Vt. camp has kids taking to the sky

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 6:01 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The dog days of summer are here and many Vermont kids are figuring out fun things to do during the day, and for about a dozen of them, their plans are high flying.

A convoy of Cessna’s make their way back to BTV from Plattsburgh.

“They have a special mission today to get Chick-Fil-A because they were absolutely determined that they had to get Chick-Fil-A and bring it back here,” said Robin Guillian, director of aviation at Vermont Technical College and director of Aerocamp.

The camp, which is in its seventh year, is a partnership between VTC and the Vermont Flight Academy. A dozen campers are taking flight this year ranging in age from 12 to 16, though the camp accommodates up to 17.

While it’s a great way to spend a hot summer day, it’s about career growth, too. “And we go to all of our community partners to see different types of jobs that you could possibly do in aviation like the Vermont Army Guard, the Air Guard, we go up to the control tower,” Guillian said.

She says they’ve seen a handful of Aerocamp students go on to the professional pilot program at VTC, one of the only ones in the state. With a 100% placement rate for jobs after graduation, the thought is that it will show the possibilities to kids before they pick a career path. “All the studies show that we really need to be reaching out younger and letting people know, not only are these opportunities existing but they’re existing right here in Vermont,” Guillian said.

On this fourth day of camp, flyers like 14-year-old Magnus Nilsson of Shelburne, say they are toying around with careers in aviation. “I’ve been interested in kind of mechanical and vehicles kind of,” said Nilsson, adding that he’s also thinking about becoming a commercial pilot.

Twelve-year-old classmate Sam Rodriguez of Jericho is thinking about joining the Air Guard. “I got a flight lesson for my birthday and I’ve just been taking a couple flight lessons since. And when I heard there was a whole flight camp for flying I was just super excited,” he said.

But these kids say the coolest part of camp was getting in a plane to snag a snack. “I got the grilled chicken club sandwich,” Rodriguez said.

“I got a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. It’s really cool,” added Nilsson.

Aerocamp 2022 wraps up Friday. Guillian says they typically hold it in late July each year with two to three flights going up during the week.

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