By April Bailey
The Nestucca Valley Athletic Supporters have come a long way since their beginnings. What started as a plan to improve existing ball parks on several school grounds, has expanded to a full use sports facility multiplex in one location. Through the combined efforts of Nestucca Valley Athletic Supporters, Nestucca Valley School District, and the community at large, the project is realizing some of its lofty goals.
Officially NVASi came to formation as a 501c3 non-profit in November 2015. However, the concept began with former Nestucca Junior Senior High School principal, Randy Wharton, and Nestucca Senior High School Athletic Director, John Elder. Wharton and Elder originally came to Kenny Hurliman with their idea for an improved sports facility on the former Beaver Middle School property. However, as the project progressed it became apparent to Hurliman that the better choice for new facility was the unused school property around the Nestucca Valley Elementary School. Hurliman became the community champion for the project, and recruited like-minded community members to join him—Josh Armstrong and Jon Strader. Hurliman credits teacher, and former lawyer, Chad Halloway for completing the 501c3 paperwork for the group to became a non-profit.
This three man board has continued to grow, and gain support. Early fundraisers were mostly coordinated by the board members, their wives, and family members. But, as their plans became more public they gained more support resulting in several established fundraisers, both continuous and annual. In fact, in September 2016, NVASi inherited the former Nestucca Booster club’s concession sales. “They [Nestucca Boosters Club] were looking for a way out,” said Hurliman. Some of the ladies had been serving in the Booster’s Club since he had attended Nestucca. This has significantly boosted NVASi fundraising power, and gives them an opportunity to share profits directly with the Nestucca High School athletics programs.
Another continual fundraiser is the bottle return program, initiated by Kelly Armstrong. Armstrong began with a bottle return can placed in front of the Cloverdale TCCA Feed Store. Recently, the group gained the bottle returns from Cape Lookout State Park, giving the group a double raise on returns – with a five cent increase with each bottle, and significantly more bottles.
Of course the group has also benefited from grants, such as those from the Tillamook Rotary and the Nesko Womens’ Association. The group is currently working on several other possible grants. And, of course, there have been many local donations of time and money. These were donations were mostly directed toward the covered play structure that was completed in December 2016.
So what is next for NVASi? Well aside from getting $4-5 million to finish their multi-phased project, just a few small items like managing all sports youth (Junior High or below) programs, getting their master plan professionally developed, and building, building, building. One project the group is excited about finishing this summer is a controlled training burn by local, state and federal forestry and fire personnel to clean up the debris left over from the clearing of the property surrounding the school. The burn is scheduled to take place between July 1st and July 15th.
NVASi is hosting a few fundraisers through the summer. This Saturday, July 1st, starting at 7 a.m. they will be hosting a breakfast at Nestucca Junior Senior High. The price for the breakfast is $8 per adult, $5 kids ages 5-12, and free for kids 4 and under.
NVASi will also be hosting their 3rd Annual Co-ed Softball Tournament on July 29th. The entry fee per team is $300, and is limited to 10 teams. Interested parties should contact John Strader at 541-921-8784. Winning team will receive a trophy with their team name imprinted on the trophy, and a year to display the trophy. The winning team will also receive donated gift certificates.