Forget driver’s education, Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services’ (NCS) Aviation Camp, has teens cleared for takeoff!
The week-long camp, made possible in partnership with Danielle Blunt Craddock of Girls Inspired and Ready to Lead (GIRL) and led by Retired Rear Admiral Arthur Johnson, provided an interactive opportunity for more than a dozen teens from the Bailey’s and Pinn Community Centers to learn the foundational principles of aviation and have the chance to put their skills to the test using flight simulator software and piloting drones.
“Neighborhood and Community Services technology programs are designed to teach participants new skills while engaging them in experiences connected to new and emerging technology,” said Jyll Turner, Technology Program Manager. “Exposing them to new experiences and technologies opens up a world of opportunities to them. There’s no greater teacher and motivator than being able to get ‘hands-on’ exposure to new opportunities – rather than just talking about it – and that is what this year’s Aviation Camp achieved.”
During the week-long camp, teens attended two 45-minute workshops each day and learned the basics of aerodynamics, meteorology, aircraft classifications, take-off and landing procedures, basic communications and air facilities. After learning the basics, the young pilots were able to infuse their own creativity in designing flight patterns (including headings and flight instructions), formations and even skywriting. One young pilot, and a budding artist, designed a heart-shaped flight pattern.
The Aviation Camp, as with all of technology programs offered by NCS at locations throughout the county, provided participants the opportunity to learn valuable skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking through project-based activities. These programs also provide connections to professionals in a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields that can serve as mentors in pursuing their interests.
“It was wonderful to watch as our participants engaged with each other and their instructors throughout the experience,” Turner continued. “Whether their questions centered around the science of flight, career opportunities or educational choices, they engaged their mentors on so many levels and you could see them setting their sights on a bright and achievable future. We can’t thank our partners enough for the wonderful success of this year’s Aviation Camp.”
To learn more about NCS Technology Programs, visit
For more information about programs for children and teens offered by NCS, visit
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