This week was exciting, busy, and often overwhelming! That?s how I?d describe the last few weeks! It was with great joy that we were able to award the flyGIRL/Sporty?s $4,000 flight training scholarship to Laura Galvez. She is well-deserving of the financial assistance. When I say ?we,? it should be stated that Sporty?s generously offered matching funds for the scholarship but they trust my judgment in selecting the final recipient. They?ve probably figured out that it?s best to keep me out of their executive offices because there?s always an idea that I?m pitching to them!! Haha (sort of?)!
There were hundreds of people sending me their ?votes? on the applicants. It was very exciting to witness everyone getting involved and taking an interest. Most people in aviation know the dedication and persistence (AND $$$) that goes into pilot training. That?s why it?s my belief so many are willing, and eager, to offer their assistance. This was an anxiety-ridden decision for me. I know what a financial burden aviation can be. It?s often difficult for anyone to justify the costs involved.
Once I?d narrowed down the pool to seven women, we arranged video conference calls to virtually ?meet? and have more in-depth conversations via Skype. Each woman has a great personality and many favorable attributes. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with them one-on-one. Although, it makes the decision more difficult in the end. Once we?ve met ?virtually? they become more than just pieces of paper. They each have varied backgrounds, different levels of experience, and completely different paths and end goals.
It?s obvious to me that all of them will ultimately be able to make their dreams in aviation, a reality. They are each hard-working, focused, passionate pilots, and pilots-to-be. They have made personal sacrifices in order for them to be where they are today in their current flight training stage. Not one of them is an easily deterred individual.
IT WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE AVIATION COMMUNITY!
After the excitement settled down, (that was sometime around 2 am Saturday morning, for me) my mind began to think about how grateful I am for the support of the aviation community. Women in Aviation International, flyGIRL, and Sporty?s are the facilitators of the scholarship, but the camaraderie of the aviation community is what makes it possible.
It?s not only the purchase of flyGIRL products that fund the scholarships, but it?s also the year-round fundraising. We had great support during last year?s #FUNDAFLYGIRL and the #OSH19 poster project was a huge success as well. Keep buying the products and harass your friends and family to buy them too! 🙂 Side note: There are now exclusive flyGIRL products available on the flyGIRL website! You cannot purchase these items from Sporty?s Pilot Shop. Proceeds will still be used to fund flight training scholarships.
However, it?s not all about the money. Much of what drives these future aviators is the desire to be involved with this community. It?s a compassionate, charismatic, friendly group that?s always willing to lend a hand with advice, extra training assistance, and encouragement. It almost feels like a big secret sometimes to me. I think to myself what a goldmine this is. If everyone knew our ?secret,? we really wouldn?t have a pilot shortage at all. We?d have an abundance. It?s easy to understand how after someone takes a flight lesson, they can get sucked into the powerful vacuum of aviation that cannot be shaken!
Also helpful to the mission of flyGIRL are social media likes, shares, follows, newsletter, and YouTube subscribers. This type of participation and engagement fuels my fire even more. They push me forward and give me the energy to find more ways to be creative and reach more supporters! You?ve created a monster that can?t enough of sharing the love and motivational messages!
For me, it can be described similarly to an addiction. Thankfully, I?ve never personally had a problem with any chemical dependency. However, this chosen path is taken by few and definitely has some addictive qualities! Once you?re ?IN,? it?s hard to get enough. I haven?t been flying in three weeks and it feels like I?m experiencing withdrawals! I can easily come unglued this time of year in Ohio. The winds are too strong, the clouds are too low, freezing temp levels are ridiculous, and the prog charts seem hell-bent in forecasting dismal conditions at least every other day (or for weeks at a time). Of course, the more opportune flying days don?t seem to align with my availability. Someone will soon need to throw me into a padded room if I cannot get a ?fix?! If you?re a pilot, living in the midwest, northwest, or northeast, you feel my pain.
Whether my time in the sky is consistent or not, my desire to keep fueling the fire for others persists. I love taking in and cheering for other females who want to fly. Aviation has done so many positive things for me, personally and professionally. Continuing to come up with ways to help and cheer for others consumes my creativity in the most exhilarating ways.
Obviously, there could only be one winner of the scholarship. Based on past scholarship opportunities that I?ve been involved with, my relationship with the other applicants won?t end here. We are kindred spirits who want to come together to help one another!
Thank you again to everyone who has helped make this recent scholarship offering possible! I look forward to working together again soon. 🙂
Stay tuned for more flight training opportunities in the works!