By Ed Scott
This installment of Gearing Up was written in late June, just before Parachutist went to press on July 2. Naturally, at the time we didn’t foresee that the state of the pandemic would worsen as it has, and we were still hopeful that USPA events—including the Nationals, which at the time was four months in the future—would be able to continue as scheduled at the drop zone selected to host, Skydive City Zephyrhills. That has obviously not come to pass. For more up-to-date information than the print version of Parachutist can provide on Nationals and other USPA events, visit USPA’s Facebook page, the USPA News tab at uspa.org or uspa.org/nationals.
There are three opportunities for USPA members to participate in important skydiving gatherings in the coming months.
The first of the gatherings is the annual USPA General Membership Meeting on Friday, September 18, at 7 p.m. in Nashville, Tennessee. USPA invites all members in good standing to attend. This annual meeting of the membership—required by USPA’s bylaws—commonly takes place at one of the two biannual meetings of the board of directors. This one is happening at the rescheduled summer board meeting. There is no expected business on the agenda for the membership meeting, but we always use it as an opportunity to update attendees on the current skydiving issues of the day, USPA finances and the state of the association. It’s a great time to meet all 22 board members and the USPA staff directors present and engage them on any topics you have in mind. When the meeting adjourns, we plan to take over a nearby honky-tonk and enjoy cold beverages with old and new skydiving friends late into the evening. We’ll be at the Hilton Garden Inn Nashville Vanderbilt hotel at 1715 Broadway in Nashville. Come join us.
The USPA Board of Directors will meet at that same location on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will be the board’s first meeting in Nashville since 1978 (though there have been two meetings in Memphis in recent years). Again, all USPA members in good standing are welcome to attend. There will be a published agenda beforehand, and throughout the weekend you can actually sit in on the committee meetings of your choice, where the real work is done. If you have a particular interest in issues covered by the standing committees—Competition, Finance & Budget, Governance, Group Membership, Membership Services, Regional Directors or Safety & Training—you can actually sit in on the discussions and maybe even help shape the motions that the committee debates and the full board votes on that weekend. You’re welcome to join the full-board sessions during the weekend, as well. Granted, it’s not as fun as skydiving, but it’s a great way to meet the USPA staff and see your membership dues and your elected officials at work.
Then, the USPA National Skydiving and Parachuting Championships—all events!—take place at Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida from October 30 through November 21. Skydive City owners Susan Stark and Joannie Murphy and manager Cameron King and their staff have been going all out to have the DZ ready to host the first full Nationals in Florida in years. November is the perfect month for skydiving in Florida. Come for the skydiving; stay for the hospitality. Newer skydivers find Nationals to be just the thing for motivation while honing skydiving skills and learning from the pros. Experienced competitors come to compete, for sure, but also to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Even if you don’t end up on the podium with a medal draped around your neck, you’ll be glad you came, and you’ll leave with memorable entries in your logbook and some great stories to take home.
Of course, these are current plans. If 2020 has taught us anything so far, it is to stay flexible and be ready for options. If we have any updates, we’ll publish them as soon as we know them. But here’s hoping these events will go as planned, and hopefully I’ll see you there.