It’s the first part of USPA’s three-part mission: “to promote safe skydiving through training, licensing and instructor-qualification programs.”
Let’s trim that down a bit and look at its essential element: To PROMOTE safe SKYDIVING through training, licensing and instructor-qualification programs. While of course we make a strong effort at fulfilling the whole statement, we also do our best at fulfilling the concept of promotion in general by publicizing the sport and being its advocate.
So how do we do that? Historically, USPA has made targeted efforts to promote the USPA Nationals and other specific events to the mainstream media. Just shy of two years ago, we made a big change in that area. We brought on a public relations firm to pursue a continuous effort at putting our sport in front of the public. Those positive stories about hometown jumpers making the U.S. Parachute Team, winning a medal at the world championships, setting state or national records or giving back to their local communities all deserved attention. And USPA has been making the effort to help ensure they get it.
We’ve also been making great strides in the digital advertising, retargeting and promotional world, as well. While some drop zones have been doing a great job at attracting first-time jumpers in their respective communities, USPA hasn’t been on the forefront of these efforts. But we’re looking to do better in this area and have bigger plans to help promote the sport across the board.
Last month, we launched something new to USPA: the Parachutist Starter Mag. This 52-page magazine is full of graphic representations of our sport and contains answers to many of the frequently asked questions from would-be or newbie skydivers. “What’s next? Can I go again? How do I become an instructor and do this every day?”
It contains information on instructional methods and the different types of skydiving, advice from pros, an article about the diverse communities within the sport and an explanation of USPA and what it does. This magazine is the perfect piece to give to those tandem students who come down from their first jumps and are curious about this new world they have entered.
When we debuted the Starter Mag at the 2023 Drop Zone Operators’ Conference in Reno, we began happily shipping them out to Group Member drop zones. In fact, within minutes of debuting this student-retention tool, we had orders for more than 6,000 copies. Our hope is to get them onto the counters of every Group Member drop zone and into the hands of every first-time jumper and those in the student progression who are looking for guidance in our amazing sport. We’re confident it will help bring the first-time jumper back for more.
We’re also happy to be able to offer this tool to our Group Members at no charge as a benefit of group membership. Here’s to making new skydivers!
Albert Berchtold | D-27832
USPA Executive Director