Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sisters In Skydiving

About Sisters In Skydiving

The U.S. Parachute Association has a program called Sisters in Skydiving, or SIS. SIS is a female mentorship program that pairs student or novice female jumpers with experienced women skydivers at their DZs or in their local areas to offer moral support, encouragement and guidance as they learn to skydive.

As a new female jumper, it’s easy to feel intimidated or alienated, especially since women are a minority in the sport. A Big Sister can be a friend, role model and mentor, giving her Little Sister someone to talk to about issues she may have as she progresses in skydiving. Here are just a few benefits of being a part of Sisters in Skydiving:

  • A Big Sister can invite her Little Sister to social outings with her skydiver friends.
  • A Big Sister can introduce her Little Sister to organizers or others at the drop zone to jump with.
  • A Big Sis can help her Little Sister with equipment selection and share her experiences with finding the right size gear.
  • A Big Sister can be a sounding board for her Little Sister to air her concerns, fears or difficulties in the sport.
  • A Big Sister may have gone through some of the same struggles her Little Sister is experiencing, whether it’s difficulty figuring out landings, trying to balance family life or facing fear. Having someone who can relate can help a new jumper overcome some of these problems.
Become a Little Sister!
SIS is available to any female students, even first-timers, as well as those who have recently earned their A licenses. No registration is required to be a Little Sister. Simply pair up with one of the Big Sisters at your drop zone. New female jumpers interested in finding a Big Sis should ask their DZO, instructors or S&TA to connect them with one at their DZ. If you’re unable to find a local Big Sister, email, and we’ll find you someone in your area.

Become A Big Sister!

We're inviting experienced female skydivers to sign up to act as mentors to new women jumpers. The goal is to offer support and help increase female retention in the sport. We hope that by giving new women jumpers experienced female role models to help guide and support them, we'll be able to increase retention of female students, adding depth and diversity to our sport.

To join Sisters in Skydiving and become a Big Sister, you simply need a minimum of 100 jumps and the desire to help new female jumpers. Once you register as a Big Sister with USPA, we'll provide resources with information that will help you offer guidance to your Little Sister.

Once you've registered, make sure to let your DZO or school manager know that you've signed up. The DZO or student coordinator can help pair you up with women going through the student program or those who have just earned their A licenses. Be proactive. Your DZO likely has his hands full, so make sure to take the lead in finding yourself a Little Sister.

Do you have what it takes? Register as a Big Sister today!

Shenandoah SIS 2021

  07/10/2021 - 07/11/2021

  Skydive Shenandoah   New Market Virginia

   Shauna Finley, Main Contact

Sisters In Skydiving Event

SIS First Hand Reports

Here are just a few testimonials about how Sisters in Skydiving is making a difference!

"Having been in the sport a mere 1.5 years, I have already found the camaraderie and support from my sisters has only helped progress and evolve my interest and goals both in skydiving and outside of the sport. These relationships are the main thing that have helped keep my interest in skydiving, without which I may have easily hung up my rig, with meandering focus, and stopped jumping altogether.

"Being a Big Sis myself has also been a unique experience: My Little Sister has encountered some friction from her mentors and instructors about whether or not to continue AFF—she has about 26 jumps but has not yet graduated AFF level 7. She was thinking about leaving the sport but since has decided to continue on in spite of pressure and unspoken discouragement of the community. I do not think I have developed stronger bonds with women in any demographic of people than I have in this sport."
—Emily Watt, Los Angeles, CA

"First of all, I just have to say that I love this program! I think it’s amazing. When I first came into the sport, my saving grace was the three chick skydivers that worked at our DZ that took me in and really were there for me (which is supremely appreciated in a sport that is male-dominated and makes most any female an instant target). I have several other chicks signing up from our DZ to also become Big Sisters!

"I have two Little Sisters. Both are brand-new, fresh AFF students. I think the most important aspect is to get in contact with them as soon as they start the program and make sure they have your phone number and know that they never need to hesitate to approach you, ask you questions, etc. It’s helpful that we have such a busy DZ, but it also still has to be the initiative of the Big Sister to approach a new sister in skydiving. New skydivers are often very timid and feel out of place—but really want to feel like they belong.

"I definitely feel like I am helpful, mostly as a point of contact. AFF instructors and the DZ managers are always giving everyone feedback, which is crucial and important. I see my role right now as more of a listening, guiding, friendship role.

"Most of our time is spent at the DZ sitting outside watching jumpers away and landings while we wait to jump on the next load available. This time is where I find most bonding happens—having someone to hang out at the DZ with and talk about skydiving and talk with other skydivers. I also invite the new skydivers to any group outings and events going on that involve skydivers, like going to the beach, going out to dinner, etc."
Courtney Meyer, Kenosha, WI

"I had a pseudo Little Sister already when I signed up for SIS. I say “pseudo” because she already has about 40 jumps and is well on her way. So far, we have flown in the tunnel together (and she is on a weekly tunnel league, as well—and this involves a great social atmosphere), done some fun jumps and have taken some time in the evenings to learn about packing. Though she had to pack for her A license, she is very uncomfortable with it, so we get together, have pizza and practice packing. In this way, I definitely feel I am helping her in her progression. I am also on a 4-way team participating in Nationals this year, so every weekend that we have training, we invite her to our hangar to spend time with us and watch the training routine, learn about 4-way and simply hang out and have fun.

"My biggest suggestion for sisters like myself is to take time to get to know the tandem students. They are often the ones you hear talking about how they would love to continue in the sport, but once they leave the DZ, they really don’t know how to go about it, and the opportunity has passed.
I love the idea of this group and hope we can continue to get more and more sisters in our sport!"
—Christine Edwards, Aurora, CO