenly through all of the district's extra-curricular events. Starting for the 2018-19 year, donations from $75 and up will receive punch cards for various events, with 5-event and 20-event cards. Starting at memberships of $1,000 and up, members receive a season-long pass, good for all of the Kernels' regular-season events.

"Someone will be able to decide which games they attend as they choose," Aadland said. "If they choose to go to five football games, they can. They can use all of those at their discretion. There's a lot more flexibility and we have some of the gear and the additional incentives there, as well."

The membership levels also include Kernel long-sleeve jackets starting at $500 and advertising in the Kernel Bowl program starting at $1,000. (The complete membership breakdown can be found at the booster club's website: gokernels.com)

"We're really just hoping to give people more opportunities to take advantage of their booster club memberships and take in more Mitchell High School sporting events," MABC President Kim Max said. "It should provide some more opportunities for members to be active with each of the 19 programs Mitchell has."

The booster club dates back to 1983 and is the primary fundraising arm for Kernel athletics. The group also raises funds through concessions and 50/50 drawings at sporting events. Last year, 33 businesses and 164 individuals were members of the group, which provides equipment and funds to each of the athletic programs at MHS. It also raises funds for scholarships at the year's end, as well.

The club's annual Kernel Bowl event — to be held for the third time on Aug. 25 — has become one of the biggest events on the Kernel calendar, serving as a kick-off event to the activities season for MHS. The event includes a 5K run, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, dance clinic, football skills camp, skydivers prior to the Mitchell-Watertown football game and a fireworks show after the game.

"It is our major kick-off to the season and it's our biggest fundraiser," Max said. "It happens at a football game but it's not just a football game and we try to have as many of our sports represented as possible and have as many student-athletes involved as we can. ... Hopefully, with the change in the membership format, we can drive those numbers of members up."

By combining the overall membership of the club with the sponsorship of the Kernel Bowl, the booster club is hoping to ease the burden on some area businesses who were being hit up twice for sponsorships.

Mitchell has one booster club for all of its sports, rather than different groups for each sport, and Aadland said that's been key for raising all of the Kernel programs.

"Some of our more sports get more recognition from a publicity standpoint that this really spreads this out among all of them regardless of any of that," he said. "We're not looking to be a basketball school, football school, gymnastics schools, looking to have consistent programs in all sports."

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