Here’s what young minds are saying about Blue Sky Educational Foundation (BSEF) and how its scholarships have impacted their lives and future goals.
“Going to the EAA Advanced Air Academy was one of the most exciting times of my life. Getting exposed to the aviation ‘life’ opened up a new world to me. The quality and caliber of the faculty and even the other students was absolutely incredible. It was truly evident that these people love aviation, and their enthusiasm was infectious.
I have been inspired, and now I am applying to be an EAA member. I am planning on taking ground school this summer to get my pilot’s license soon thereafter. I feel truly lucky to have been given the opportunity to attend the Air Academy as I feel this was a hidden gold mine of fun, opportunity and learning for me. I can’t wait to apply to be a counselor for next year!”
“The experiences I’ve had at the Air Academy over the last two years have been some of the most amazing times in my life. I have received a scholarship from my sponsors twice, and both times were truly a blessing. Out of my two stays at the lodge, my favorite experience would have to be the three days I got to spend at AirVenture 2012. I still can’t believe I got to go to the biggest air show in the world; to say the least it was awesome. I really loved watching the aerobatic acts, and getting to see the best of the best wow us for three days in a row was spectacular.
During the camp, I also enjoyed the workshop because I got to make really cool and functional projects that I still have and use. My time with the instructors was especially meaningful because they all have experience working in the aviation industry, and they shared tons of knowledge and interesting stories.
Outside of the classroom I got to meet a lot of interesting teens from around the world and made some significant friendships. Heading into the camp I was nervous about not really having anyone to talk to, but that was definitely not the case. The counselors helped us get to know each other, and all the students were very nice and easy to be friends with. I’ve been able to keep in touch with quite a number of my old camp mates, and one of the coolest things about these people is that we have built up a group of individuals who share an interest in aviation.
My experience at the Air Academy is one that I’m not likely to forget, and the scholarship I received is an amazing gift that I couldn’t be more grateful for.
“Few summer camps hold the prestige of being the best of their kind, but EAA’s Air Academy has been the premier airplane-oriented camp in the world since its inception (and for a while the only one). This level of excellence is upheld every week throughout the summer as hundreds of kids flock through the tall glass doors to begin their own journeys into aviation.
I was once one of those kids, starting out with an awkward smile for the photo ID and ending with a passion for cloud-surfing. I made new friends and new memories. I found new challenges and conquered them in turn. I was able to attend AirVenture, the greatest celebration of aviation in the world, and then learn about how those 10,000 planes are able to lift off the ground in the first place. I smashed eggs, broke gliders and crammed my brain with random bits of knowledge about the cowling on a biplane and the g’s exerted by a Tucker’s plane.
All of this accumulated into the best single week of my life, made possible by the generosity of my sponsors. There is no way I would have been able to attend without financial assistance. Fast forward a year, and my sponsors again extended a helping hand to make my summer take flight by offering me a position at the Air Academy as an intern. Now I was the one taking pictures of awkwardly smiling kids and watching their expressions of awe as they saw two planes doing barrel rolls in formation.
Being able to teach and mentor this summer at the Air Academy was incredible. It was great to be able to work with groups of individuals from widely different backgrounds who all shared similar dreams of flying. Throughout the summer, I did nearly every job available from teaching the class on gliders to running the challenge course and rock wall.
One of my favorite duties each week was conducting the Beyond-the-Barriers museum tour, which includes taking a group of campers through the EAA museum and showing them all the planes and designs. I learned something new about aviation on every tour. More often than not I learned from the kids themselves as I let them teach me about their favorite part of WWII or the differences between a B-25 and a B-17.
I am now attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute under an Air Force ROTC scholarship, and I will double major in Physics and Aerospace Engineering. These career choices have been more than partly influenced by the past two summers. One day I hope to help children achieve their own goals—whether they are related to flight or not—just as my sponsors have helped me achieve my own.”
“In 2011, I was selected to go to the EAA Air Academy for one week to learn about aircrafts and aviation in the U.S. At the camp I built many objects related to aviation, including a balsa wood wing rib, a clock and a glider. I toured the EAA museum and learned about the way planes have shaped history. I also flew in an ultra light and experienced the feeling of 0 g’s for a brief second. The camp also taught me about how planes work and explained the foundation to getting a pilot’s license. This fun week would not have been possible without the generous scholarship provided by my sponsors.”
“Being accepted and attending the EAA Air Academy was one of the best things I have ever done. I was even sent a certificate congratulating me from the Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico; he had read the press release that EAA provided to me.
Now that I have gone and experienced this outstanding Academy, I could not help but share this with you and hopefully many more kids. I met a group of other teens that became instant friends, and I still keep in touch with them. We worked as teams, ate together, played together and learned to love aviation together. At the Air Academy I had the opportunity to build wooden wing ribs, weld metal, build a spark plug holder from scratch out of sheet metal and even make a clipboard! But the best part of this camp was actually being able to fly a plane. My Instructor and I went up in a Skycatcher 3000 and after reaching a high enough altitude, he handed the controls over to me. It was simply the most amazing thing that I have ever done or experienced.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better we were given access to the AirVenture acrobatics show. We met the best aviators, stunt flyers, speed record setters, parachutists, military pilots and many more talented and accomplished individuals. The flying stunts and daring maneuvers were electrifying.
I would encourage anyone to attend the EAA Air Academy. It doesn’t matter if you are shy or outgoing, boy or girl, you will love it. It was eleven days I will always remember that changed me in a great way. I am incredibly thankful for my grandfather, Richard Nichols, who sparked my interest in aviation after flying for almost 40 years, and to my amazing sponsors, who I could never repay for what they have given to me.”