Aviation Summer Camp – Thunder Bay, ON
For ten years, ending 2014, with our partners Wasaya Airways and Confederation College, youth aged 12 to 16 years of age were brought down to Thunder Bay for a week of learning the principals of aviation & the aviation industry. More importantly, the youth brought down were from the ownership communities of Wasaya Airlines, so the goal from their perspective was to get these kids interested in joining Wasaya when they were finished appropriate training. The Aviation Centre of Excellence (ACE) is the aviation education facility for Confederation College, and their mandate is to support North West Ontario communities, plus there were potential students here as well.
Across all segments of society, youth who are predisposed to dropping-put of school, go through the process from grade 6 through grade 9. In Canada, the Aboriginal sub-section of society tends graduates from high school at a rate half that of Canadian society as a whole. To counter this inclination to view education as not necessary, The Aviation Summer Camp, or Pimesaywii Apitamahkaywin in Ojibway, presented these children with reasons to stay in school. This program introduced the youth from the First Nations fly-in communities to real career options without having to move far from home. It also showed them the need to graduate from High School and make it to post-secondary education, plus make the right decisions when choosing courses in secondary school. The proposition was, if you stay in school, there is ACE to train you in the aviation industry, there is Wasaya Airways to employ you from apprentice to full license, and there is a skilled aviation career with good pay.