Going To The MatIn order to pay for protective wall mats in its new wrestling room, the West Torrance High School Wrestling Team in Torrance, California has initiated a fund-raiser that offers personalization for each section of mat. The program is more than halfway to meeting the $8,000 cost for 100 wall-mat sections.
By Jason Druten
Freshman Wrestling Coach/Varsity Track & Field Coach
Co-Organizer, Wall Mat Fundraiser
West Torrance High School
Our wrestling program acquired a former auto shop room at the high school that is being converted into a secondary wrestling room. And we needed to put wall mats up to protect the wrestlers during practice. It will cost us $8,000 to do this.
The room will need 100 wall-mat sections in preparation for the coming season. Each pad comes in 5x2-foot sections and costs $80.
Tom Hazell, a former West Torrance wrestling coach and Booster Club President, and I brainstormed a worthwhile fund-raiser. You hear of some schools that sell personalized bricks or place banners on the wall. It's the same idea. A wrestler or local business donates $80 and we adhere a nice vinyl sticker to the pad so it's personalized forever.
I coach track at the high school and we have sold hurdles that were sponsored. So the wrestling mats were just a natural. These are my 100 hurdles, so to speak.
We've sent the kids out to gather interest and it's been very successful. Some of the local businesses have placed advertising on the pads, some parents are buying a pad for their son as a present, and some kids are even buying their own pads because they want to personalize them. We're probably about halfway to our goal. Some businesses have bought four mats and have placed their logo across all four.
There is a local merchant in town that handles decals and stickers and he gave us a great price. All we have to do is pay for the materials. So it will come out to about $5 per sticker. The stickers are white with one color personalization.
To advertise the project, we've been handing out flyers at football games and passing them out around town. The flyers were designed very simply on the computer and since it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we printed them on pink paper.
We generated additional interest by placing free advertisements in the local community paper. And we put the information on the Booster Club web site and sent out a mass email through the school.
When you do a fundraiser like this, it's important to tell your student-athletes who to present it to and why you're presenting it. A lot of time, they aren't given the proper direction or given specifics. We took the time to explain the fundraiser to them and gave them advice on how to approach a customer and make a sales pitch.