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Amherst College awards Clagett President and Co-Founder the Distinguished Leader Award

by Sam Crichton 27 Mar 2018 18:45 BST 22 March 2018
Judy Clagett McLennan along with fellow Amherst College awardees © Christian Caban

In recognition of her years of dedication and commitment to sailors with disabilities and adaptive sailing, Co-Founder and President of the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta, Judy Clagett McLennan (Portsmouth, R.I.), was invited to Amherst College in Massachusetts, to be awarded the Distinguished Leader Award on March 22.

"Thank you to everyone involved with the Amherst LEADS Program for bestowing this award on me. I am delighted to learn about the Amherst LEADS Program which combines educational and leadership programs for your Student-Athletes. Learning how to lead, whether it is on the athletic field, in your classrooms, in your dorms, or in life in general can be life changing. As many of you know, the feeling of success can be such a positive experience.

My Dad's favourite saying was "Reach for Success". Leadership which translates into a successful outcome can be empowering, which in turn creates self-confidence, which allows a freedom of spirit to blossom and produces an environment where individuals and teams can succeed," commented Clagett McLennan after receiving the award.

She concluded, "In South Korea at the Paralympics, the US team had 74 Athletes who won 36 medals. The Canadians had 55 Athletes who won 28 medals. These Athletes do not feel hindered by their abilities. As one of our long time Clagett volunteers is fond of saying, "The sailors are not disabled; they just have different abilities from you and me." Thank you again for honouring me with this distinguished award. I may be the President and leader of this organization but please remember it takes a dedicated team behind me to accomplish what The Clagett does. The other thing I ask you to remember, an Athlete with a disability is an Athlete first. Applaud them for their athleticism and their leadership qualities as you would any other Athlete."

The Distinguished Leader Award is presented to an individual recognized by the Amherst LEADS and the community who is consistently a leader in the field of athletics and has continuously provided support, guidance and a superior skill set to those with whom they work on a daily basis. Commitment, determination, and accountability are some of the traits that distinguished leaders possess, and it is not with much practice that a leader like this emerges and makes a difference in their craft. This award represents not only the hard work and dedication that has been proven, but the journey to get there as well. The Distinguished Leader has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a positive impact to those they care about the most.

Emily Horwitz, Amherst LEADS Program Coordinator commented about nominating Clagett McLennan for the award, "It was a pleasure to bring Judy to campus for our third Annual LEADS Honors Night. She is truly deserving of the Distinguished Leader award. Our captains were deeply moved by the impact that Judy has had on everyone she has worked with, and I hope that they can be as selfless and passionate leaders as Judy is in their endeavors after Amherst."

This award recognizes the 16 years of commitment Clagett McLennan has invested in The Clagett and its mission "to assist sailors in realizing their potential on the water by providing them both the knowledge and tools to improve their skills and the opportunity to use these skills in competition", and to make her father Tom Clagett's motto to "Reach for Success" a reality for adaptive sailors.

Over the 16 years that The Clagett has been held, it has gone from strength to strength and in 2016, launched The Clagett Boat Grant Program and expanded its scope to partner with Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, N.Y. to create the Clagett/Oakcliff Match Race Clinic and Regatta. Both programs provide opportunities for adaptive sailors to participate in sailing and learn new life skills.

For more information about The Clagett visit: clagettregatta.org

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