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Stopping by to say hello, and thank you.

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I haven't posted or even lurked on these forums for a number of years, but I was inspired to share a quick note today.

My name is Scott Miller. A couple of decades ago I started something called The Canopy School at Skydive DeLand, which became the Freedom of Flight Canopy School. Later, in collaboration with some awesome gentlemen from the PD Factory Team, that canopy school was transformed into Flight-1.

I've been away from the skydiving world for a while, but I still stay in touch with some old skydiving friends and visit DeLand from time to time. I'm always impressed to see what Flight-1 has become thanks to all of the work that Ian, Shannon, and the rest of the crew have done.

Back when I was teaching my canopy courses, students would always fill out a registration form at the start of the day. For all of these years, I've had all of those forms sitting in a couple of boxes in a closet. It always seemed worthwhile to keep them around, but yesterday I decided to run them through a scanner so I can finally get rid of the paper copies.

Looking through all of those forms—almost 3,000 of them, from 8 years worth of canopy courses—brought back a lot of memories and emotions. It's hard to describe what it was like to look back at all of the DZs that I visited and to see some of the peoples' names on the forms. There was one feeling that percolated to the top, though.

Above all else, I felt very, very grateful.

I was, and still am, grateful for everyone who supported me and believed in what I was doing back then.

I'm grateful for all of the jumpers who signed up and attended my courses. I'm grateful to the DZOs who invited me to come teach at their drop zones.

I'm grateful for the local jumpers who did all of the planning, organizing, and coordinating to make the camps happen at their DZs. I'm grateful for the manifestors, managers, and everyone else who made all the moving parts fit together during the courses.

I'm grateful for the pilots who flew extra passes at 5000' even though it's extra work, and who were willing to drop people way the hell upwind when we did the "long spot practice" jump at the end of the day.

I'm grateful to Bob Hallett for supporting this whole project from the very beginning, and throughout.

I'm grateful to all of the Relative Work School, Freedom of Flight School, and Flight-1 coaches with whom I had the honor of working and collaborating.

I'm grateful to John LeBlanc for teaching me most of what I know about how canopies really, actually work.

Gratitude is powerful. Taking a few moments to be grateful for someone or something—to think and feel a deep, genuine sense of gratitude—can bring so much joy into our lives and put things in a very different perspective. If I could go back in time, back to when I was a kid or even when I first started jumping, and pass myself a note, it would say, "be grateful for the people you have in your life and for the time that you have with them."

That's why I'm here today. To share something that I'm very grateful for, and to pass you that note. Be grateful for what you have in your life. Be grateful for the people in your life and for the time that you have with them. Take some time every day to think about what you are grateful for: in skydiving, but also in other parts of your life.

Practice a little gratitude every day, and watch it transform your life.

Thank you for letting me share this with you today.



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It is great to read this post from you Scott.

I took a few of your canopy courses when I started jumping in 2006, maybe one at my home DZ Danielson, and a few at Jumptown. I am grateful I had those opportunities.

You were a great teacher and your passion for the sport and for canopy flight was infections. Everyone leaves a small impact on others as they go through life, and your impact was a positive contribution for many many jumpers.

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Thanks for sharing that with us.

I took a course from Luigi Cani back in the day, and he got his course materials from you, so in a way I got a course from you. I never got a chance to meet, but your name to me is always going to be synonymous with canopy training. 

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Hi Scott -

I also, have moved on to other pursuits and rarely spend time on this site.  Your posting is a breath of fresh air in these trying times.

When you first brought your Flight-1 canopy courses to Elsinore I attended and then you and Jonathan Tagle made me one of the instructors.  I taught Flight-1 canopy courses at Elsinore in 05 and 06 before moving on to instruct at Perris Valley thereafter.  Your program and your instruction were a game-changer for canopy flight instruction.  I felt it at the time, and it is easy to say so now in retrospect.  I saw the learning transition occur repeatedly and in real time with new and older students alike.  Your program was so fundamental, and timely, and changed people's canopy flying skills in the course of a single day.  Even students with thousands of jumps like myself.  As in all good instruction, it took people out of their comfort zone to where real learning takes place.  Especially, the "long spot" jump.  Yes, kudos to you, and the jump pilots and DZOs (and even the instructors) that took the risk.  "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" as they say.

As before with your selfless instruction and words of wisdom, I take your message to heart.

All the best and blue skies,

Robert Marshall   

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