May 28, 2010
Cindy Hassler, mother of Georgetown Sailing student-athlete Amanda (C'10) and president of Friends of Georgetown Sailing (FGS), talks with Inside Georgetown Athletics about her experience as a student-athlete parent and volunteer leader.
How did your daughter, Amanda, become inspired to get involved with sailing, and what was her first impression of the sport?
Amanda started sailing when she was six on an Optimist, which is a little one-person boat designed for beginning sailors. She says it was sometimes scary when the winds were blowing hard, and she had to control her boat without tipping it over.
Have you ever sailed with your daughter? Describe the experience.
When I was pregnant with Amanda, I was racing on the Tartan 10 doing Galveston Bay races. The skipper finally threw me off the boat when I was six months pregnant. So I guess you could say that Amanda and I sailed together before she was even born. We've obviously sailed together as a family on several of our boats since then. I would say that for many years, that's how we spent our weekends, out on a boat in Galveston Bay, sometimes sailing but mainly observing Amanda as she raced her boat in many regattas.
How did you first hear about FGS and what motivated you to get involved?
During Amanda's freshman year at Georgetown, we attended the Annual FGS Parents Weekend where I was informed by Barrie Loeks and Vince Behm (then vice president and president of FGS, respectively), about the need for funds to help support the team both from an operational and from a capital funding standpoint. So I offered to help out with the FGS fundraising event. The fit was natural given that my professional background in marketing involved planning more events than I can count.
What has been the most rewarding part of the being a volunteer with FGS?
There are several things that made all the time and support worth the effort. Watching the team as they receive new boats and sails is such a treat. The students are so appreciative of all the efforts of the FGS supporters, which include not only their parents, but alumni, parents of former student-athletes and friends of the team. Secondly, I have served on the board of FGS for three years, and I have met some of the most marvelous people--all friends of this spectacular sailing team. Never have I been involved in such an organization where when asked, people step up and help in any way they can.
What has the experience of planning a major event like the FGS weekend been like?
Planning the FGS Annual Weekend is so fun. It is an event that the entire sailing team looks forward to, as well as the coaches. Putting together the event does require a major time investment and loads of organization, but what makes it so worthwhile are the parents, alumni and friends who contribute so many wonderful items for the silent auction and help us raise much-needed funds for the team. And because no one wants to miss the event of the year, we always have standing room only at the venue. We have had to change venues for the third year in a row, as each year the size of the crowd has grown and the previous locations can no longer accommodate our crowd.
Describe from your perspective as a support club president the impact that volunteers have on the student-athlete experience.
As one of the most successful programs in the history of the Georgetown Athletics Department--six National titles, number one ranking more than 10 times, three collegiate sailors of the year, and an Olympian--these rankings and awards don't come without many hours of training, hard work and dedication. But this type of commitment also requires that the team maintain first-class equipment. The team's many champions have worked hard to make sure that the team has the funding it needs to remain at the top of their class. Team members have been very appreciative of the support they have received. They not only see their parents contribute to the cause, but they see alumni giving back as well. I guarantee that many, if not all, of the current sailing team will join FGS after graduation and support the team financially. Whether its $5 or $5,000, they know their support will make a difference to the team.