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    Published on Friday, March 1, 2019

    SIS Members Go to Camp

    By Chazi Blacksher

    With the support of Larsen & Brusgaard, event organizers Amy Benton and Chazi Blacksher of the Working Girls brought together a party of 85 jumpers to learn and laugh at Camp Yahawannafly (yeah-I-want-to-fly), a Sisters in Skydiving event at Skydive Arizona in Eloy January 25-27. They kicked off the event with an evening huck jam at the SkyVenture Arizona wind tunnel on Thursday, the day before official check-in.

    Throughout the day on Friday, the campers checked in and received backpacks filled with knee-high socks from Sock Smith, a camp T-shirt, fruit, granola bars, stickers and swag. Those who arrived during the day made jumps with camp counselors (aka load organizers) before meeting the rest of the campers for dinner provided by Boston’s Restaurant & Bar. During the evening, lucky campers won prizes such as a jump from Droplyne Balloon Company, an Optima II audible altimeter from Larsen & Brusgaard and pack-job certificates from local packers.

    During the weekend, attendees split into groups led by a counselor and went off to earn badges for their sashes. Skydive Arizona provided a Skyvan and a Twin Otter for the ladies to learn about seatbelt safety, lights and how to properly work aircraft doors. Square2 showed the ladies how to make closing loops and provided cookies. Rigging Innovations and Innovative Parachute Technologies provided badges at a canopy-hook-up station, where the ladies received refreshers on the function of 3-ring systems and how to clean their cables. 

    The campers also enjoyed time at SkyVenture Arizona, which provided free coaching and special rates for one-on-one belly- and back-flying sessions, high- and low-speed huck jams and vertical formation skydiving. Afterward, the tunnel campers met at a bonfire out in the desert for hot cocoa, s’mores and hot wine courtesy of Firebird.

    Square2 provided breakfast for the campers on Saturday morning. The weather allowed the ladies to jump all day from the DZ’s Skyvan and Twin Otter, as well as make a DC-3 load, all of which qualified for badges. Big Sisters took attendees on no-pressure jumps complete with outside video to help them learn and progress. On Saturday night, the ladies dressed up in their scout uniforms and enjoyed a meal and drinks catered by the Bent Prop Saloon and Cookery. Erika Mundinger from Minnesota made special merit badges to commemorate extraordinary SIS traits. These included a Mighty Mouse badge for Lori Zito, who landed next to Mundinger after she cut away; and a DFW (down for whatever) badge for Bella Vilshanetskaya, who was always willing to share the skies with Little Sisters.

    Many generous vendors supported the Saturday night raffle: Bev Suits, Boston’s Restaurant & Bar, Cookie Helmets, Droplyne Balloon Company, Firebird, iFLY, Innovative Parachute Technologies, Larsen & Brusgaard, Levity, Meadow Peak Skydiving, Mirage Systems, Option Studios, Ouragan Suits, Performance Designs, Rigging Innovations, Skydive Arizona, SkyVenture Arizona, Sock Smith, Square2, SSK Industries, Toltec Wellness, United Parachute Technologies and Vertical Suits. Load organizers chose which newer jumpers were in most need of the donated Larsen & Brusgaard altimeters, and for the rest of the prizes the attendees chose which raffles to enter (to ensure they received a prize they could use).

    Benton and Blacksher, who have run many SIS events, continue to be amazed by the inclusivity of the participants, the willingness of volunteers to help and the longtime support of the vendors and Skydive Arizona. They look forward to organizing another great SIS event in 2020!

    Chazi Blacksher | D-28539
    Eloy, Arizona

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