Women to watch for March 21: Londonderry Lancer Gridiron moms
The Lancer Spirit is celebrating the women of Londonderry during the month of March in honor of Women’s History Month. For each day of the month, LSO will be highlighting an inspiring woman within the Londonderry community who has demonstrated strong leadership and influential behavior.
Today’s “Women to Watch” are the Londonderry Lancer Gridiron moms for their continuous dedication to bringing the community together through football.
Whether they’re in the concession stand sacrificing a sideline view of the game so the fans can grab a bite, or selling White Out for Warriors shirts to collect money for local charity, the Londonderry Lancer Gridiron moms are always putting in work to go that extra yard for our community.
Of the ten members on the Gridiron board, six of them are moms of some of the Londonderry Lancers who have shown dedication to supporting our community through our schools football team.
Though they all have their own unique reason for joining the board, supporting and being present during their children’s athletic careers is a definitive common motivation.
“I wanted to be on the board because my son is a football player, and I wanted to be involved in a program that means so much to him,” board secretary Sue Salcito said.
In her role as secretary, Salcito records minutes from the meetings and runs their gmail account to help with correspondence.
Supporting the town through this organization is also a way for the members to inspire others to have the same desire to contribute, creating a more positive community for everyone.
“It’s where my life happens,” said Salcito. “I have certain expectations of my community, and I cannot hold it to those expectations without being involved.”
Providing support for not only their own children but other players on the team, these women demonstrate the fact that connecting with the young members of the community is just as important.
“It is amazing to see the smiles on the players’ faces,” Events Coordinator Mandy Jasper said. “They are an amazing bunch of young men!”
Jasper is responsible for planning the spring tailgate and end of year banquet in which players and coaches are recognized for their achievements. She also enjoys taking part in these events and being a part of the board for the sense of closeness it brings those in the town.
“Connecting with the community gives me a sense of home and family,” Jasper said. “I enjoy seeing people around town at games and feeling a part of the community.
While the major events may be the ones to receive the most recognition, it’s the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the club up and running.
In charge of fundraising for the club, Leah Chapdelaine reaches out to various local businesses for donations and sponsorships.
“I am a single mom and have always been a huge part of my son’s football life,” Chapdelaine said. “I wanted to be more involved during his high school years because it goes by way too fast, so I joined the board.”
Another large source of fundraising for the Gridiron Club comes from the concession stand, run by Concession Chair Misty Patles. She ensures that it is properly stocked with food and paper products, and has enough volunteers to keep it running smoothly.
Like the other members, Patles’ level of dedication to town organizations is largely derived from her son’s participation in local athletic activities.
“Sports are so important in my son’s life and the lives of so many other kids in the town,” Patles said. “The only way for those sports to run is with volunteers.”
The club also gains support through their social media accounts, run by PR coordinator Judi Naar.
“I like the creative aspect of social media,” Naar said. “It allows us to connect with the kids in the community as well as the community at large.”
Naar also writes The Goalpost: Tales From the Gridiron, a weekly newsletter that posts highlights from games, events and all things Lancer Football related.
“We write the Goalpost as a weekly recap of memories and achievements of the players,” Naar said. “It keeps the Lancer fans, alumni, and town involved in our high school sports. and it’s a way to bring people together.”
For Maureen Fielder, the club’s treasurer, it was about giving back to a community that was always willing to offer support where it was needed.
“The football community, starting with the Wildcats, was always there to help me at a time I really needed the help,” said Fielder. “As a single mom, I wasn’t always financially stable, and I also couldn’t be everywhere all the time. Between the coaches and the parents, someone was always willing to lend a helping hand. Whether it was to provide rides or help with discounted memberships, they were always there and for that I am extremely grateful.”
As the treasurer, Fielder’s job is to deal with money both received and paid by the organization. She maintains the bank account, prepares the clubs yearly budget and files the annual taxes.
Not only does Fielder enjoy being a part of the community as a whole, but the people within the organization itself.
“It takes a lot of people to make things run successfully,” Fielder said. “Meeting and being with all these people has been so much fun. It feels good to give back!”
For the players, these women are a solid support system who are always there to provide them with what they need.
“I’m grateful for the time and effort that the Gridiron moms put in for us during the season,” varsity Football player EJ Donovan said. “Whether it be the chocolate milk after doubles and certain practices or the sandwiches before games, they worry about stuff so that we don’t have to. They’re the best.”
Whether they’re showing their support for the community through fundraising for local charities or promoting small businesses around town, the Londonderry Lancer Gridiron moms are always willing to show their dedication to giving back.
“Giving to the community brings happiness,” Jasper said. “It feels good to give back!”