February 9, 2013
Just as there is never a thirteenth floor in a hotel or most high-rise buildings, the same is true for Operation Freefall 2013. I regret to inform everyone that Operation Freefall: The Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault® will not take place in 2013. The difficult decision to cancel the event this year was done to ensure Operation Freefall's future. I understand how important Operation Freefall is to many of you. It's not just about raising money or awareness of sexual violence. For the multitude of survivors who participate each year (and yes, there are many who have jumped every year beginning with the very first Freefall in 2001) it's about reclaiming lives and celebrating survivorship.
There are two main reasons for the decision to skip Operation Freefall 2013. First, two years ago I was presented with an opportunity that only comes along once-in-a-lifetime. It came at a time in my life when I was ready, and able, to take on a new challenge and adventure. In May of 2011 I became the first-ever Victim Advocate for the Peace Corps, a position I accepted because of the positive impact it would have on not only the Volunteers who selflessly serve in developing countries but also how it could potentially influence violence against women globally.
When I accepted the position I had every intention of continuing my work with Speaking Out About Rape, Inc® (SOAR®), including Operation Freefall. In fact, SOAR has continued to provide presentations to raise awareness of sexual assault, interviews with various media outlets for news stories and articles about sexual violence, and interacting with survivors on their path to healing and recovery. However, Operation Freefall requires, and deserves, a much greater time commitment than what I am currently capable of providing.
Operation Freefall has always had the potential to be the premier event for National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. However, due to the incredible amount of work required to maintain just the minimum participation it has become stuck in a cycle, which has prevented it from growing and expanding. That is the second reason for the cancellation of Operation Freefall 2013. To take The Two-Mile High Stand Against Sexual Assault to the next level there needs to be time to reorganize.
This year will focus on identifying volunteers to form the Operation Freefall Ground Crew, which will be responsible for organizing the event each year. In the coming months information will be posted on the website on how to become a member of the Ground Crew. Until then, I want to thank everyone who has participated in the past twelve years from the jumpers to the donors, the Drop Zones to the tandem instructors and videographers. Without each and every one of you the event would never have been able to raise over $1.6 million for rape crisis programs across the United States. I'll see you SOARing the skies on April 26, 2014!
Legal Notice reminder to all local hosts and drop zones: For a period of three (3) years following the completion of the Local Host's and Drop Zone's participation in Operation Freefall 2012, the Local Host and Drop Zone covenants and agrees that it shall not in any way organize, host, sponsor, promote or participate in a fundraising or awareness raising program which involves skydiving or any other extreme sport, it being understood that this covenant forms a material part of the consideration to SOAR for consenting to the Local Host's and Drop Zone's participation in Operation Freefall. In the event of any breach of this covenant, SOAR shall be entitled to obtain injunctive relief from a court of competent jurisdiction without the requirement of posting a bond, and lieu thereof, at its election, shall be entitled to receive fifty percent (50%) of the gross proceeds of such event as liquidated damages.
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