TLDR: Skydive Shenandoah is under new ownership and many great updates have been made during the 2023 season and more to come for first time skydivers, student skydivers, and licensed skydivers for next season! In this article we get to know the new DZO, Shauna Finely.
Last year saw many changes around the quaint little drop zone nestled in the beauty of what is Shenandoah. The biggest change: Skydive Shenandoah being under new ownership with new DZO Shauna Finley at the helm. Originally from Connecticut, then having migrated to New Jersey, Finley found skydiving while she was a State Trooper and fell in love withe the sport. Here, we get to know a bit of Shauna and get a sneak peek into what the future holds!
Where did you start jumping?
I made my first tandem jump at Skydive Sussex in NJ and did all my AFF training there as well.
How many jumps & what ratings do you hold?
I have roughly 2500+ jumps. I am a Coach Examiner, AFFI, Master Rigger and a Tandem Instructor (uncurrent). I spent almost 8 years on the Board of Directors as the Eastern Regional Director for USPA.
What is your favorite thing about the sport?
The friendships that come from the most unexpected places. So many different types of people show up at the dz and end up being lifelong friends despite insanely different backgrounds.
Who were you (what did you do) before skydiving?
I was a state trooper, trail runner, geeky quilter and novice knitter.
What was your inspiration of taking over the DZ?
I “grew up” at a dz where the DZO always wanted to make sure people felt valued and that aligned with how I wanted to run my own dz. I wanted my dz to be a “fun jumper” dz with a tandem problem. I also knew that with my limited (10yrs) experience I wanted and needed to surround myself with people that had specialties in running a unique, non conventional business such as a dropzone.
Can you give us a brief recap on this season? What things changed, events happened, what’s stayed the same, what’s improved….
We had a few awesome first jump courses this season and have gained some special friends from the students that attended. I’ve loved watching our instructors grow and step outside their comfort zones to bring our student program to the next level. Although we’ve seen a decrease in tandem students this season, I feel like we’ve seen an increase in the QUALITY of tandem student that come to jump with us. They stay into the evening and get to know us and promote us through word of mouth. It’s been amazing to see this all take place!
What can we look forward to next season?
For tandems / students: I plan on having weekday hours available for both tandems and “student only” days.
For experienced jumpers: I’d love to see more licensed jumpers come through next season. We are currently working on our social calendar for the 2024 season to include a veteran’s charity boogie, SIS Boogie in August and more turbine weekends! I’d also love to see more inter-dz visiting. We had our staff join a neighboring dz last year for a DZ Jersey swap and fun jumps. This season we’re going to host 🙂
We’re excited to have Shauna’s positive force and safety focused energy and the helm and look forward to the adventures ahead!