Boosterthon Fun Run

7 Things I Wish I Knew as The New PTA President

New PTA President

Let’s face it: Taking over as PTA President can be overwhelming and a little nerve-wracking. Hundreds of parents are looking to you to make sound decisions on behalf of their children’s education. Not least of these is this question: How are we going to raise money for our school?

Not to worry. After years of working with thousands of parent organizations, we’ve learned a thing or two about PTA Presidents and what makes them successful. That’s why we asked Cathy Ellis, a former PTA President for two years and PTA-involved parent for 13 years, about seven things she wished she knew as the incoming PTA President.

Here’s what Cathy had to say about knocking your first year as president out of the park:

1. You CANNOT do it all yourself—even you, “Super-Mom”

You would think I was ready when I stepped into the position, but there are many things I wish I knew when I first started. Here’s the first one: Your role as a leader is to guide, encourage, and facilitate—NOT TO DO IT ALL! I am, by nature, way out there on the type A scale. (My honorary Booster nickname is “Charts and Graphy Cathy.”) I like to control EVERYTHING, but I found out the hard way that trying to do too much results in burnout and much less buy-in from others. Regardless of what you may have heard, gathering assistance is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. Learn about the talents of those around you and build a PTA team with a little of everything. Putting others’ talents to use helps the PTA team, builds support from a very wide group, and makes those individuals shine.

2. Relationships are your best friend

Getting to know the school staff and PTA parents is time well spent. Here’s why: It makes all of the “work” worthwhile! Some of the most creative PTA project ideas began as casual chats about how the day was going. Then, those ideas evolved into ways the PTA could help to enhance the lives of the students at school. So, dig into the needs and desires of school leaders (i.e. a problem the principal is facing or things that would simplify the teachers’ daily routines). Bottom line: Ask leaders, “What’s one thing I can do to make your life easier?”

3. Uphold unity at all cost

Personality differences can occasionally “stir the pot” among PTA volunteers. It isn’t always one big happy family. When differences arise, resist the temptation to take sides and instead work with resolve to re-align everyone toward the common goal. This is harder than it sounds. It takes careful thought, choice words, and often one-on-one chats. But if you act and speak from your heart, the rewards are immense.

New PTA President 2

4. Let YOUR personality shine through!

You don’t have to fill your predecessor’s shoes. You may feel like all eyes are on you sometimes, but no one expects you to be a clone of the previous PTA President—so stop trying! Remember, there are many ways to accomplish a task. As long as you move towards the shared goal, you can relax, enjoy the ride, relish the friendships, and let YOUR personality shine on the way! 

5. Think students first

This should be the foundation for EVERYTHING YOU DO as PTA President and everything the PTA does. You and the PTA are there to serve, and true service is not always the easiest, quickest, or least expensive. It can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but if your heart is in it, and it ultimately benefits the students, it’s likely the right thing to do. Most importantly, your actions as PTA President should have a positive impact on the lives of the students, staff, and the entire school community.

6. Ideally, wear a variety of “hats” before starting

Before I became PTA President I had no idea how helpful my previous PTA experience would be. Serving in a variety of roles is the perfect training ground. Becoming familiar with the ins and outs of committees and responsibilities will equip you to fulfill your role as PTA President. It also will give you and others confidence in your leadership ability. I began my PTA experience by serving on a committee or two, then switched to different positions as the years went on. When I was finally elected to serve as PTA President, I felt much more confident going in. If you didn’t get the chance to serve in another role, you can always call up someone who did and pick their brain.

7. Volunteer Coordinating 101: Be specific, NEVER turn down a volunteer, and NEVER forget to say thank you

Do you need volunteers? Be specific in describing what you want them to do. Instead of requesting “Three people to work on a project,” request “Three people who can cut, trace, and color to create a six-foot-by-eight-foot map of the USA by Friday.” People who volunteer really want to help! LET THEM! Do you have more volunteers than you really need? (I know—you wish!) Find something for them to do. If they think they are not needed, they may not volunteer the next time. And whether they serve one hour per year or one hour per day, every volunteer is valuable—so let them know it! A warm word of thanks or a brief thank you note means more than you know.

