Tag Archives: Skydive Arizona

70yo Skydiver, web

Local 70-year-old skydiver places in photo contest

On May 21, Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) announced the selection of 18 winners of its first “Friendly Faces, Friendly Places” international photo contest, supported by the Pfizer Foundation. Out of the 500 photos submitted worldwide, one local photo was announced as a winner. The photo of Surprise resident Sharon Vizzini skydiving at age 70, placed second in the “Older and Active” category. The photo was provided by Sun Health Senior Living and submitted by the Greater Phoenix Age-Friendly Network.

Vizzini is a resident of The Colonnade, part of Sun Health Senior Living. Vizzini was inspired to go skydiving after her daughter went and the two soon went skydiving together, “I didn’t ever think I’d be jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet. However, my daughter did it…By skydiving, she was facing her fears.” Vizzini says it is never too late to spread your wings, “Don’t limit yourself to things that you have done in the past. If a new great adventure comes along, don’t be afraid to do it. I think you will be really surprised at what you can actually accomplish. You are only limited by your own fears.”

Grantmakers in Aging launched the competition to increase an understanding about what makes communities great places to grow up and grow old. John Feather, GIA CEO shared, “Our winning photographs tell meaningful stories of how older adults are vitally connected to the life of their cities, towns, and villages in many different parts of the world.”

Ron Guziak, President and CEO of Sun Health, stated, “On all of our campuses, we are committed to supporting people’s dreams and connections to their communities. Individuals like Mrs. Vizzini embody the sense of adventure that actually fulfills their dreams. At Sun Health, we help people live the life they want.”
Sun Health is partnering with Benevilla, another nonprofit agency located in Surprise, Arizona to establish Northwest Valley Connect, a new membership-based transportation program. The program offers transportation to older adults, information and referral, and mobility management services to triage requests for transportation and coordinate available resources.

Northwest Valley Connect is one of a number of pilot sites supported by the Greater Phoenix Age-Friendly Network. The network is hosted by the Maricopa Association of Governments and supported by a number of partners including Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Grantmakers in Aging, and the Pfizer Foundation. The goal of the network is to better connect older adults to people of all ages.

The winning photographs in the six categories of the competition may be found on the Community AGEnda webpage. Community AGEnda is a national initiative funded by the Pfizer Foundation and administered by Grantmakers in Aging. The Greater Phoenix Age-Friendly Network is one of five sites nationwide participating in the initiative.

Photo: runnr_az, flickr

Skydiving Arizona

Near the end of my first year at Arizona State University, myself and two other friends decided to take a leap into something we’ve never done before.

The chance to jump out of an airplane from 13,000 feet in the airPhoto: Ryan Harvey, Flickr was presented to us, and we weren’t going to turn it down. Getting the three of us on board with the plan was an easy task; we had all been craving a new thrill, and skydiving was high on our list.

In the early morning we gathered together into one car and made our way to Eloy for a visit to Skydive Arizona, a company that provided everything we would need to complete our skydiving adventure.

After about an hour-long drive from Tempe, we arrived at our destination where we wandered the site a bit and watched other skydivers coming in for their landing. Soon we learned the basics of skydiving safety and how our jump would work. Next we put on our harnesses and headed to the plane that would take us up into the sky.

A little car that looked like an elongated golf cart with no roof took us to the plane just as our nerves came into full swing. We hopped off the cart and climbed into the plane that had benches lining the Skydiving, Eloy, Photo: Ryan Harvey, Flickrwalls instead of the rowed commercial airline seating that I was used to. This was definitely the smallest plane I had ever been on.

After a fairly quick take off, we were headed up to our destination of 13,000 feet. Hip hop music played over the speakers as we nervously joked around and took pictures with each other.

Soon it was time to jump out of this plane that I had just started to get used to. I watched the first two people, who were experienced jumpers, flip out of the plane and quickly fall away into the sky. As I inched forward and approached the door, I got my first real glimpse of the wide open sky and a small world down below. In one swift motion the entire world was flipping above and below me, like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was amazing to see and feel such a huge mass of land being thrown around me like it was nothing.Skydivers, Eloy, Arizona, Photo: runnr_az, flickr

After free falling for a short time, I pulled the cord that released the parachute, and while pulling on the handles to steer the parachute into some drastic and very amusing turns, I gently floated back to ground level. I landed smoothly into the grass, quickly followed by my other two friends.

The rest of our day and night was spent in a euphoric state, reveling in what we had just experienced, and eager to do it again.