Saturday, November 22, 2014

Skydiving guru to headline forum

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 9/4/2013

Jen Sharp, owner of Skydive Kansas in Osage City, said she hopes her speech at the First Friday Forum will be “unexpected.”

“I plan on being funny and thought-provoking,” she said.

Jen Sharp, owner of Skydive Kansas in Osage City, said she hopes her speech at the First Friday Forum will be “unexpected.”

“I plan on being funny and thought-provoking,” she said.

Sharp is the guest speaker at this month’s forum scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Neosho County Community College, 900 E. Logan St., Ottawa. While she has given speeches at several venues, including the Kansas Capitol building in Topeka, Sharp, who lives in Ottawa, said Friday will be her first time speaking locally.

“I’ve spoken a lot, but never local like this, so I am pretty excited,” she said.

It’s important for communities to have events like Ottawa’s First Friday Forum, Sharp said, to cultivate creativity and have fun.

“We don’t live in a vacuum, so hearing other people’s ideas and mixing it with juxtapositions of other ideas really hands people creativity,” Sharp said. “A lot of focus is put on progress and all that, and sometimes we forget that we succeed when we are having fun.”

Sharp opened Skydive Kansas in October 1995, and it now is the longest running commercial drop zone in Kansas. Skydive Kansas also is recognized nationally for its educational offerings. Aside from being the owner, Sharp is a qualified instructor with credentials including tandem examiner, Federal Aviation Administration master parachute rigger, professional exhibition stadium jumper and is one of just six national examiner directors for the United States Parachute Association.

After weather slowed down her business, Sharp said, Skydive Kansas had a great month in August.

“When the weather is good, we are doing awesome,” Sharp said. “The past month has been fantastic.”

Aside from skydiving, Sharp also enjoys running, writing and teaching drum lessons at Ottawa Music, 120 E. 19th St., Ottawa.

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