Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Circle of Awareness: The power of thought

Time moves so fast. It's easy to get comfortable the way life is, your healthy body, the routines and general plan your life has taken from day to day.
In the last two weeks our little drop zone has taken a hit to the community. A very experienced instructor and long time resident, Paolo Di Fino, with over a decade on this property misjudged a landing bringing himself close to death as anyone can be.
Again my new found drop zone and the community of skydiving completely amazed me. The outpouring of love through action is more then evident over time.
Paolo's accident sent a wave through our community as such a tragedy would. Vibrant, alive and full of life and experience, his accident caught many off guard as he would be the least candidate for such an mishap.
Close friends took the reigns immediately taking the first watch to more then a week of constant watch as Paolo hung on in ICU. To say the least the community was in shock and going back to work not knowing if it was the last time we would see Paolo was very difficult. Paolo has never been without a member of the community. Even his arriving family members were met with complete openness and generosity. Even the hospital staff was amazed at the care and attention Paolo received from his community.
News came in hour after hour and then day after day. Every minute a blessing. Severe internal damage and bleeding, back injuries and other complications made nothing definite.
Being new here gives me the possibility of a more observant perspective. The powerlessness to help but the fact he was still alive and might possibility pull through in time changes things. What to do? How does someone help? Be a part of the process?
On the day of the accident it was agreed we needed to come together. Latest word was that heavy internal bleeding prevented doctors from operating until they could find the leak. Word made it's way around and by the end of the day everyone converged without being asked, to the main landing area, just skydivers and staff, over 60 strong. We formed a circle, took our time to become quite and for the first time I witnessed the entire community here as one beyond each individuals personal stuff. Using mental imagery, breathing, intention and prayer our community agreed together our thoughts from day to day would be of the strong Paolo as we know him to be. Nearing the end of our circle small euphemisms came from participants narrowly defining our friend. From tears to laughter the mood changed, the energy changed. As a group we have kept that image and his ways of being in our thoughts and daily routines, through our conversation and our actions with each other. Everyday he is here with us. The mood lightens through the possibility of somehow becoming part of the process.
The next day we learned that about the time of our circle doctors located a torn lobe on the kidney and were able to cauterize it, stopping the bleeding, bring blood pressure up and create a new beginning for Paolo. Again, the mood lightened a bit, Paolo was with us in mind and heart as the strong individual we all know him to be. Coincidence or not, we as a group now felt part of the process.
Within the first week more struggles became apparent and we came together again, 46 strong. Sean P Rogan helped lead the next circle. Sean AKA "RockStar" writes his own music and leads the SNE All Star Jug band made up primarily of SNE Staff. He stared the circle off with "We Go Now" on his guitar, a song about Paolo, see the You Tube Link below. Sean then lead the group through breathing exercises to unify the group in mind and body. It was quite amazing. Paolo and Sean always met for early morning Yoga before jumping and it was thought if we were to truly all meet and be with Paolo at once, meditation and stillness might well be the most direct route.
This circle lasted over an hour in three stages, the first, to quite ourselves as individuals, the second to unify in group and the third to unify thought and the power of prayer to Paolo. Again, the strong image of our friend at the forefront. The end allowed everyone the chance to have a say, tell a story and share.
The magic of coming together as a group is apparent. The ability to be together as one allows everyone to see they are not as separate as they might think, that we all share the same attachments and feelings and together find our individual path through this experience we call a life. Powerful. Again, the mood and energy changed.
Paolo's supreme health at 50 as a non smoker, non drinker and active yogi are sighted as his prime means of surviving going through a tree and hitting the ground at well over 60 MPH.
Many who make it to ICU don't last there long. Maybe a couple of days. Paolo has been there almost two weeks, on his back, no food, no water.
In the last few days Paolo is gaining more strength, more awareness and power. Still in ICU he is now being sedated from time to time as he is becoming rambunctious. More and more of the community are able to visit him now and reports are getting better. All good news, but he is not out of the woods yet. He is still n ICU and anyone who has been there, knows what that means.
I share this with you all in hopes that your thoughts, prayers and attention will help spread some healing energy to Paolo, our friend, coworker and community member. All of us here at SNE would be entirely grateful.
The pictures below were taken by Kyle Jervis.
Thanks for reading and God Bless.

