How does one find CSC?

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You’re standing in front of an open hangar that comfortably fits three Cessna Caravan jump planes, looking out across vast lands of corn and soybean, the skies are big and blue with towering clouds the size of skyscrapers. To your left there’s a quaint RV park with a community garden, to your right a bustling restaurant and a sand volleyball court and you find your foot tapping away to catchy music playing out of the speakers. You’re in Rochelle, Illinois where the population count is barely surpassing 9,000 and you’re thinking to yourself: How did I get here? (Cue The Talking Heads) 

We’ve all found ourselves gazing around Chicagoland Skydiving Center, not sure how this happened, but it doesn’t matter because you’re just glad that it did… Or is this all just my experience? My story starts in the spring of 2021. I was working in California when life switched up the “plan” pretty quickly and suddenly I was back in my hometown in Arizona, wondering where to go next in the world of skydiving. The options were endless! I had already worked in Hawaii and Moab, Utah - what could possibly be next? The mountains of upstate New York? The beaches of Costa Rica? The coast of Oregon? “No, no…” life told me, “a small town in Illinois.” So, with a little bit of confusion in my head, but a lot of adventure in my heart, I packed my Subaru Outback and trekked across the country on an 18-day road trip, with no clue what to expect, never having been further East than Colorado and not knowing a single person once I got to my destination. 

If there’s a way I can describe CSC it’s in this single memory - my Zoom meeting interview with Doug Smith and Chris Rea discussing what it means to be a part of the dropzone and telling my story. Towards the end of an hour-long meeting, which seemed to be with friends rather than strangers, Doug said to me “So, if I may… it seems like you’re wanting a safe place to plant your feet and call home for a while?” and at that moment, Doug knew more about what I was looking for than I did myself. A Home. Now four seasons later, this time with friends and mentors surrounding me, more experience gained than I would have ever imagined and some of the best times of my life, I’m still standing in awe in front of that hangar in the middle of the land of corn, definitely still a little confused but still asking myself the same question, just a little differently this time: How did I get so lucky to get here?

So, I must ask: What brought you to this dropzone? Keep the tradition alive of story-telling in skydiving! It’s really the real reason we’re all here. It all starts with a story. All of us here at CSC want to know yours and how you got here. Whether it’s while you’re packing, waiting to get on a load with your friends or having a beer at the bonfire with new and old faces around. Out of 230 USPA-affiliated dropzones in the country, we think you ended up at a pretty special one.



Haley started her skydiving journey in 2011, when her older brother gifted her first tandem jump shortly after her 18th birthday in Moab, Utah. In 2017, skydiving still wouldn't leave her thoughts, so she moved to Moab to start jumping and it's been the main theme ever since, taking her around the world. Haley is an AFF-I, Videographer and Tandem Instructor at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. Her main focus in skydiving, other than the passion for working in the sport, is freeflying and canopy work. When she's not skydiving, you can find her cooking, petting dogs and spending time outside.