Vaughn College and 99s International Club of Women Pilots welcome Girl Scouts

Vaughn College and 99s International Club of Women Pilots welcome Girl Scouts
United Pilot Karen Leckey shows Civil Air Cadet and Girl Scouts an overview of the LaGuardia runway from the Vaughn Tower.
Photo by Jeff Yapalater

Leaders of Girl Scout troops from the Bronx held Girl Scout Aviation Day with the support of the Greater NY Chapter of Ninety-Nines (99ers) at Vaughn College of Aviation and Technology.

According to Troop leader Tarin Rivera, “We wanted to give our ninth grade girls the opportunity to experience things there are not normally exposed to at home or school.”

This was clearly the goal as sixteen young women had the chance to be introduced to many facets of aviation by interactions with aviation professionals in leaning about weather, navigation and pre-flight protocols in hands-on learning modules.

They also climbed up to the unique Vaughn Air Traffic Control Training Tower where United pilot Karen Leckey pointed out the LaGuardia runway with a detailed description of airport airline procedures.

Girls lined up to test their skills in one of the Vaughn flight simulators. From the looks on their faces, the scouts thoroughly enjoyed the virtual reality of being behind the controls, taking off, flying and landing.

Vaughn graduate and Republic Air pilot Margarita Cholakova guided many through the process and shared their enthusiasm during the simulator learning module time.

According to Rivera who organized the event, “This is one of many trips we take to help expose girls to different potential career paths. We want to break stereotypes for all our scouts from across cultural and economic backgrounds.

After the troops had finished the tour of Vaughn and completed their training modules they gathered together for a pizza lunch, but not before the special award presentation by Lt. Col. Civil Air Patrol Jacqui Sturgess. She awarded each of the scouts with a certificate of completion, a 99ers patch, along with a backpack and keychain from Vaughn.

Excited troopers filled the room with their uniforms adorned with dozens of badges signifying their completion of learning in Aviation and others in each special category of knowledge and interest.

The Girl Scouts have many formal badges of achievement but not one for Aviation. These sixteen girls have completed the five steps for qualification for such a badge. Rivera said that the Girl Scouts are working on an Aviation badge and she hopes to be able to present these badges to eligible scouts later in the year at an event at the Cradle of Aviation.

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