(This is an on-line version of the hard-copy report sent to Central Region Drop Zone Operators and Safety & Training Advisors.)

Gary Peek - 3201 Highgate Lane - St. Charles, MO - 63301
Home Phone (314) 946-5272 - Email: peek@freefall.com

Regional Director's Report - April 1997

Please post this report on your drop zone's bulletin board.

As most of you know, all USPA members have the opportunity every two years to elect to the USPA Board of Directors a Regional director from their area and up to 8 National Directors. These Board members are responsible for setting the direction our organization takes and for making decisions regarding major issues that affect the skydiving community. Thank you for for electing me in 1996 to the position of USPA's Central Regional Director and allowing me the opportunity to serve you.

This change in leadership represents one of the largest changes in our region in over 20 years. That's right! Former USPA Central Regional Director Bill Hayes worked on your behalf for over 20 years, sometimes visibly, but more often, "behind the scenes", and with little recognition from the skydivers in his area.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Glenn Owsiany from Stanford, Illinois for also running for the office of Central Regional Director. When you see Glenn at various drop zones in the future, please take the time to thank him for giving you a choice in the election. (Many USPA Regional Directors run for their office unopposed.)

About this report:

This report is to help inform USPA members in our region of significant issues and changes in our organization that may affect them, and to reiterate and clarify those issues and changes reported in current USPA publications. I plan to issue these reports shortly USPA Board of Directors meetings take place, and possibly at other times as well, however, this report is way behind that schedule due to the initial preparation involved in beginning this work.

Although I can only send this report to a small percentage of skydivers in our region (which currently numbers around 2400), my intention is to make it available to as many people as I can. I plan to do this by sending it to drop zones, S&TA's, and other skydivers in our region who are in contact with many skydivers or who visit several drop zones. If you want your own copy of a future report, send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I will send you the next available report after I prepare it. Keep sending them and I will keep sending reports.

If you have any questions about our organization or the issues in this report, a good place to start is with the person or organization whose name appears on the mailing address of this report. It is likely that they will have years of experience and familiarity with USPA matters.

The January 1997 Board of Directors Meeting

The first BOD meeting after a bi-yearly election is in Alexandria, Virginia so newly elected directors can vist USPA headquarters. What I found on my visit was an efficient and well run office, although crowded one. Headquarters will be leasing space near headquarters for now, but with skydiving and USPA membership increasing, eventually we will need a new home.

There were 8 new board members (Directors) out of 22 at this meeting, one of the largest changes in a long time, and I think you will soon begin seeing the effects of this change.

USPA's BOD is broken down into committees to do the majority of the work and decision making. When a new Board is elected the following things happen at the first Board meeting: The new Board elects the officers, the President selects committee chairs, and those chairs select/solicit committee members. The full Board often favors the recommendations of the committees, since the committees often do a great deal of work and research between Board meetings.

I was asked to be on the Membership Services committee chaired by Al Goswitz and the Sport Development committee chaired by Bob Rhynearson. The results of the work that we do between now and the BOD meeting in July is what may be acted on at that meeting. If you have questions about the committees on which I serve or the work I am doing you may most definitely contact me.

For more information on the January BOD meeting and USPA's committee's see the article in the March 1997 Parachutist.

Put it in writing...

Most USPA members at some point have wondered how they can make their opinions count and what they can do to influence USPA's programs and decision making process. The answer is simple - get involved. It's just like any form of government, only smaller.

One of the most important things you can do when providing input to USPA concerning its programs is to write a letter to the committee responsible for the program and to send a copy to your Regional Director, (and to National Directors as well). Verbal communication with your Regional Director is good, but letters are much better.

Let's say your Regional Director is at a Board of Director's meeting discussing an issue of importance to you. Which statement would you rather have them say?

A. A lot of people in my region think this is a good/bad idea. Why? Well, I think because...

B. It's obvious that this is a good/bad idea because here are copies of letters from 5 drop zones and 12 individuals in my region. Listen to what they have to say...

You need to write these letters particularly if you from are a small drop zone because the large drop zones do, and USPA will take the direction of those from whom they hear.

Your Regional Director went to the January 1997 BOD meeting without a single letter from a drop zone or individual member concerning the new Enhanced Group Member Program, even though this program has caused more negative responses to USPA than any other program or change that he can remember!

