Love for Leapfest

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Love for Leapfest Providence Moms BlogI wasn’t sure what to expect from Leapfest in all honesty. To quote their website, “Leapfest is the largest, longest standing, international static line parachute training event and competition.” So, it is a day of watching people jump out of helicopters and parachute to the ground…in West Kingston, RI. Okay, that sounds cool. And it’s close to home. I am happy to report that it was an AWESOME family adventure! Here’s why I now love Leapfest:

Approaching West Kingston, we could hear and see the CH-47 Chinook helicopters flying their loop and parachute teams jumping out of them. The kids were so excited and, admittedly, so were my husband and I. We were going to see that all day, up close! 

We parked and walked around the West Kingston Elementary School to get to the event. The parking lot opened to a school playground on our right, heavily utilized by kids who needed a break from the Chinooks, booths selling t-shirts and a decent crowd camped out on the side of a field watching people skillfully fall from the sky. For an international military competition, it was pretty low key. 

Teams came from all over to compete, most notably from Botswana, South Africa, Germany, the U.K., and Canada, among many others. Impromptu geography lessons were crafted for my kids. Everyone came to show their skill of jumping out of a helicopter and landing on (or missing and running to) an “X” in the middle of a field. This is an immensely difficult task, especially given the wind. Every two minutes or so, we’d hear and see a Chinook, then we’d see four parachutes pulled open by a static line. It was literally exactly the same every time, though the repetition never diminished the awe of the act. In fact, it made us continuously stop in our tracks.

Love for Leapfest Providence Moms Blog

My husband knew some people at the event, including some of the jumpers. This made the event even more special for the kids. My son got to try on a jumper’s helmet, which he loved. And my daughter received her first challenge coin. Every jumper receives a Leapfest coin and this particular jumper offered his to my 1.5-year-old baby girl. It’s truly an honor!  

Even if we didn’t know anyone at this event, the community is friendly and supportive. There seemed to be a higher awareness, appreciation, and acceptance in the crowd for (young) kids and families. And there are so many kids (and many ways to keep them busy)! It was a near-perfect, family-friendly environment.

Enough cannot be said for the appreciation of military service, the skill required to be an Airborne Soldier, and the global camaraderie this one day offered our family. Ample opportunity for observation and education for the entire family. And it was immensely fun. If you haven’t gone, you should! And oh, by the way, it’s free. Hope to see you at Leapfest 2018!

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Kim Votruba-Matook is the proud mother of a three-year-old son and a fifteen-month-old daughter, wife to her high school sweetheart, a professional holding down a full time job in the nonprofit sector, AND an entrepreneur as founder of The Artful Educator. Kim's primary motivation for everything she does stems from the belief that there is always a way she can help make someone’s life better. She was raised within a close-knit, quirky, huge, creative family (and then married someone who has an even larger family!) that is now and will always be an integral part of her life. Her world revolves around traveling within Southern MA and Northern RI to say "hi!" to them all. When not working on her business, Kim loves researching and borrowing books, ranging from graphic novels to fiction to biographies, from her local library to read with her kids. She loves chai lattes with almond milk, tea, and baking any carb-tastic treat. Her all-time favorite recipe is her Gram’s baked macaroni and cheese, which she could easily eat every day. Her exercise routine is chasing, picking up and carrying her kids across driveways and parking lots and up and down stairs so she isn't late to family events or church. She seeks out new, local diners for monthly Saturday brunch with friends and restaurants that make amazing burgers and/or macaroni and cheese entrees for date nights. Also, she really likes mac and cheese…in case that wasn’t clear. She loves Motown dance parties with her kids, watching movies with her husband, checking out local craft fairs, embarking on her own craft/sewing projects, and empowering her kids to make their own art. And sometimes she manages to get some sleep.