Twenty Two Students From Across Long Island Take Part in International Aviation Associations Young Eagles Program
Twenty two kids from Long Island, Bahamas, are going to have quite a story to share during “show n tell” when they return to school after the summer break. These kids ranging in ages between 9 and 17 took part in the Young Eagles Program that was launched in Long Island, Bahamas at the Stella Maris Airport, Friday, June 29th.
The kids were all given airplane rides in five planes that took part in the EAA program as part of the organization’s initiative to get kids between the ages of 8 and 17, involved in flying and in the aviation business.
EAA is an international aviation membership association that boasts more than 170,000 members since its formation in 1953. The Association’s Young Eagles Program in addition to introducing young kids to the world of aviation has other initiatives that include helping to provide scholarships for students who are excelling in school and learning those skills that are needed in the field of aviation.
Long Island students lined up early on Friday morning for an opportunity to take part in the program. The students arrived at the Stella Maris airport from settlements throughout North and Central Long Island as far as Deadman’s Cay. The kids were first given a basic training on airplanes and then waited patiently for a turn to enjoy an airplane ride.
Each of the kids returning to the airport following their flight had a special story to tell. Many of them said that their favorite part was flying over their home and other familiar spots in their neighborhood. Some of the kids bragged about sitting in the cockpit and co-piloting the plane. One of the few female students that flew, Yvoneisha Smith, spoke excitedly about flying over the beautiful, clear Bahamian waters and spotting a stingray.
Nine year old Isaac Smith was the youngest of the students to fly on Friday, he was also the first to be taken up. Isaac now has the distinction of being the First and the Youngest Bahamian to take part in the Young Eagles Program ever.
Bahamas Flying Ambassador Mike “Mike Z” Zidzunias was one of the lead organizers of the program. He said that he wanted to see the program take place because “I really want to share with the children that flying can be not only a means of transport but also a favorite pastime,”
The visiting group of pilots was able to take advantage of The Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board’s $150.00 fuel credit for a two night hotel stay at a member property, and were hosted by Stella Maris Resort. The manager/partner of the Resort, Jill Smith volunteered at the program on Friday, and provided drinks and snacks. Parents in attendance with kids commented that the management of the picturesque North Long Island Resort, “is always helping out in the community.”
Stella Maris has been a fixture in the North Long Island community for decades offering both standard rooms with magnificent ocean views and villas that lead to a beautiful beach. According to Smith, “We feel that it’s our duty to be involved in the community and love to help especially with programs that involve children. Kids are our future and we need to show them that if they work hard there are people out there who will help them to make their dreams come true.”
As the lead organizer of the event, “Mike Z” was happy with the overall success and said that his vision is to see Flying Eagles program on all of the major Islands Of The Bahamas. He also said that the success of the Long Island program will be broadcast at the upcoming EAA AirVenture aviation show. The week long show which takes place next month, July 22nd through 30th, is dubbed the world’s largest aviation celebration with an attendance of more than 500,000 during the weeklong period and 10,000 plus aircraft of every description.
A Florida based general aviation pilot and member of EAA, “Mike Z” said that “publishing information on the success of the program with the children in Long Island will encourage EAA member chapters throughout the country to adopt a program with students on other Bahamian Islands, giving pilots yet another reason to fly to The Bahamas.”
The organizers of the event credited Friday’s success to the participation of volunteers including, the pilots, professional photographers and others providing administrative assistance. Among the pilots, and volunteers taking part in the program from EAA Chapter 1178 were Peter Vanspunsen and Troy Techeau.
Long Island Young Eagles - Nine year old Isaac Fox last Friday became the First and Youngest Bahamian to join the ranks of Young Eagles. The Program is an initiative to get young people between the ages of 8 and 7 excited about flying and the aviation industry and is sponsored by EAA one of America's largest association of pilots. Members of the organisation's Florida Chapter 1178 flew five planes to Long Island, Bahamas and on June 29th treated 22 kids to a basic training on airplanes and then individual flights across the Island. Pictured - young Isaac and coordinator of last week's program, Mike Zidzunias.
Twenty two kids took part in the EAA sponsored Young Eagles program in Long Island, Bahamas, this past weekend. A membership organisation of pilots across America, EAA is some 170,000 members strong. The Young Eagles Program is an initiative to encourage young people to explore all aspects of the aviation industry, from flying to avionics and mechanics. Members of EAA's Florida Chapter 1178, flew five planes to Long Island for the first Bahamas Young Eagles Program and 22 kids and their parents were given a basic training on airplanes and then flights across their Island. Above the group of pilots, parents, volunteers and young eagles at the Stella Maris Airport, Long Island.
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