This Girl With Wings Really Knows How
to Ramp up the Excitement About Flying!

7:51 PM

By Lynda Meeks, Guest Blogger

Just last week I conducted my most recent iteration of the Girls With Wings presentation to a group of Girl Scouts located here in the Cleveland Area. Being able to interact with the girls is truly the most rewarding part of running GWW. The energy and enthusiasm I receive while talking to the girls reminds me why I’m putting in all of this effort to get out the message of Girls With Wings Inc., which is to use women in aviation as role models to inspire girls to reach their full potential.

I have given my presentation to over a thousand girls. Every group has been different, but it has to be just girls. If you’ve ever worked with kids before you’ll know why. If you get a group of boys and girls together the girls have a tendency to fade off into the background. This group of Girl Scouts did not have that problem. They were loud and, uh, hungry. Remind me to let the adult responsible for the group know they also need to be fed prior to a presentation!
The girls need lots of energy for this hour long, high energy, interactive GWW presentation, which teaches the girls “everything” they need to know to be a pilot, even though they said they’d “never” be able to figure this stuff out. Our goal is to broaden the girls’ horizons, increase their knowledge about their available opportunities, inspire confidence, and to have fun. An educator observing a previous presentation says, “It was a special event for them; motivating and inspiring. Girls probably feel freer to ask questions, be themselves, especially with a topic that’s traditionally male.”
Feedback from teachers, Girl Scout leaders, etc., and the girls is overwhelmingly positive. If you can believe it, the girls want follow-on information and are actually disappointed they didn’t learn more. With our presentation, we sow seeds of curiosity. As Asma writes: “Yes, I do want to learn more stuff about how to fly a plane.” Emily says, “I must do more research.” In the evaluation form we provide to the girls, the first question is Before you came to visit my class, I didn’t know that pilots were __. Overwhelmingly, the blank is filled in with “Girls” or “Women,” and even “Cool.” Because the presentation includes practicing radio calls using the phonetic alphabet Girl Scout Hannah says, “I learned how to talk in ‘plane slang.’”
Girls are also prompted with My advice to other girls my age after hearing me talk about being a pilot: and the majority of the girls say, “You can be anything you want to be.” Often the “can” and “anything” words are underlined many times. For many of the girls you will speak to, they’ve received the support of friends, family and other adults, and know they can be anything they want so this just gives them some more options to pursue. For some girls this is the first time they have really heard and understood this message. The first time you make this presentation to a group of girls who have limited exposure to their opportunities; the looks of understanding and optimism on their faces will blow you away. Says Sage, “What I thought was most interesting was that we got to try something new.”
The girls are asked what they learned from the presentation that they want to share with friends and family and most write they want to go home and share, “That I met a girl pilot and she told me what I need to do to so I can be a pilot.” Additionally, Tori advises, “listen; because she has some great info.”

“I thought she was awesome,” Peyton critiqued after a previous presentation to Mrs Urbancic’s class, especially, says Tia, “when she let us blow up balloons.” This is a statement always heard after the last hands-on demonstration: using a balloon to make your “airplane” fly. The last statement on the form is When I grow up I still want to be a __, but I may fly airplanes just for fun! There are quite a few careers written here, but a truly telling and insightful response from 5th Grader Amanda, “don’t stick with one ‘life goal.’” Girls With Wings wants to have a positive effect on our future, by encouraging girls to have wings no matter what they might dream…
This presentation was no different. At the end of the formal part of the program, with their physical needs met, a group of girls stood around and asked me the questions that were on their mind. The first girl came up to ask me what plane I flew and I was able to show her a brochure for the Citation X. This then led to questions about where I flew to, was I ever scared, what I do if there’s a storm ahead, and such. There’s a picture of the airplane flying across the Grand Canyon, and this is always a wonderful opportunity to be able to talk about the view from my office, and how much I enjoy that my job makes it possible for me to see the world.

If you’ve ever done a career day, you’ve seen a little of this yourself. Girls With Wings wants to continue to spread its message and so has been training representatives around the country that can do our presentation. Additionally, at the Women in Aviation, International, conference this February 25-17th in Orlando, Florida, Girls With Wings is presenting, in conjunction with another nonprofit organization, Youth Aviation Adventure, a seminar on “Attracting Kids to Aviation.” Please visit to learn more about our volunteer organization and stop by the online store, where funds are raised to continue and expand our efforts.

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