“Love at first flight”
Overlooked and misunderstood, manifest still takes care of us while greeting everyone with a smile and positive attitude. Even when we rush to the window for a last minute change, Shay Colby takes in stride, the frantic, ridiculous requests we throw at her and everything else tasked with. On top of us demanding fun jumpers, Shay also takes care of all things tandem, phone calls, messages, paperwork, updating accounts, scheduling, camping requests, and more. When your day is one giant puzzle, look no further than Shay and the rest of manifest to help put everything together so YOU can jump out of a plane with your besties! Just be sure to show your appreciation in the best way you know how!
In 2006, Shay had her first free fall experience in her hometown of Pueblo Colorado. The middle child of three, she’s made a career of the sport. Cutting her teeth just two years after her first tandem, she moved to the East Coast and began working manifest at Skydive Cape Cod. After a season at Skydive Cape Cod, Shay tended to family matters in Colorado for a few years before making her way to Skydive Perris, where she would continue mastering her skills in manifest.
Five years working in manifest at Perris, Shay knew it was time for something new, something different, something more like Skydive Chicago! Two years at Skydive Chicago and Shay feels very much at home as her skills have been recognized as she’s been asked to step up and take on more responsibilities in her day to day. With all of this responsibility, Shay’s character shines when asked what the most rewarding part of her job is: “When I make people happy, because that’s hard to do in manifest.”
Shay’s position carries a lot of responsibility, not only in making sure everyone gets on a load, but also in being the first point of contact for every tandem jumper. Arguably some of the most difficult conversations occur her space, so when asked for her secret recipe in calming new students, she had this to say: “I start out by building a rapport, I gotta get a feel for their personality and then depending on their level of what they like to joke around about as far as I can tell, I just go from that and figure out the way to joke around with them. That tends to lighten everything up, then they are a lot easier to talk to and listen to what I’m saying.” This goes to show that a little empathy and patience goes a long way while introducing new jumpers to our amazing sport, and Shay demonstrates excellence in doing so!
13 years in the sport and 22 tandems later, the stars have finally aligned for Shay to enroll in AFP to earn her license! Now on level eight, she’s feeling more and more confident with each jump and is excited to finally be able to jump out of a plane with her significant other, Baxter! While she’s had her own struggles entering the sport as a jumper, Shay would like everyone to know that even a klutz can be a skydiver!
While not at work, Shay loves to cook, travel and dance! She takes cooking classes, and has remodeled her trailer as a “Kitchen first” home! Her favorite dish to make is Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken, mmm! Her and Baxter have also taken Ballroom dance classes, of which Shay really enjoys the Waltz, and the Salsa! Bitten by the travel bug, Shay’s traveled through Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and a variety of places in the states. This year she hopes to make it to Ireland if overseas travel is allowed. Arizona is also on her travel list after her stop in Colorado before California. Just as most skydivers, she knows her plans may change!
It’s a beautiful thing when a person finds what they love and are able to make a career from such. Shay envisions herself building on her skills both professionally in the office, as well as a skydiver while not working. She enjoys the early season when friends are reuniting, but also has an affinity for the big events of the year where she can really flex her puzzle solving skills!
Big things are happening for Shay in her career, and the sport. How long does she plan on staying in the sport? “I do plan on being in the sport for the rest of my days as long as I’m able to. I plan to be an old bitty out here still working.” Looking forward to next year, she’s excited for all of the events and new friends she’ll make.
While we are all a bit needy at times, Shay’s able to, with pleasure, take care of us and our needs! If you’ve come to realize how much you appreciate how hard our amazing manifest team works for us, feel free to let them know the best way you know how!
Thank you, Shay for everything you do for Skydive Chicago!