Great Falls Balloon Festival Demo

Always be Marketing! Our master marketing machine Foggy was on hand with his top notch team of interns as ground crew for SNE at this years Great Falls Balloon Festival event.
Carp took care of the air portion. Lots of planning including days and days worth of pictures, diagrams with circles and arrows paid off for a successful full Cessna load of jumpers including world renown Jeff Nebelkopf and Tommy Larochelle flying the American flag in face of stiff upper winds.
Over 50,000 spectators packed the area leaving a generous 25 foot wide landing strip for the skydivers. The crowd could be heard under canopy screaming and cheering. A windy day hampered balloon launching efforts this year making SNE's skydiving show the main event for Friday night. It was evident the crowd was hungry for entertainment.
All of us signed autographs and took tons of pictures with local residents for over 20 minutes after landing. I was actually surprised many had never seen skydiving before. The kids went crazy and the adults were all smiles many coming to shake our hands with congratulations and thank yous. After all these years in skydiving, it's easy to forget the impact skydiving has on the general public. People LOVE skydiving.
I've been to many demos and it's always fun. From the pressure of jumping a new site with new obstacles to the tight landing areas and changing conditions, to the cheers and smiles of the crowds, a successful demo is just plain fun.
Skydive New England performs a half dozen skydiving demonstrations in and around New England within their short but BUSY season. By spreading awareness and education about this amazing sport in the community, more and more New Englanders are getting addicted to SKYDIVING every year! We look forward to skydiving with all the new friends we made at the Great Falls Balloon Festival.


Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon FestivalHarry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Great Falls Balloon Festival

Monday, August 23, 2010

SNE RW & FreeFly Scrambles

This last weekend saw both an RW and a FreeFly scrambles by SNE Local Teams T-Minus:01 and Aeris.
Both teams planned a full day of jumping attracting almost 20 jumpers. Brian Touhey of T-Minus:01 and Local Club Jump IN! planned rounds for two way and then took the same people for rounds of three way. Team Aeris organized three rounds of four way with a team member as captain for each team and included video. Aeris also took the time to give a seminar on rigs and canopies to new jumpers. A full day of jumping for SNE fun jumpers.
The scrambles was custom tailored for the newer jumpers this year giving each the chance to test, hone and develop skills during a full day of jumping. Huge props to RYAN SEREWICZ for winning the scramble with the highest score!!! Next in line was Kari jackson and Nikolay Shustov.
Brian organized a big way speed star at the end of the day for thirteen newer RW jumpers that built to a ten-way proving SNE's newer jumpers are learning fast.
Below are some pictures from the weekend! Enjoy, more posted on the Skydive New England's Facebook.
We've got a great crop of jumpers coming up this season. Many have already show signs of leadership and willingness to work within a team environment. It is assumed a few of this years jumper harvest will go on to become well known skydivers.
If you are in the area, come on out to locals Wednesday sponsored by SNE and Club Jump IN! usually picking up later in the day jumpers start in smaller groups, coaching available and end of the day speed stars where everyone is welcome. BBQ that evening by SNE and Club Jump IN!
Thanks to our local teams Aeris and T-Minus:01 for all the hard organizing work that made an ordinary weekend something to remember.
If you want to see more pics and tag your self, check out the Skydive New England Fan Page.

Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN!
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump INHarry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump INHarry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN
Harry Parker, Skydive New England, Club Jump IN

Friday, August 20, 2010

AFF Instructor rating, finally, after all these years

Well, it finally happened. Got my AFF Instructor rating here at Skydive New England, the crew here just wouldn't have it any other way. I went kicking and screaming through the whole process and glad it is over. Best part is I now will be way more involved with the students from start to finish. Check out the Skydive New England Learning Center Fan Page for more info on our student and fun jumper progression and Jump IN! locals club.

