Tonight is the night of our big benefit dinner at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River, Ohio.
Sailing an Olympic campaign has been a huge learning experience up to this point. Everything from learning how to plan a budget for my expenses to coordinating transportation of my equipment around the globe to streamlining my high school studies to fit into my training schedule have all been good (and sometimes difficult) lessons for me. I have had to learn to deal with people of all ages, from coaches and trainers to team managers and parents and most of all crew on my Olympic NACRA 17 sailboat. But the biggest lesson I have learned is about how to provide value to my supporters and sponsors.
Managing an Olympic campaign is not cheap. In fact, it may be one of the most expensive things that I do in my life. Everything about the sport at this level is dialed in to give me the slightest advantage over the competition. From coaches to boats, sails, personal trainers and even the clothing I wear all make a difference. and since my goal is to Bring home Olympic Gold to Cleveland after the Rio Games, not simply to become an Olympian, I need to make sure that I am constantly focused on improvement in everything I do. In order to pay for my training, I spend a considerable amount of time fundraising which while it takes time away from training and improving my performance, it helps me stay focused on how valuable this whole experience is to me and everyone who supports me. I raise money several ways:
- Corporate donations
- Individual donations
- Speaking engagements to Yacht Clubs, HS and College sailing teams and corporate events
- Sailing/advising for yacht owners on how to maximize their on the water performance
I can talk for hours about each one of these, but in addition to these I am grateful to the many individuals and companies in Cleveland who have supported this benefit dinner with donations of food, beverages, and raffle items that are surely going to appeal to everyone who attends the dinner tonight! Some of the nearly 40 items we are raffling off include Browns Tickets, Cavs and Browns memorabilia, toys, sporting equipment, dinners out and so much more that I can’t even list them all here. Make sure to come down to the Cleveland Yachting Club tonight between 6:00 and 9:00 for some dinner and to see them all. We are asking for a $25 donation to attend the event at Center Island.
In addition to all the festivities and time spent with other supporters dinner, I will be talking about my campaign and how sailing on Lake Erie has instilled my love of competitive sailing and the spirit of I-LYA drives me towards my goal of Olympic Gold. It will be great to have a Gold medal hanging on the walls of my club after Rio. I will also be talking about some recent major changes in my campaign and how these changes are about to accelerate my progress towards winning in 2016.
I hope to see you at the club tonight. Please bring your family and friends with you and remember to tell the guard at the gate that you are here for the Sailing Benefit Dinner at Center Isle of the Cleveland Yachting Club. I look forward to seeing you around 6 tonight!