Published: June 16, 2019
Midwest Freefall is happy to announce Julie Kleinwort will be organizing RW during our annual Sisters In Skydiving Boogie to benefit the YWCA of Greater Flint, Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14th. Each year we use this event to not only help inspire female skydivers, but also offer an educational experience to build their abilities, confidence and skills with special guest organizers and mentors.Julie loves bright and shiny things are her favorite, so you usually can't miss in a crowd. She enjoys creating fun, challenging, and safe belly formations for any skill level, but also loves to play in the sky with Barbies (who needs their PMS number?), hula hoops, and Mr. Potato Heads. Throughout the year, you can find Julie organizing at different events, involved in an array of record jumps, or competing in multiple disciplines. She's excited to make her first (yeah, yeah...beer) jump in Michigan and can't wait to meet and jump with as many Sisters as she can!Julie is also supported by Cookie, Hypoxic, L&B, PD, and UPT.We recently had a chance to talk with Julie about some of her expereinces in the sport. We hope that you will find her interview inspirational.
- How many skydives do you have?
I currently have 1,268 jumps (yes I still log them all).
- How long have you been in the sport?
This is my 8th year in the sport.
- When did you first decide you'd like to try skydiving and what was you first experience like?
My last two years of college, I lived with 7 other girls in the campus apartments. Sounds awful, right? Not at all!! We were such a hodge podge of a group, each with our own interests and passions, yet we all got along great! Just like our crazy, awesome skydiving community. Anyway, back to the question at hand. One of my roommates asked if any of us would want to make a tandem skydive our senior year, and being it was something on my bucket list, I said yes! I had a great jump, and told myself I'd make another jump some day...thinking another tandem. Well, that same roommate went on to take AFF and get her license the following summer, and I couldn't help be feel jealous seeing her videos and photos. So I decided to follow suit and get my license the next summer. Since then, we've been best friends and continue to jump together whenever and wherever possible. I'm so thankful for her and for our friendship.
- What was it like working your way through AFF and getting your A license with the USPA?
I had a great experience going through AFF and earning my license. My old home dz (which has since closed down, sadly) was a terrific place for new jumpers. The instructors were helpful, and the experienced jumpers always loved jumping with the newbies. It was rare anyone would jump alone unless they really wanted to.
- What is your favorite discipline and why?
That's a hard one. I like to think I'm "jack of many disciplines, master of none" since I like to dabble in so much. But I will say freestyle has been my passion from the start. I know I have a long way to go with freestyle, but I'm enjoying the journey so far. Heck, Trunk and I entered our first freestyle competition at the 2016 USPA Nationals with zero training jumps and no clue what the rules were. We just wanted to go out there and have fun! :)
A handful. :P To the best of my knowledge, I still hold 12 state records: 5 women's FS, 4 women's FS sequential, 1 regular FS, 1 CRW, and 1 SANS (tehehe). Hmmm...maybe we should aim to set some new women's state records for Michigan at the boogie?!
- How many records and competitions have you participated in? What was the one that stands out the most and why?As for competitions, I've done some 4-way pick-up teams over the years and flew video for a team at a few of the MWSL meets one summer. Then I dedicated the past 2 years to competing on the 4-way FS team Vega XP, where we competed in a couple indoor tunnel comps and outdoor meets, but specifically at USPA Nationals. We earned gold in Intermediate 4-way in 2017, which was huge! And as I already mentioned before, my boyfriend/teammate Trunk and I started competing in freestyle in 2016.
- Who has been your biggest influence/mentor in your skydiving career?
I'm lucky enough to have several! My bestie (the one I told you about earlier), Amanda Kubik, has been by my side from the beginning and continues to encourage me along the way. Chazi Blacksher has always been the best big SISter a girl could ask for. She's a rockstar at everything she does and someone I look up to dearly. And my man, Trunk, constantly proves he's my biggest fan and supports me so much in this sport. The skydiving community as a whole is really amazing. We are surrounded by greatness.
- What are some of the goals/things your working towards in skydiving?
I want to keep progressing in freestyle, and maybe eventually be a podium contender at Nationals. I also want to earn my AFF-I in the next few years. Oh, and I think it'd be super fun to get back into shooting more video, eventually. Man, so much to do!! I better get started... :)
- Why did you decide to become an organizer and what do you enjoy the most about it?
I got offered an organizer position a few years ago, never having done it before. I was terrified and ecstatic all at the same time. I have definitely learned a lot over the years, working at different boogies and events, and think I've come up with my own unique style now. The part I enjoy most is watching jumpers progress and smiling ear to ear after trying something new or succeeding in something they thought they couldn't do. It's very rewarding.
- What's the most inspiring thing you've experienced at a SIS event?
The comradery at SIS events is like no other! I think one of my new favorite things is seeing former "little" SISters becoming "big" SISters, continuing to spread the love and passion of the sisterhood.
- What advice would you give to females who are new to the sport? ?
I think it's important to know your personal limits, and not let others influence you into something you aren't comfortable with. For example, if the weather is a bit sketchy, say the winds are crazy gusty, but you see people still loading the plane, DON'T feel pressured or obligated to continue jumping. There is absolutely no shame in sitting on the ground. The sky isn't going anywhere, and there will be many more days to jump. Look out for yourself, and stay safe!
Julie will be organizing, offering learning opportinuties, and coaching during our 4th Annual Sisters In Skydiving Boogie to help benefit to YWCA of Greater Flint. Each year we use this event to not only help inspire female skydivers, but also to offer an educational experience to help build their abilities, confidence and skills in the sky though Special Female Guest Organizers and Mentors. All of this skydiving awesomeness combined with raising money and awareness for one of our local community organizations, the YWCA of Greater Flint. We hope that you will be able to join us Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14th for what is sure to be an incredible weekend full of smiles, excitement and sisterly love!
Click here to learn more about our 2019 Sisters In Skydiving Event being hosted at Midwest Freefall on Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14th and what other amazing opportunities we will have available that weekend!
You can honestly tell that everyone there was such a passion for the sport and just wants to share the experience with others!
» Paul VanderDonck