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Picayune Color guard and other programs worry about gathering funds

The Picayune color guard is having to deal with issues never seen before by the program, and issues like the lack of fundraising opportunities that’ll exist in a hurting economy extend beyond just one program in Pearl River County.

Picayune Color Guard

Jessica Malley is going into her fourth year as the director of the Picayune Color Guard and is having to deal with some unprecedented situations.

Malley said last year the team had its tryouts in March, which allowed the athletes to get a head start in preparing for band camp, but because of the pandemic those plans had to be postponed.

Malley’s solution was to then host virtual tryouts for those who wanted to join the color guard program.

A YouTube channel has been set up that will feature videos detailing the tryout routine and provide some basics prospective members have to record themselves performing.

Malley said there will be a drive-thru in the high school parking lot for athletes to come to in order to rent their flag poles.

One drive-thru will take place May 7 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., while the second drive-thru will take place May 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Malley said there is a $25 rental fee of which $20 will be refunded upon the safe return of the pole.

There will be virtual meetings for interested athletes on May 12 at 7 p.m. and May 14 at 2 p.m.

Both the athlete and a parent or guardian must be present for the meeting.

Then on May 16 the tryout video will be posted and athletes will have until May 20 at 5 p.m. to turn in their submissions.

Results will be posted May 22.

Malley said the delay in tryouts means the color guard will have to move quickly over the summer to be prepared for the start of school.

“Whatever girls make the team they’ll have to be willing to work hard because we have a lot to catch up on. We have our work cut out for us, but we’re looking forward to it,” Malley said.

Fundraising

The Poplarville cheer program, Pearl River Central dance program and Picayune color guard program use fundraising to pay for equipment and trips, but those opportunities will be few and far between due to the pandemic.

Malley said the pandemic’s effect on local businesses will affect the Picayune color guard’s ability to properly fundraise.

“We know a lot of small businesses are struggling and that’s our backbone and keeps us going. We’re hoping we can support them and they can support us back,” Malley said.

PRC Dance Coach Sadie Penton said the Pearl River County School District has a cap on how much she can charge members to be on the team, and because of that fundraising is an integral part of the team’s budget.

Without it, Penton said going to an away camp and other events may be affected if they can’t raise the normal amount of funds.

“I don’t even know how we’re going to do that this year. We can’t do much of anything without fundraising,” Penton said.

Poplarville Cheer Coach Rebecca Mayfield said the cheer program at Poplarville receives funds for helping with the homecoming dance and hosting a camp for children interested in cheer.

The pandemic has interrupted the payment schedule the program usually has for parents when buying uniforms and equipment, but other than that the program usually doesn’t rely on fundraising for the majority of its revenue.