My PTA experience has taught me so much and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that it has afforded me. If this is your first year as PTA President, these seven principles are sure to set you up for success.



Cathy Ellis PTACathy Ellis lives in Stuart, Florida with her husband Charlie and their three kids: Alec (21), Anna (16), and Amelia (14). Cathy served Felix A. Williams Elementary School (the school her children attended) for 13 years in various capacities. Currently, she works part time as a “soap maker’s apprentice” and is heading into her third year as the Band Booster President at Jensen Beach High School, where her son played trumpet and her girls are in the Color Guard.

 For the past 15 years, Boosterthon has strengthened schools by increasing funds and inspiring students through a remarkable fitness and character-based experience. This year, over a million students and 1,900 schools will participate in a Boosterthon program. With us, schools raise more, stress less, and provide a positive experience for every student.

Related Posts:

6 Things to Consider Before Joining Your PTA/PTO

3 Ways to Skyrocket Parent Involvement (According to Boosterthon PTA Leaders)

5 Tips for a Successful Boosterthon

Boosterthon’s 2016-2017 Giveback Program: A Million Students Strong

boosterthon million students strong

What if you had to choose between food and gas for your car?

Between food and medical care?

Between food and the roof over your head?

Which would you choose?

Every day, millions of Americans are making these difficult choices. The sad reality is, in the United States, 1 in 7 people struggles with hunger. That’s more than 46 million Americans (including 12 million children). In fact, hunger or food insecurity exists in virtually every community in the United States.

But these are OUR communities. Something needs to be done. That’s why we’re excited to announce our new giveback initiative benefitting Feeding America (the nation’s largest hunger relief organization), A Million Students Strong. This year, over one million students at America’s top schools will run in a Boosterthon event. Our brand new giveback program will let those students lock arms to help those in need right in their own backyard.

So how does it work? Every time a class reaches $30 per lap, we’ll give three meals to a local person in need. A Million Students Strong is a fun way to provide meals to the hungry while teaching your students the value of giving. And thanks to their help, people will no longer have to choose between food and basic necessities.

Our goal is to donate 160,000 meals.

How many meals will your students give? 



Related Posts

The Great Shoe Takeoff! Boosterthon’s Giveback Program 2015-2016

Boosterthon’s 2014-2015 Giveback Program – KidFit Salute

Operation Playground

Introducing the new 2016-2017 Boosterthon character theme…BACKYARD BOX OFFICE!

Boosterthon character theme Backyard Box Office


Everyone grab your tickets and popcorn! Our new character theme is called BACKYARD BOX OFFICE, a movie theme all about making a difference by getting into character. This amazing new theme will take students on a step-by-step journey of how to make a difference in their world. Our production crew traveled the country to bring your students movies about five REAL kids dedicated to making people’s lives better. (more…)

Why We’re Cheering “Bon Voyage” to 22,000+ Pairs of Shoes

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During the 2015-2016 school year, we’ve invited our schools to join us in the best giveback initiative yet, The Great Shoe Takeoff!

The-Great-Shoe-TakeoffWith the first half of the school year coming to a close, we’re excited to share how schools across the nation are changing the world by providing shoes for people in need.

When a class reaches $30 per lap, Boosterthon buys a one-way plane ticket to send a gently worn pair of shoes here in America to a person in need in another country. So, we’ve teamed up with a few delivery partners who are ready to ship shoes to Guatemala, Haiti, Ecuador and Burkina Faso!

We have a big goal to send 60,000 pairs of shoes to make more people (and feet) a little happier! How have our schools done so far?Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 3.58.12 PM

Thanks to our amazing schools, 22,480 pair of shoes will be sent to people in need. And that’s just for this semester!

