Northwest Wisconsin is dotted with lakes and rivers, resorts, farms and small towns. Lots and lots of small towns.
The Amery Youth Hockey Association covers a large swath of the state along the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, as it serves not only Amery but also neighboring Clayton, Clear Lake, Balsam Lake and St. Croix Falls – among other communities.
Amery, with a population of about 2,800, is the largest of those towns and, as home to the Amery Ice Arena, serves as the area’s hockey epicenter. As is the case with most youth sports organizations, controlling costs for participating families through fundraising is crucial to keeping the association alive.
“We are a working class community,” said AYHA board member Andrea Yuhas. “If we don’t keep (hockey) affordable, people won’t be able to participate.”
Players at the Squirt level pay an absurdly low $325 for the season. That’s less than one-quarter the cost to play at the Squirt level in some large associations in the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
"If we don’t keep (hockey) affordable, people won’t be able to participate."
- Andrea Yuhas, AYHA board member
Fundraising, while always a priority, has taken on an added emphasis in recent years for the AYHA as arena equipment, purchased used from Shakopee, Minn., in 1985 when it replaced its city-operated rink, has started wear out.
“We are a hand-me-down rink,” Yuhas said. “Our condenser needed to be replaced. Our 1983 Zamboni needed to be replaced. We have equipment that is 30 years old.”
For the last two years the Amery Youth Hockey Association has supplemented its traditional fundraising programs with the Schwan’s Cares fundraising program. Last year the association raised $5,892 through Schwan’s Cares.
“I think last year we set our goal at $5,000, and we were feeling that was pretty lofty,” Yuhas said.
This year the AYHA has raised $2,295 (as of 2/12/15). The association has used its website to communicate information about the fundraiser to its members. A link directs viewers to the Schwan’s Cares Amery Youth Hockey Association campaign, and a percentage of all Schwan’s orders tied to the campaign go back to the AYHA.
Managing the fundraiser has been hassle free. Yuhas set it up online quickly and has used the email tools from the program to communicate with fellow fundraisers and supporters. Additionally, webmaster Laura Hojem placed information and progress widgets on the website.
“It’s very appealing,” Hojem said. “We’re not collecting money. we’re not distributing product.
“A huge appeal for me personally is the fact that it’s something I’m already buying.”
About Schwan's Cares
Since 1952, Schwan’s Home Delivery has helped families share delicious, home-style meals. Schwan’s offers home delivery of over 350 foods – all made with premium ingredients and requiring simple prep. For many years, SCHWAN’S TM has given back to the communities it serves. That is why they’ve introduced Schwan’s Cares – A Fundraising Network.
Key stats (as of 2/12/2015)
More than 5,800 organizations have chosen to fundraise with Schwan's Cares since its launch in October 2013.
Schwan’s Cares has given back more than $1.9M
More than 37,000 fundraising participants
More than 371,000 fundraising supporters