After USPA had announced a new program called Sisters in Skydiving (SIS), my first inclination was heck yes! For several years I had become increasingly aware of what a male-dominated sport I had become a part of. Being the only female on a load was not uncommon for me. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I found myself wondering why? Why so few women? Were they scared? What was going on that made it such an oddity for women to be active skydivers?
Statistically speaking, USPA says that half of the tandem jumpers are female!
There has been lots of discussion over the years around this topic. As a member of a couple different groups on social media. What came across my perception is that apparently, our sport lack support to retain women skydivers.
My story with Sisters in Skydiving
My passion for encouraging, fostering, and celebrating women in skydiving really sparked when SIS was launched. Rewind to 6 years ago when I decided to host an SIS event at our dropzone. Eight ladies showed up, and we had a blast. We had a potluck, jumped together all day. It was the catalyst I needed to invest more in this SIS program. The next year we had a little over 30 ladies and made a weekend out of it.
Fast forward to year 5 when over 60 ladies showed up for what would be the biggest SIS boogie yet! While this year had just shy of 50 ladies in attendance, the vibe and feel around an SIS weekend is really something unique and magical. Quite frankly, there is nothing that gives me greater joy than to sit on a plane FULL of women. A weekend full of bonding, jumping, and just really encouraging and bringing up newer women in the sport is the heart and soul of what SIS is all about.
Want to be the LO in the SIS event but is not that experienced? Learn more about how to become a badass load organizer.
What should I do with the men during the SIS event?
One big thing I also try to do is include the men in the SIS boogies. Because they are an integral part of our sport and we need their support as well! The men can jump with our organizers, and they can ‘earn’ entry into the raffles by doing beautiful things for the SISters. Separating them from us only widens the gap – my mission is to have them support us as much as we support each other.
How to make it even better?
SIS is once a year. So in the interim, I also take a group of ladies for an annual tunnel trip (iFly Utah for the last 5 years) and also help head up a monthly women’s league at our local tunnel. I also make it a point to really try and get to know our newer female AFF students because I think it is so important to grab them from the beginning and let them know if they have questions, need support, or anything at all that I am always available.
Sister in Skydiving is a great program. I strongly encourage all women in our sport to sign up to be a big SIS (>100 jumps) or sign up as a little SIS (<100 jumps), and the program will pair you up with a big local SIS. Women in skydiving are somewhat of a rare breed, so let’s support each other and show the world we are AMAZING and can do ALL the things that men can do!
Keep coming back
SIS is a female mentorship program that pairs student or novice female jumpers. The program aims to put them together with experienced women skydivers. The goal is to offer moral support, encouragement, and guidance as they learn to skydive. We have many women in the skydiving sport. We just need to keep working together.
There is a lot more to know about the Sister in Skydiving program. The USPA has a dedicate page that can clear most of your doubts.
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