Students, teachers and the surrounding communities came together to make the Great Shoe Takeoff their mission. We’re so blown away by the great work they’ve done that we had to share some of the highest number of pairs sent from our schools.

St. Benedict Preparatory School in Chicago, IL, sent 146 pairs! And right behind them were Sope Creek Elementary in Marietta, GA, who sent 125 pairs, and Bradfield Elementary in Dallas, TX, who sent 123 pairs. What a great accomplishment!

We still have a ways to go to reach our goal! So, let’s get out there and change the world. We can do it!

See how schools changed the world last year with KidFit Salute!


What Schools REALLY Think About The Boosterthon…

Big World Recess has been a huge success and there’s still more fun to come in this fall semester. After each program, we ask teachers and clients a series of questions that rate the quality of our program and team.

We’re thankful for the responses we’ve received so far and our Customer Value Score is 4.5 out of 5. We’ve worked hard to make Big World Recess the best Boosterthon experience yet, and here’s what a few of our schools had to say:

– “It was successful because the Boosterthon team was friendly, enthusiastic and organized. I appreciated the daily updates via email from the team. I always felt like I knew what was going on and what to expect.” Laurel Hill Elementary, Lorton, VA.Image-5726572-248536983-2-WebLarge_0_336a8d98a37e40ddbbc7d97237443f6a_1

– “This was our second year with Boosterthon and it again exceeded our expectations.” – Franklin Academy, Pembroke Pines, FL.

– “Their positive attitude was infectious! I also LOVED the email templates to send to parents. It made it so easy to communicate!” – Lamkin Elementary, Cypress, TX.

– “I was very impressed with the entire fundraiser. It was quick, easy for teachers, and very beneficial in raising money. The students loved it!” – Suntree Elementary, Melbourne, FL.

– “My class raised enough money to send 3 pairs of shoes over seas! I love this addition to the program. I thought this year was the best yet!” – Veteran’s Park Elementary, Lexington, KY.Image-5726572-248549495-2-WebLarge_0_72a7b1aed70a7703f18d147d8c751358_1

-“The organization of teacher materials was easier and more user-friendly this year.” – Newington Elementary, Summerville, SC.

– “We loved the packet with all the supplies! Wonderfully organized!” -Settler’s Way Elementary, Sugar Land, TX.


We’re proud of our scores, but we still have room to improve. We’re looking forward to hearing more reviews, making improvements, and bringing your school a great Boosterthon program year after year!

See what we’ve done to take initiative in always providing the best Boosterthon experience for our schools:

3 New Boosterthon Improvements Teachers Will Love

Fundraising Biggest Pledging Innovation is Live!

The Great Shoe Takeoff

Boosterthon Magazine

Meet Thunder Boy! Boosterthon’s Newest (And Youngest) Team Member

Many children dream of what cool job they can have when they grow up: Fireman, doctor, vet. For 7-year-old Jonathan, he wanted to start that job sooner rather than later.

At Westchase Elementary, in Tampa, FL, Jonathan participated in his first Boosterthon as a kindergartener and anticipated seeing the Boosterthon team on campus each year after that. As a second grader this year, he wanted to take his experience to the next level and become . . . an official Boosterthon team member.

But how could he pull off such a feat?

image1 2First, the uniform. He looked through his closet and found a blue shirt, khakis and sneakers (essentials). He dressed himself, but was missing one thing: the Boosterthon star.

Second, the star. He drew a star with a “B” inside of it, cut it out and taped it on the shirt. Not too bad for a homemade Boosterthon uniform!

His mom, Tara, said he started wearing different blue shirts so he could be in uniform every day. After school he’d gather his family in the living room and give the Team Huddle character lesson he’d learned that day.

After a few days of wearing a hand drawn star, he had a thought about making his uniform more official. His mom explains, “He actually asked me to print on the iron-on shirt transfer paper that I use for crafts, but I had to stop short of permanently marking EVERYTHING with the star!” They compromised by printing the logo on normal paper instead.

