Middle schoolers will get a sneak peek into a multi-billion-dollar Kansas industry this June, learning how math and science classes can be put to use in a career.
The new Kansas Aviation Youth Camp will teach kids about flight planning, aviation weather, weight and balance of planes, careers in aviation, airport traffic patterns and communications. The camp, which will be held at Lawrence Municipal Airport, will run from 8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. June 4.
Rick Bryant, organizer of the camp, said it was designed as a half-day session to whet the appetites of young students.
“It will show them when they get into math and science curriculums, how they can apply in real life,” Bryant said. “There’s a whole gamut of aviation career possibilities.”
Bryant saw a similar camp being offered in Iowa, and with Kansas’ rich aviation background, he said he thought it would be a good idea to bring the opportunity to Lawrence. He also saw an opportunity for the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education, a partner in the camp. The organization has seen dwindling membership, and wanted an outreach program for kids.
“It introduces students who don’t necessarily have the opportunity to go to the airport,” he said. “This is the right age group to start planting seeds for the future.”
The camp will split a maximum of 32 12- to 15-year-olds into four groups. They will rotate through four sessions in Kansas University’s Aerospace Engineering hangar: flight planning and aviation weather; plane anatomy 101 and weight balance; careers in aviation; and traffic patterns and communications. Professional pilots will be on hand to teach most of the sessions, and local meteorologist Matt Elwell will teach the weather session.
Duane Peterson, special events supervisor for Lawrence Parks and Recreation, said the camp was a new type of activity for that age group.
“This is the age group that we’ve always struggled trying to find something interesting,” he said. “I think this fits right in there. I think we have something that’s very interesting.”
If the camp succeeds, Bryant hopes to pass it along to other Kansas airports, and Peterson hopes it will continue in Lawrence.
“Hopefully we can provide more educational camps such as this for this age group,” Peterson said.
For registration information, visit www.lprd.org, code 325100A. The camp costs $25 per child. Four scholarships are available, and campers can apply for them by visiting www.lawrenceks.org/lprd/weefolks or at the South Park Recreation Center, 1141 Mass.