The new Group Member Program

Beginning in February 1997, all USPA Group Members (USPA affiliated drop zones) will be required to renew their group membership under the new program. What's different from the old program for the average skydiver? Maybe not much that you will notice, but there are indeed changes, and ones that you should know about. Your local drop zone operator will be glad to explain these changes to you because they affect most drop zones.

For notices and information you may have missed on the new Group Member Program refer to the articles in the March 1997 Parachutist and the Winter 1996-97 issue of The Professional.

The Basic Instructor Course (BIC)

Beginning in January 1997, all persons wanting to obtain a USPA Jumpmaster rating must first complete a Basic Instructor (BIC) course, designed to show you how to teach skydiving in general regardless of the instructional method being taught. Then, with your Proficiency Card completed, you will be able to to attend a Jumpmaster Certification Course (JCC) where you will be evaluated on your ability to teach in a method specific manner.

For notices and information you may have missed on the Basic Instructor Course (BIC) refer to the articles in the May 1996 Parachutist and the Summer 1996 issue of The Professional.

Get that Rating! With skydiving becoming more visible all the time and with more people skydiving each year, our sport is suffering from a shortage of qualified Jumpmasters, Instructors, and Parachute Riggers in many areas. Now is the time for you to get qualified to participate in this sport not just a skydiver, but as a professional, (whether you make your living in the skydiving industry or not). If you have any questions about how to get started on this endeavor, contact your local S&TA. It is never too early to start working on a rating.

The Professional - The "other" USPA publication

USPA rated Instructors and Jumpmasters get another publication from our organization in addition to Parachutist. The Professional is oriented toward skydiving professionals, yet contains information that all skydivers may be interested in. If you have never seen one you may be able to get a copy from your S&TA or drop zone.

Your Safety and Training Adviser (S&TA)

Do you remember taking your first test for your USPA "A" license? How about that water training for your "B" license? How did you get that 1000 jump certificate on your wall? Well, it was your local S&TA that made all of these things happen. Safety and Training Advisors,who are appointed by their Regional Directors, are your local representation in USPA just as your Regional Director is your regional representation. The person who holds this position has the knowledge and instructional experience to advise you on all aspects of the skydiving you will be doing now and in the future. And they are doing this all as volunteers. Help them out! Prepare for those tests and those awards with the proper attitude and effort. They will still be doing a lot more work than you to help you get where you are going. And when you think to yourself, "Nobody from USPA ever comes to my drop zone.", then think again. They have been there all along, and are waiting to not only help you in your advancement in skydiving, but to listen to your comments and suggestions to pass along to our organization.

How to get things done in USPA:

Although our organization is not terribly bureaucratic or cumbersome in most respects, it may sometimes seem so when you are having difficulty finding an answer to a specific question. If you are a drop zone owner or a veteran skydiver you have already figured out how to get things done that need doing and do not need this guide, but for those of you who are new to some of these things, a little help may be in order. The following is a guide to getting things done in USPA: Where to look, and who to contact (and in what order).

HQ = USPA Headquarters: (703) 836-3495   RD  = Your Regional Director
SIM = Skydivers Information Manual       S&TA = Your drop zone's Safety and Training Adviser
PARA = Parachutist magazine              CD = Jumpmaster/Instructor certication Course Director
PROF = The Professional                  DZ  = Drop zone management
For Member Services:
 - Copies of the Skydivers Information Manual (SIM)                DZ, HQ (USPA Store)
 - Requirements for licenses, ratings, and awards                  SIM
 - Skydiving license applications                                  S&TA
 - Award applications (wings, freefall time, RW & CRW, etc.        S&TA
 - Instructional Rating pre-certification course material          HQ
 - Upcoming instructional certification courses                    PARA
 - Information about USPA programs and changes                     PARA, PROF
 - 10, 15, 20, etc. year USPA membership certificates:             Issued by HQ automatically,
                                                                   if overdue by more than 2
                                                                   months, contact them.
 To Register Complaints:
 - Parachutist magazine delivery problems                          HQ
 - Membership card delivery problems or accuracy                   HQ
 - Ratings cards post-course delivery problems or accuracy         CD, HQ
 - Safety concerns at USPA group member drop zones                 DZ, then S&TA, then RD
When You Have Large Problems:
 - Airport access issues                                           HQ, RD
 - Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues                    HQ, RD
Making Your Suggestions Heard:
 - Concerning USPA programs and policies                           S&TA, RD (in writing),
                                                                   HQ (in writing),
                                                                   BOD committee (in writing).

end of report