The last thing—a Boosterthon name. What did he choose? His mom explains, “he loved the support and enthusiasm he received from Lightening Liz, so he wanted a name that would make a good duo.” And that’s how he came up with . . . THUNDER BOY!

image1So, what’s going on with Thunder Boy today? Well, his favorite Big World Recess character lessons are “Play with Humility” and “Run with Endurance,” and his mom sees him applying these principles during hockey lessons and heavy homework nights.

“The team was so wonderful in embracing Jonathan’s self-elected ‘internship,’” Tara says. “He has become more outgoing, reaching out to new students and making sure they have a buddy. The Boosterthon team made a tremendous impression on my son.”

Now that the program is over, Thunder Boy will still use the school year to cheer on his classmates and look for helpful ways he can impact his community. The only change is that he may have to let the uniform take a break and get back to wearing his “normal” school clothes.

Jonathan, we’re proud of you for joining our team and representing us with excellence (and joy!). Keep up the good work and remember to always live with character!

Of Course We Remembered You, Alex.

2nd Booster4

Alex Martin is a 7-year-old at Schwarzkopf Elementary in Florida. Like other students, he’s been looking forward to seeing the Boosterthon team since they left campus last year after the Fun Run. He remembers holding the American flag high and proud during the National Anthem, and finishing his 30th lap.

For him, there’s nothing that can get in the way of another great year of Boosterthon…. except an unexpected visit to the hospital.

When Alex was born he was diagnosed with Pulmonary Atresia Hyperplastic on the right side of his heart (referred to as “Half Heart”). He had his first heart surgery as an infant and has had a total of two open-heart and three cauterizations, with one more surgery to come.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.49.50 AMDespite his early health set backs, you wouldn’t know it. Like any other 7-year-old boy, you can find him playing videos games, swimming, riding his bike and roller-skating. He shines the most when he’s active and adventurous. 

His parents don’t put restrictions on his physical activities, so last year’s Boosterthon Fun Run was another way Alex could succeed despite his heart condition. At the Fun Run, Alex kept a steady pace, took breaks between laps and drank a lot of water. Then, he proudly circled the Speedway for his final lap with a huge smile of success! 

A brave student like Alex is hard to forget, so when the Boosterthon team arrived this year at Schwarzkopf and saw that he was absent, they learned he had been hospitalized for a week and was sad he would miss the Fun Run.

There’s no way Team Tampa was going to let him miss some Boosterthon fun. So, they decided to bring the Boosterthon program to him. Toting a goodie bag, the Boosterthon theme song and our character lessons, they visited Alex in the hospital. Alex was thrilled and told his mom he was happy his “friends” (the Boosterthon team) didn’t forget about him.


No, we didn’t forget about you, Alex, and we look forward to seeing you again next year – but hopefully out on the Speedway next time!

Boosterthon Magazine: Students Experience Character, Culture, and Sports on Every Page

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Over the last few years Boosterthon has written and published 5 theme-enhancing children’s books, with over 150,000 copies on classroom shelves. But this year, we’re traveling in a little different direction by introducing the all-new Big World Recess Magazine found in the teacher kit.

When teachers open the first page and begin reading, students will be transported from their classroom to an airplane to a brand new country.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 8.02.13 AMThe first stop is New York City, where students meet Phinette and her girls basketball team, The Comets. You can practically hear the thunderous sound of an army of basketballs pounding the worn wooden floors in their practice gym—a century old elementary school in Brooklyn. The Comets are all about teamwork, and the coach says it best when he huddles the girls before a cheer. “If you ain’t touching, you ain’t family.”

Jetting across the world, students land next in Australia to meet ocean-exploring Jet, a 13-year-old scuba diver. Mesmerized by the beautiful expanse of the ocean and every creature in it, Jet and his “mate” Hugo, suit up and explore the inky blue depths, armed with underwater cameras and curiosity.

Bright yellow soccer jerseys flow through the streets of Brazil. Soccer brings the whole country together, and playing the sport starts at a young age, even for Amanda. She practices on the green fields at school or the goal near her house. Every day she gets a little better with the help of her soccer-loving siblings.