Three of us took the course, Jill Herrington, Dave Lake and myself. Jill finished first, I just finished and Dave will be on the starting blocks soon.
The first week Theresa Nadean owner of Keystone Skydive Center out of Pennsylvania, helped all the way through the initial course. She has over 10 years as an evaluator. Mike Hawley, our course director and evaluator with decades in the sport as an instructor and evaluator hung in there for months trying to get us finished up. Weather became a serious factor for most of it, from winds to rain in the beginning really slowed things down. It got to the point that if Mike was coming out we slept in figuring the weather would crap out on us.

let me tell you. Finish the course & you want to go hot ASAP and do your eval jumps. A week goes by or worse two to three and when your evaluator shows back up you feel at square one again. Doing your training and evaluation jumps is some the most focus intensive jumps you will make for a while. Having a student do just about everything to hose you makes me wonder why anyone would ever want to do it. Once it was over I can say that everyone of my students chewed gum, left their shoes untied, never could figure out how to configure a chest strap, left their goggles on the mock up and somehow figure out how to mis-route just about everything. And no matter how well you got them to preform on the ground, they completely de-arched on exit, blew every count, flipped, rolled, back slid, spun on every jump, and never, I mean NEVER, pulled.

My final and passing jump put me on a 20 minute call for my first student all the to cheers, jeers and overall hazing by DZ staff. Lots a fun for sure. That's two cases of beer by the way, one for passing and one for first AFF jump. I must say I was nervous. What was this guy going to do to us? At least I was current. The jump went perfect, the guy was totally heads up all the way to the ride through. Completely spun my noggin though.

I must say, the course is very comprehensive and one is bound to learn a lot. I don't care how long you have been jumping as a coach, you will get a lot out of this course. And gone are the hard core days of showing up and risking it all. This course has changed a lot over the years. By the time you fill out your card and get some practice jumps in the course is now designed to help you along by actually training you to become an instructor. You will know long before your eval jumps whether or not you can do this. After the ground skills are assessed and tested, it's all about your flying and looking after your student.

I must say, everyone here at SNE has been very supportive. Instructors of any type here are the life blood of the skydiving business and everyone here wants to see you do well. I couldn't have asked for more. Mike Hawley thoroughly enjoys instructing, training and working with students. And beyond that, having your friends and coworkers from your home DZ rooting you on, being completely supportive and not giving you the chance to fail, is a real blessing.
Thanks to all for the support. Looking forward to having fun and learning in this new space of skydiving, AFF.
If you are even doing coach jumps now and hesitating on the AFF rating. Get over it. Get out there and do it. You will be glad you did.

Harry Parker
Harry ParkerHarry Parker
Harry Parker

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Rip Cord TV Commercial

Got a lot to write about. Very busy here at SNE! Was thrown an ASAP by director and marketing genius Foggy with a job of getting video shots for a cable TV commercial for our snack shack, The Rip Cord. Did it all in one take, they used most of it. Shot in between tandem video loads and used every opportunity to check off the shot list I was given. Or, I should say the shot list I demanded. The shot list helped tremendously to acquire the footage needed in the shortest amount of time.
I even broke out a reflector for some portions of it. Shooting while working tandem videos meant that everything shot ended up being in the current tandem video for that jump. So, it had to be fun and spontaneous. I used random jumpers exiting before me and everyone was a good sport about it. This is such good practice, working on the fly with the looming tandem video 15 minute call countdown in the background of it all.
Skydiving in general is an ADD'ers paradise but for me SNE rules. There is always something to do, be a part of and a mission to complete. Below is the commercial as it airs on cable TV. Kinda cheesy, but sure to bring a smile to your face!