MARIETTA - The United Way of Washington County will give kickoff a whole new meaning this year when it begins the 2012-2013 fundraising campaign with a football game.
At a press conference Friday, representatives from the United Way and participating high schools announced the first United Way of Washington County Bowl Game.
The inaugural game will take place at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at Warren High School where the Warriors will take on the Marietta High School Tigers. It is the second regular season game for both teams.
United Way board member and game coordinator Al Miller said he hopes stoking the fires of a friendly rivalry will help the United Way maximize its supporters.
"What a way to reach the maximum number of people with the widest variety of interests than at a football game," Miller said.
The winning team will be the first to house the United Way of Washington County trophy. The traveling trophy will be engraved with the name of the winning school and will be kept at that school until next year's bowl game, said Miller.
Agencies supported by the United Way:
* Marietta Bantam League Baseball
* Betsey Mills Club
* Boy Scouts of America
* Boys & Girls Club
* Caring Connection
* Cutler Community Center
* Ely Chapman Education Foundation
* EVE Inc.
* Washington County Free Clinic
* Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council
* Washington County Harvest of Hope
* Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home
* O'Neill Center
* Parents & Friends of the Hearing Impaired
* The Right Path for Washington County
* Salvation Army
* Senior Nutrition Program
* Marietta Family YMCA
Dylan Leffingwell, a senior on the Warren High School football team, said the game is about more than just a trophy. It is about gaining support for the United Way.
"It's really good for us to be aware. It's more than just a football game. We're doing this for others," said Leffingwell.
The United Way supports 18 Washington County organizations. This year it hopes to raise $266,000 to distribute to those organizations.
The United Way will raise money at the game with the help of both schools' student council members. The students, specially outfitted by game sponsor BSN Sports, will circulate through the crowd with donation buckets.
BSN Sports representative Todd Northrop said that getting involved with the game was a no-brainer.
"These are just great coaches and great kids and a great cause," said Northrop.
There are a couple of incentives for those who contribute at the game. Attendees who donate more than $5 will be entered in a raffle drawing to win one of two game balls provided by each team. Additionally, the school that raises the most money will receive a Fan Appreciation trophy, said Miller.
United Way Vice President Gary Williams said he hopes the game will help raise awareness in the community about what the United Way does.
"We want to make young people aware of the United Way and the work that our participating agencies do on behalf of Washington County," said Williams.
One way the United Way hopes to do this is by showcasing those agencies at the game. Representatives from each organization have been invited to attend the game and participate in a parade around the track prior to kickoff, said Williams.
Tickets to the game will be available for $6 at both schools' offices beginning Aug. 27 and at the gate.
To contribute to the United Way of Washington County, visit www.washingtoncountyuw.net or call 373-3333.