Skydiving for charity
A Brief Guide to Skydiving for Charity
Have you been roped into skydiving because your employer or friends are trying to raise money for a good cause? If so, you might be feeling quite apprehensive – not because you don’t want to help out a charity, but because someone had to go and pick such an extreme way to raise that money!
While skydiving definitely is one of the more extreme ways to raise funds for a good cause, that’s why it usually works so well. People love to see others being taken out of their comfort zone, and are willing to pay to simply be a spectator for it.
To bring you up to speed, let’s quickly go over some of the finer points of skydiving for charity.
Sky Dive Costs
Even though you’re doing this for charity, you’re probably still concerned about how much it will actually cost you. Relax, most jumps end up being completely free for those jumping, and the Drop Zones work with the charities to negotiate a deal.
There are usually set tariffs for each kind of jump, and all you need to do is raise enough money per jump, and you should be able to get your first (or hundredth!) jump for free. If you don’t end up raising enough money for your jump, and are still set on actually jumping out of a moving plane, you could always consider just donating the difference yourself. It will go to a good cause, and you’ll still get your jump at a huge discount off the normal rates.
Preparing Mentally for the Jump
This is the biggest concern for most people – since you’re doing it for charity, skydiving is likely not your idea. Unlike people who are interested in pursuing skydiving on their own, you may need a little extra confidence before strapping up and boarding a perfectly good plane that you know you’ll eventually have to jump out of.
If you’re even the slightest bit scared, then 99% of the time you’ll be taking part in a tandem jump. With a tandem jump, you’ll have a certified JumpMaster literally strapped to your back and in control of absolutely everything. A JumpMaster has done a minimum of 500 jumps, although that number is more likely in the thousands.
With a professional guiding everything from the deployment of the parachute, to the steering of both of you until you get your feet back on solid ground, there is very little chance for something to go wrong.
Just in case you’re still worried though, you’ll still be undergoing a brief training session before boarding the plane. This will cover everything from proper use of your equipment to what you should do in the event of an emergency, like if your JumpMaster loses consciousness on the way down (extremely rare and virtually unheard of).
The Safety of Skydiving
It’s hard to think of skydiving for the first time and not be concerned about your safety. People stay inside of perfectly functioning planes for a reason, right?
In all actuality, skydiving is a very safe sport. In fact, one of the common quotes in the skydiving community, is that “you’re more likely to die walking across a Wal-Mart parking lot than while skydiving”. Don’t believe it? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Annually, there are about 30 deaths per year due to skydiving accidents. This number might seem high, but take a second to consider that’s out of about 2 million jumps annually. 30 deaths out of 2 million is extremely low risk.
If that still doesn’t do anything to calm your nerves, you should also know that almost none of these deaths come from tandem jumps with a JumpMaster, and are from solo jumpers. Even then, approximately 5 out of 6 of these deaths are from experienced jumpers who try risky maneuvers that they either aren’t ready for, or are not suited for that day’s weather.
In reality, you are much more likely to have an accident on the way to the drop zone, than to run into any kind of problem jumping out of a plane. So, if it worries you that much, just stay home!
Physically Preparing for Skydiving
There is not much you can do to physically prepare, in terms of exercise to get yourself ready. The only exception, is that there is a weight restriction imposed on jumpers, so if you are very overweight, then you should check with the Drop Zone to see if you meet their requirements.
Other than that, just make sure you show up in loose, comfortable clothes. The harness you will be wearing will be kind of uncomfortable at first (think of a rock climbing harness), so you want to minimize that with comfortable clothes.
Also, you will need to wear tight, fully enclosed shoes. Flip-flops, sandals, open-toed shoes or shoes than don’t lace up tightly will not be permitted. You will be flying through the air at about 120 mph and the last thing you want is for your footwear to come unattached from the rest of you. Not only will your feet get cold, but it will be hazardous to other jumpers and people waiting on the ground.
Remember Why You’re Skydiving in the First Place
Many people go through the training session, gear up, get in the plane, get attached to their JumpMaster and back out seconds before their jump. While we can’t necessarily blame them, since skydiving is a scary thing, the money you raised might not end up going to your charity if you don’t actually jump.
Also keep in mind, almost everyone is scared witless the first time they are about to jump out of a moving plane.
Those that actually do though, see their fears vanish in those first few seconds of free fall and enjoy the experience immensely.
If you back out, you might just regret the experience for the rest of your life, and there is nothing wrong with using charity as a motivator for getting you to actually do it.