uscga badge
Close this search box.
Home / Cadet Blogs / Smooth Sailing – Dinghy Sailing Team at Nationals 2022

Swabs and Sailing – My Cadre Summer

Lauren O'Neill | July 28, 2023

2/c Lauren O'Neill

Cadre Summer was a really exciting time for my class, marking the transition from being a follower and underclassman to a leader. Our summer started out with MCTC, Mid-grade Cadet Training Course, where we got to work with our cadre sections, learning about leadership theories as we developed our own leadership styles. We also had a preparation week right before the swabs arrived, where we cleaned and prepared the swabs’ rooms (which took many, many, many hours), walked through Day One for the swabs, and did a lot of planning and organizing. We also had a lot of training during Prep Week, such as how to handle medical situations, the parameters of what we’re allowed to do, and learning from Cape May Company Commanders and Officer Candidate School Instructors.

For the waterfront, we spent preparation week running through our lessons and learning more about sailing and teaching on the water. What was really exciting for waterfront was that we had the opportunity to experience the most out of all the cadre sections. We were able to take every single AIM group sailing, teach each swab platoon multiple times, and go into Chase Hall as a regular cadre. It was fun for us to be nice and conversive with the swabs at the waterfront, but also get the experience of yelling in the intense training environment of Chase Hall. It was really cool because a lot of swabs felt more comfortable talking to us about what training they felt was really effective, what wasn’t working for them, and if they had any qualms they didn’t feel comfortable telling the Chase Hall cadre. We were in a great position to be liaisons between the swabs and the cadre in Chase Hall, and we really got started knowing our swabs as individual people.

Being a waterfront cadre was specifically really fun for me. I’ve been sailing my whole life, teaching and coaching. Since arriving at the Academy, I’ve been lucky to compete at a high level with the dinghy team, but it was also really exciting for me to get back to teaching, which I loved in high school. It was exciting for me to share my love of sailing with my classmates as a fellow waterfront cadre and with the incoming class of 2026.

While the focus of our summer was the swabs, we did get to do other exciting things. We took a week to go to a shooting range either here in New London or up in Cape Cod to get pistol training and qualify. We went onboard the Leadership 44’s, beautiful sailboats, along the coast of New England. Along with learning basic sailing, we got to experience fun port calls such as Nantucket, Block Island, and Hyannis. My classmates also got to do a week of operational experience, getting to learn about different jobs in the fleet such as naval engineering, flight, cyber, and marine safety. Swab Summer is rough, but in the blink of an eye, you’re on the cadre side and looking ahead toward the fleet.

About Lauren


Sponsor Family Application

Thank you for submitting your application to be part of the Sponsor Family Program. Your application will be processed in the upcoming week. Coast Guard Academy’s policy on background screening now requires all adults (everyone 18 and older living in the home) who volunteer to mentor, teach, coach or sponsor cadets, whether on or off Coast Guard Academy grounds, to be screened every 5 years. They are required to provide personal information (name, birth date and social security number) for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check.

The Security Officer at the Coast Guard Academy, CWO2 Gina Polkowski, is overseeing this process. Her email is:

Sponsor Family designations fall into several different categories. Below are the guidelines to help you determine how best to meet the background screening requirement:

  1. If you are Coast Guard active duty you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  2. If you are a Civilian working for the Coast Guard you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  3. If you are non-Coast Guard Active Duty, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at
  4. If you are non-Coast Guard civilian who has a current security clearance or National Agency check, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at
  5. All civilians in the families who are 18 years or older and do not have a security clearance or a National Agency Check are required to be vetted through Mind Your Business, the third party vendor hired by the Coast Guard Academy for the vetting process.

After you complete your application, please e-mail the Sponsor Family Program Coordinator at In your e-mail, you must include the e-mail address and phone number of every adult living in the home. The Sponsor Family Coordinator will then initiate the background check process and you will receive an email with further instructions.

Important things to note:

There is a Sponsor Family Training that is a one-hour training which we ask sponsors to attend once every four years. This training is designed to give you an overview of the program, what is expected of you as a sponsor, and what you can expect from your cadets. This training will also help familiarize you with the cadet regulations onboard CGA. You will be notified via e-mail once the training is scheduled.

The matching process of swabs to families will occur during July and August. Please bear with us and remain flexible through this process. There will be a meet and greet scheduled on Campus, typically in late August. This will give families an opportunity to formally meet their cadet if they have not already done so. Details on this will also be via email.

CGA Badge
Links from these pages to non-Coast Guard sites are provided as a customer service and do not represent any implicit or explicit endorsement by the United States Coast Guard of any commercial or private issues or products presented there.