Manifest (that's what we call the "office" at the dropzone) is the coordinating center of all of the skydiving operations. It's the team on the ground that makes sure all the cogs in the skydiving wheel are oiled up and running smoothly. Today we're giving you a peek behind the scenes of our operation and the life of Team Manifest!
It all starts with the Greeter
You roll into the parking lot, jump out of your car and walk into the check in area feeling like Patrick Swayze at his peak. Most likely you will first run into Lydia, our bubbly greeter, a peppy redhead, and hype-master. If you are a first time jumper, she will be there to hold your hand, calm your nerves, and get you through the check in process and on your way to skydiving! If you are a licensed jumper or a student, make sure to say hello. Lydia spreads nuclear joy with her infectious smile.
After saying hello to Lydia, look at the Manifest window. You will see three lovely ladies getting down to business.
Sara, the Queen of Manifest
Sara, the master of all loads, the tactical genius at the helm making sure all goes well. She is the maker of all things great and terrible. If you're a first time jumper, you won’t see Sara very much, but it's her work behind the scenes that will put you up in the air at the right time, in the right place and in the hands of the right instructor! If you are a fun jumper (it's what we call the licensed skydivers) - treat her well, she literally decides your manifest destiny.
Madi, the Check-in Sorceress
Madi, the self-proclaimed "dork behind the window", the master of waivers, and taker of payments. She’ll get your paperwork processed, make sure you know everything you need to to get ready, and get you excited for your first jump. Her passion for skydiving is so intense that you have no choice but to catch the disease. Also, if she catches you not wearing a seatbelt, you're in trouble forever.
Lauren, the Chaos Tamer
And then there is me, Lauren, the writer of blog words, the maker of weirdness, and the queen of sarcasm - illustrated heavily below. Along with Madi, I’ll help make your experience a time to be remembered. In return, please be my friend. Really, I need friends.
Joe The Bananamaster
For first timers, the last of our manifest team you will meet on your pre-jump journey is Joe: Hangar Master, people wrangler, trainer supreme and the world’s official biggest fan of bananas. Joe, along with the tandem instructors, will take you through the training process. He will call your name, though he apologizes if he butchers it (he does try!); he'll get you all set to get on the plane. His favorite part of the tandem training is the demonstration of the proper freefall body position: "arch like a banana!".
Those are the basics of who we are. But wait, there’s more...
We're all skydivers!
Before we get into the weird stuff, let’s talk about skydiving.
Lydia did her first tandem in the fall of 2017, and knew she needed skydiving to be a part of her life. Her search led her right to Cross Keys, she joined our staff and got right into jumping. She has done her 3 tandems and is working her way through the AFP program to get licensed. Next up, "A" license!
Sara, Queen Bey of manifest world, has worked at Cross Keys for 4 years and has made the same number of tandem jumps. She feels at home behind the window, laying down the law of manifest land, but enjoys getting out to go jump in a tandem with one of her friends.
Madi started her first season in manifest last summer. After finishing her freshman year of college, she was looking for a summer gig, and accidentally found the coolest one she could. Shortly after she was hired, she made her first jump, became hooked and kept on jumping. She got her "A" license last year and hopes to get her "B" this summer!
As for myself, I am the newest lady behind the manifest windows. I started working manifest this past winter and I am super pumped to be back at Cross Keys! I did my first tandem here in the fall of 2012, continued on to get my "A" license and fell in love with the dropzone in the meantime. I was away from this lovely weird place and my skydiving family for a little while but now I am back in full force, both behind the window and in the sky!
Our lives outside of manifest
Lydia loves hiking. Sara has a super cool beagle named Bruce. Madi is a super-nerd who goes to college for pre-med and bio engineering. I do crosswords and math puzzles for fun while constantly rewatching Harry Potter. And Joe has his bananas.
As you can see, we are all very, very cool, multi-dimensional people who live rich, fulfilling and meaningful lives outside of manifest. Cool. Did I mention cool yet? Well, we are.
We're also a little weird!
Lydia thinks octopuses are the cutest animals, but is terrified of squid. Sara’s absolute perfection is just downright bizarre. Madi, like a two-year-old who is just learning about the world, says "but why" to everything. I myself am just amazed that I am a physical human being, and not some freak natural phenomenon like ball lightning, which incidentally sort of resembles my very big hair. And Joe, well, he will never stop talking about bananas.
How to work with us
We all love our jobs. Our weird, funny, and fantastic jobs. But, there are some things that we want you to know to help us help you.
First timers: Don't panic, you’re gonna do great! Let us take care of everything and just know that we've got you. We will make sure you have everything you need to make your first jump!
Fun jumpers, listen up: we love you all, we really do. However, there are a few things we want you guys to know. As calm and collected as we may look, know that at any given time the three of us behind the window are each doing 5-10 different and important tasks simultaneously. Just trust us and be patient. Patient is cool. Bonus points: we will love you even more if you download (and use!) the BurbleMe app. With all of the things we are doing behind the box and on our computer, Burble can run much slower on our end than yours! So please be kind and patient with us, and always remember...
We Are Not Above Bribes. Ever.
We accept bribery in the forms of candy; puppies; after-sunset sanity restoration potions such as beer, wine and whiskey (for those of us who are of age) and bananas - but only for Joe. The rest of us do not want your bananas.
And if you ever ask yourself, Who runs the world?
Just remember: It’s the manifest girls.