About the Friends of Glastonbury Rowing, Inc.

The HISTORY

In the fall of 2000, a group of girls from Glastonbury High School approached Jeff Carstens to help form a crew club.  Jeff, a retired aviation engineer and former Princeton University rower, quickly assumed the role.  His rowing experience as well as his background as a crew coach while he was in graduate school made him the perfect candidate for the job.  He quickly assumed the role of advisor and coach for the club while his wife Dale took on the job of organizing volunteers to manage the docks, run the safety and coaching launch boats and provide support to the rowers.

The club sport had tremendous success and popularity, and it became a co-ed varsity sport in 2003.  Today it operates as a dual season sport in the fall and spring of each school year and has historically been the largest team sport at GHS for many years.  Since its inception as a club sport, it has provided well over 1,000 students from our community the opportunity to learn and excel in the sport of crew.  As a result, many students have been recruited by colleges and universities due to their rowing experience.  Many have returned to the team during college breaks and upon graduation to join our coaching staff.

In November of 2001, Jeff Carstens founded Friends of Glastonbury Rowing Incorporated (FOGRI) for the purpose of supporting the GHS Crew Program.  This non-profit organization operates exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the definition of section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code.  Over the years FOGRI has donated tens of thousands of dollars towards the purchase of crew shells, oars, storage racks, coaches salaries, launch boats and engines as well as other equipment and fees necessary for operating a crew program with safety as its first priority.

FOGRI continues to work within our community in many different ways to support the GHS crew team and the sport of rowing.  We hold many fundraisers including the Ergathon, River Run, Pulling for Pink, Haunted Corn Maze, and Flamingo Flocking.  We are heavily invested in creating opportunities for community access to the CT River and are working closely with many town agencies on the latest phase of the Riverfront Park project.  This will include a community boat house which will be the new home of GHS Crew as well as provide opportunities for the public to have river access for recreational purposes.  We have joined in the planning and directional process of the boathouse and will assist the funding of it through a capital campaign.

We are very proud of our history and look forward to enabling the crew team to grow and diversify while enabling the public to learn more about this great sport.  We are grateful to Jeff and Dale Carstens for the vision, dedication and creativity in making the sport of crew a reality at GHS and thankful to the countless contributors who donate to our organization and help us achieve our goals within our community.

WHAT WE DO

Our Board of Directors is comprised of approximately 16 members who are all volunteers. Our members come from different segments of the community, and their vast backgrounds include former and current rowers and coaches, lawyers, accountants, boaters and sailors, small business owners as well as many crew parents.

We meet an average of once a month during the school year to execute the business matters pertaining to our support of the GHS crew team as well as any issues related to rowing within our community.

Friends of Glastonbury Rowing Inc. is charged with many responsibilities to fulfill our mission to provide educational, operational and financial support to the Glastonbury High School Crew Program and be a resource to the community as it relates to crew.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

We are pleased to have been able to provide approximately 80% of the total cost to run the crew program on a yearly basis since its inception in 2001.  Funding has been made possible by generous contributions made by crew member families, relatives, FOGRI Board members, charitable foundations and other supporters. 

Since its inception through October 2010, FOGRI has expended $537,341 in support of GHS Crew Operations.  Funds have been and are directed to:

Equipment Purchases:

  • Rowing Shells
  • Oars
  • Cox Boxes
  • Spare Boat Parts
  • Chase Boats
  • Engines for Chase Boats
  • Megaphones
  • Floating Docks
  • Boat Trailer
  • Life Jackets
  • Ergs
  • First Aid Kits
  • Fuel
  • Coaches Salaries
  • Marina Fees
  • Tents
  • Storage Shed
  • Medals for Home Regattas
  • Race Markers
  • Race Registration Fees As Needed to Supplement Board of Ed. Payment
  • Transportation Costs for Out of State Regattas
  • Maintenance of all shells, oars, and chase boats

FUND RAISING

We oversee the many fundraisers necessary to financially support the program.  This involves recruiting the many volunteers and chairpeople necessary to execute numerous fundraising activities.  They include:

  • Ergathon/Tag Sale
  • Haunted Corn Maze
  • Clothing and Merchandise Sale
  • River Run
  • Flamingo Flocking
  • Annual Appeal
  • Socials

VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION AND RECRUITMENT

Supporting the large crew program requires the work of dozens of volunteers to ensure the safety and success of all of the athletes, coaches, and spectators.  We oversee this by recruiting and guiding the volunteers who provide invaluable services in a number of areas.  They are:

Safety:  Dockmasters, Safety Launch Boat Drivers, Parking and Traffic Patrols

Food Committee:  Purchase, preparation and presentation of food to team members, their families and guests at all regattas – home and away, as well as other crew related events.  Set up, take down and clean up of the food tent and its tables and grills.  Organization and stocking of the food trailer and transportation of it to each regatta.

Regatta Organization:  Set the schedule of races for each season in conjunction with the coaching staff.  Invite other teams to participate in home regattas.  Meet with volunteers prior to a home race who will set the race course markers, act as start and finish line officials, patrol the course for safety and act as dockmasters.  Prepare race programs.  Remove race course markers upon completion of the regattas.

Media Coverage:  Work with coaches, athletes and other volunteers to write articles and gather photos for submission to the Glastonbury Citizen and other media outlets for coverage of all races and crew related events.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Through on ongoing commitment to provide education and opportunities related to the sport of crew for the community, we act as a liaison to the people of Glastonbury and beyond for issues related to the sport.  Through our boathouse committee, we have been actively involved  in providing feedback and participation to the Town of Glastonbury and its contractors relative to the proposed boathouse and its surroundings at Riverfront Park in Glastonbury.