Camp Shawanga: Back to the ‘80s
Event News | Oct 17, 2023
Camp Shawanga: Back to the ‘80s

USPA Staff

Photos by Laszlo Andacs.

On July 22, Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, New York, stepped back in time to host the most epic, rad and totally tubular event of the year! Camp Shawanga: Back to the ‘80s was a gnarly Sisters in Skydiving boogie that united the local skydiving community around celebrating the powerful women of the sport. Though they make up just 14.5% of the skydiver population, the women were undoubtedly the stars of the show at this event.  

The mission was clear: an unforgettable day of skydiving that strengthened the bonds between experienced jumpers and rookies. Everyone was welcome to participate, and the boogie relied on local organizers who knew the drop zone like they knew the lyrics to their favorite ‘80s songs. There were no outside organizers; this was a family affair that the Ranch SISters did their way! And hold on to your mullets: For just $35, the event included breakfast, access to organized jumps all day, a delicious dinner, games that would make the ‘80s proud and a dance party that would make Michael Jackson himself green with envy!

On the day of the event, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the winds were light … a perfect day for skydiving summer camp! Two planes kept the loads turning all day. There was something for everyone, from skill-building to hula-hoop and potato-head jumps to a large wingsuit memorial flock and an 11-way all-female belly formation.


From left: Volodymyr Trachuck, organizer Adriana Almeida, Carin Liljedahl, Cynthia Sager and Marco Petchak fly a 5-way outfacing wedge.


But the excitement didn’t stop there. As the sun began to set, participants gathered for the grand finale called Land-and-Sip, a twist on Swoop-and-Chug that swapped beer for prosecco and took away the pressure of accuracy. All the jumpers needed to do was land their parachutes safely and head over to the peas for a drink with the ladies. Cheers to that!

TSK Taco Smash Division outdid themselves, serving up mouthwatering tacos that satisfied both hunger and a craving for all things ‘80s. With full bellies, everyone hit the dance floor and partied like rock stars! The hangar filled with the sounds of laughter, camaraderie and the occasional ‘80s power ballad. (Cue the air guitars!)

Camp Shawanga was a roaring success! More than 110 skydivers joined in on the fun, and rookies learned from seasoned jumpers during the dozens of organized jumps. Sponsors—including Flight-1, Performance Designs and United Parachute Technologies—lent their invaluable support. Funds raised at the boogie allowed the Ranch SIS to start a scholarship fund to inspire the next generation of female leaders, and they awarded three up-and-coming jumpers grants to put toward skill building. Stay gnarly, my friends!


Rosemary Li successfully completes her trip through the hula hoop held by Luz Diaz (left) and Cheyenne Baer as Yeji Kim lines up for her turn.


Boogie-goers fly an all-female belly formation.


Erin Engelsen, Cheyenne Baer, Demi Bennett and Brennan Melchiori sit-fly during a jump in which they transitioned from upright to belly and back again.

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