With Spray It Forward now in its second season, it was time we traveled across the county to the Collegiate Nationals being held at Cypress Hills in Houston Texas.
Team SIF Reps, Finnley Fisher, Amanda Ettienne and myself were ready to drive the 1000 miles each way to watch the teams and their skiers who have worked and trained so hard to qualify for Collegiate Nationals.
SIF has slowly but surely been picking up momentum through time as more and more enthusiasts are getting to hear about our program to help collegiate water skiing and grow the sport. I have to say being part of the 2015 Collegiate Nationals gave us an amazing leap forward in awareness and we are really starting to see the benefits of getting newer and better ski equipment out to the teams that are underfunded and left to try and pull a team together to qualify and ski at Nationals.
We have received equipment from skiers all over the country, but I believe we are only just scratching the surface of what is actually out there and just sitting in the garages of water ski enthusiasts around the country. And the world, for that matter!
And even though we have also had international skiers that have heard about this charity and have brought equipment over to the US whilst traveling here for ski school training, our focus is going to initially be here in the US as this is where there is so much product just collecting dust and taking up space in skiers’ garages, which instead could be doing really great things on the water for these college kids just starting out in the sport and having a blast.
After traveling the US in 2010, I realized a great deal of the collegiate network and teams were sharing old, broken, outdated and incorrect sized equipment – sometimes without even realizing it! All they knew is they were having an amazing time traveling, being part of a team and representing their school and colors at tournaments across the country.
It is time for each of us to do something and help these kids get on safer, newer, and better equipment. Girls on girls equipment and guys on guys sized equipment, in order for them to excel in a safer manor whilst improving and achieving their potential on the water.
The normal procedure would be for team to go online to www.sprayitforwards.org and select donated equipment that has been sent to us and checked out for safety and new bindings if need be. Once they are inventoried online, the school can view the inventory and select and request it for their team and school. The program is run on a first come first serve basis and once the product has been officially requested by a school or team representative, then a Ownership and Liability waiver is sent out to that school to be signed for and returned. Once this process has been executed the chosen item will be boxed up and shipped out to the school that has chosen it.
Our goal with traveling to Nationals was to take a large portion of our donated equipment and give those schools an opportunity to see some of the donated equipment first hand and choose an item or two in person and make the paperwork request allowing them to take equipment home with their team.
This of course was a hugely successful way of getting a large quantity of good quality ski equipment into the hands of a great deal of the Division 1 & 2 schools and teams, while still getting the buzz about SIF out there in a quick and positive way, in order to spread the word of what we are trying to accomplish.
The more equipment we can distribute and start to see the results of these skiers and teams improve on product they did not have access to in the past is so awesome to see from the likes of Miami University of Ohio where we have past on quality slalom skis such as a Radar Senate C, Connelly Jump skis back in March of this year and now trick skis and after having a great Regional Championships, they made in to Nationals and placed 4th in Division 2.
The picture below show some amazing donated equipment going out to at least ten more schools across the nation and I am positive we will see huge improvement from these teams as a result of this much needed ski gear.
Thank you all that have donated equipment so far and please spread the work and help up build and keep the equipment flowing in to the hands of these kids and school that have so much talent yet so like equipment to shine on the water on.
It feels go to Spray It Forward.
Jodi Fisher Director of Spray It Forward