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What's this all about?
Let's face it. The world of skydiving has a very low percentage of female participation... We envision increasing the ways women contribute to the sport we love. By sharing knowledge and support, women skydivers can grow and give back, adding numbers and depth to our sport.
Our Mission, Our Vision, Our Goal...
To promote and support the participation of women in skydiving education.
To create a network of peers and mentors for female skydivers of all levels.
To offer instructional rating courses from United States Parachute Association, Skydive University, and Parachute Manufacturers tailored for women specifically.
How did this idea originate?
by :Jen Sharp
The idea for a course designed for and taught by women came from countless conversations between Tom Noonan and me... mostly Tom's brain child peppered with suggestions from me and other mutual friends. The vision aligns with all of our committments to quality education and continually pushing the envelope, discovering what is possible. Women tend to be discouraged from advanced ratings, possibly as a result of socialization, the inherent ego in the skydiving world, or some personal obstacle that keeps us from achieving.
In 2004, I expressed that I wanted to be a tandem instructor, but was told I was too small, not strong enough, even "You're gonna kill someone!" But I had some key supportive friends and I took the first important step: I believed I could do it. Several years later at another DZ, I found myself now as a tandem examiner speaking to a young woman expressing interest in earning her tandem instructor rating, similarly surrounded by discouragement... as I answered her questions -- ironically the same questions I had to answer for myself a few years ago -- I realized a crowd was growing, thirsty to hear "secrets" about how I could do it. Despite how uninteresting the truth is, I have to admit I am actually quite average and there really are no secrets. "The secret ingredient in the Secret-Ingredient-Soup is..."
When some of my male skydiving friends make remarkable achievements, I hear accolades like, "Wow, he's something!" and "He is just fantastic!" Yet upon hearing a comparable achievement of mine, there is an uncomfortably long pause, followed by an interesting reaction: "Oh. Well, if SHE could do it, certainly I could, too!" But... I discovered: This hilarious discrepancy is my gift. When most people look at my small frame, young (ish) average appearance, they assume incompetence or inexperience. While others might incite admiration, my achievements instead incite insipiration!
The other day, my eleven year old daughter announced to me, "Mom, someday, I'm going to be better than you." I replied, "Not only am I counting on that, I'll help you get there!"
I wanted to be a tandem instructor, but was told I was too small, not strong enough. But I had some key supportive friends and I took the first important step: I believed I could do it.
: Jen Sharp, Strong Tandem Examiner
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