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Our next stop lands us in Japan where we meet Akira and his baseball team, the Giants. In the center of busy Tokyo, white, black, and orange uniforms round the bases of an elementary school play area. Watching, you feel like a well-hit ball could land in one of the high rise balconies circling the field. Akira, the captain, sits on a bench resting an injury from another game. He could be sad but instead he shows humility by cleaning baseballs, picking up bats, and cheering on his team.

Surrounded by white, snow covered mountains, we’re now in Switzerland to hang out with Rino, a stellar snowboarder. In his colorful board and head-to-toe ski gear he hops off the ski lift ready to hit the slopes with confidence. He learns big tricks by taking them one small step at a time—that’s what his coaches tell him.

The temperature is warming up quickly as we make our last stop in Kenya. Surrounded by beautiful acacia trees, you’ll see Patience running with a cloud of dust and other runners behind her. In Kenya’s long tradition of distance running, Patience wins her races by showing endurance.

At the end of every article are questions, new words to learn, and fun facts about the world sports. Teachers can use these to spark discussion and teach students about the big world we live in.

Can you travel the world with a magazine? We think so. See you out there.

Location hop around the world in under 60 seconds with our Big World Recess highlight video.

5 Tips for a Successful Boosterthon

If you’re looking for tips and tricks for your greatest fundraiser yet, we’ve got you covered. With over a decade of fundraising expertise, completing these 5 world-class tips guarantees you the best opportunity for making the most of your Boosterthon program. Let’s get started!

  1. Set a big yet obtainable fundraising goal.
    • Name exactly what you are raising money for. Specific items or initiatives help sponsors visualize the impact of their giving.Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 2.54.41 PM
  2. Motivate teachers
    • Gift cards, catered lunch, “duty” free lunch, etc. are great
      incentives for class participation.
  3. Utilize all forms of communication
    • Your school website, emails, phone blasts, and social media are great megaphones.Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 2.52.10 PM
  4. Clear your school calendar of other fundraisers or events
    • If too many events are happening at once, parents can’t focus their attention. So, whether it’s spirit week, a class field trip or picture day, streamline your school’s event schedule around one initiative. Hosting too many events is the number one threat to financial success.
  5. Decorate your entire school
    • Make our Big World Recess theme come to life! Find
      decoration ideas on our Pinterest Page,or let your creativity
      shine by creating your own.

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We can’t wait to hear the results of your awesome Boosterthon program!

Last Year Boosterthon Schools Changed The World By . . .

Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, we invited our schools to help change the world through our giveback initiative, KidFit Salute. Here’s how it worked. When a Boosterthon student reached $5 per lap during our program, they received our KidFit Water bottle and we made a donation to our giveback partner, Our 1533745_752163988154034_842962699345615376_nMilitary Kids, an organization supporting military families.

When a military family has a parent who is deployed or injured, it can be a challenging time for that family, especially for the children. Through sports and community activities, these children can gain support and stay active, regardless of their current circumstances.
And that’s why we love Our Military Kids! They come alongside these special families by providing grants toward sports or fitness-centered activities, and we wanted to rally behind them! We set the bar high and are proud to announce that with the help of our schools, Boosterthon donated a total of $23,974 for kid-fitness grants!

We heard incredible stories throughout the year of military men and women being honored at our Fun Runs, kids in military families holding the American flag during the National Anthem, and learning that PTA members had previously benefited from Our Military Kids while their spouse was deployed.



We couldn’t have done it without the support of our awesome Boosterthon schools. Thank you for helping a great cause. Together we can change the world!

There are many great stories of how Our Military Kids has made a positive impact on families lives. Meet two Boosterthon families who benefitted from this great organization. 


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Let’s face it: Taking over as PTA President can be overwhelming and a little nerve-wracking. Hundreds of parents are looking to you to make sound decisions on behalf of their children’s education. Not least of these is this question: How ...

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