Fly Girls as it's named is a junior team program that feeds athletes into a sustainable pipeline from which the highest-caliber ski jumpers will one day be selected to join the National and Olympic teams. Fly Girls launched on wsjusa.com and the program kicks off this summer with a five-week intensive training camp for rising stars in ski jumping ages 12-16.
"We're so excited to build on the enthusiasm and opportunity from women's ski jumping making its debut in the Olympic Winter Games," said Deedee Corradini, WSJ-USA president. "Fly Girls is the next big step for this important movement."
Alan Alborn, head coach and athletic program manager for WSJ-USA, is leading the Fly Girls program, which has a specific set of objectives including recruitment and retention; hosting the summer Fly Girls Camp; being a resource for youth training guides and coaching best practice tools; providing an avenue for collaboration and exchange of ideas with club coaches; and facilitating young jumpers to be well-rounded off the hill by providing nutrition best practices, and leadership and media training. (Read more at www.wsjusa.com/fly-girls.)
"Fly Girls is the legacy of the pioneering women's Olympic Ski Jumping Team," said Alborn. "It is a bridge between our national club-level programs and the National Team.
The inaugural Fly Girls Camp invitees are: Gabby Armstrong, East Division; Kailey Bickner, Cara Larson, Mollie Immens and Hana Schrock of the Central Division; Samantha Macuga and Sophia Nester of the Intermountain Division; and Logan Sankey of the Rocky Mountain Division.
WSJ-USA aims to raise $60,000 for the Fly Girls program by 2016. This year, the foundation has dedicated $20,000 to kick off Fly Girls and is matching half of the $2,000-per athlete cost of the summer camp.
WSJ-USA's annual gala is July 17 in Park City and will feature Fly Girls and the new "Adopt a Dream Mentor Program" in which a Fly Girl athlete and National Team athlete will be paired up for one year. The donation to support an Adopt a Dream pairing is $2,018 in celebration of the next Olympic Winter Games and comes with special Fly Girls and Visa Team perks. Gala tickets go on sale later this week.
"As National Team members we are excited to see this great athlete development program take flight," said Sarah Hendrickson, 2013 World Champion. "We can't wait to see the next generation of Fly Girls coming up the pipeline."