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Soaring as a sport fosters the best in young adults. Adding young pilots to our membership has manifold benefits. The SSA is proud to sponsor and support youth programs and their activities. The material below is also available in Slide Show format for your meetings and outreach presentations.
The SSA has signed partnership agreements with several aviation youth groups, such as the ones displayed below.
- CIVIL AIR PATROL [SSA Partner].
This USAF auxiliary organization caters to aerospace-minded youth ages 12 to 21. During the summer, the joint SSA-CAP glider program runs Flight Academies nationwide with systematic flight training, following 5 free glider orientation rides available year round to all CAP cadets under 18. Since the 1996 signing of the SSA and CAP agreement, CAP cadets represent the largest segment of the SSA's growing Youth membership. With its 10 year anniversary, this Memorandum of Agreement was reaffirmed at the SSA 75th anniversary Convention in Memphis, TN. Experienced glider pilots are desired to mentor CAP cadets in soaring (CAP membership required, but no commitment to other CAP missions). See CIVIL AIR PATROL.
- AVIATION EXPLORING [SSA Partner].
Part of Learning For Life, this career orientation organization encourages the chartering of young adult groups by Soaring Clubs and FBOs. Young men and women can get outdoors service experience and familiarity with aviation, while adding to the ranks of young soaring pilots. See AVIATION EXPLORING
- EAA YOUNG EAGLES [SSA Partner, Historical].
Starting in 1992, this grass-roots flying organization arranged orientation flights for 1 million young people in time for the December 17, 2003 centennial of airplane flight. SSA members who met EAA's easy guidelines added thousands to the total in gliders. EAA membership is now required to enroll Young Eagles. See EAA YOUNG EAGLES
Our own national SSA programs include:
- JUNIOR SOARING TEAM (FAI under-26 World Team)
The Team is chosen every two years by the SSA USA Team Committee in consultation with the SSA Youth Committee. Usually, final selection is made at the SSA Convention preceding the next World Junior Gliding Championships. Items considered include primarily Junior Nationals performance (consists of "any Nationals" but maybe soon pure Junior also), SSA Contest Ranking, total glider hours and type experience, and desire to contribute to the team effort. An absolute minimum requirement is to have flown at least one SSA-sanctioned contest, which in turn requires an FAI Silver distance leg, an FAA private license, and so on. It adds up to a lot of experience at a fast-paced time of life, ages 14 to 25. The Rudy Mozer Junior Champion Trust helps finance attendance for National Junior Champions. Current official details at US Junior Team, history at Junior Team fanpage. Buy a Junior Calendar to help support the 2007 Junior Team to Rieti, Italy!
- US TEAM JUNIOR TRAINING CAMPS
The US Team Committee, with the significant help of past US Team members, Junior and Senior, wants to help build the numbers and skills of Junior pilots (up through age 24). Highly successful camps have been accomplished since 2004, with top mentors, two-seat gliders, seminars, and youth discounts (fees waived for Juniors under 25). Details are at the US Team News pages, or go direct to announcement PDFs:
General US Team Camp page
US Team Camp, Warner Springs, CA, May 7-11 2007
US Team Camp, Harris Hill, NY, Aug 20-25 2007
- JUNIOR MAILING LIST
The US Team Committee is also supporting a development newsletter for Junior pilots (up through age 25). Several mailings have already been sent to known SSA badge leg holders. Other interested youth should sign on at JR. Signups! Volunteers are also sought to staff the US Team Junior Team Development Program.
- PLAIN SOARING CAMPS
Three time Open Class World Champion George Lee (UK) retired to Australia with a ranch airstrip and a Nimbus 4DM. To give back to the sport, he set up training camps for Junior pilots and 2 of his graduates have since become World Champions. As his supply of young Australian pilots ran low, we were delighted to supply Americans at his request. There might be slots yet to come with George, or could we work towards something similar here in the USA? Contact the Youth Committee.
- JUNIOR CONTEST GRANTS
Thanks to generous member contributions to the SSA Eagle Program (Youth Category), SSA is able to offer discounts at SSA sanctioned contests to youth ages 16 to 25. SSA member "Junior" pilots can apply to SSA for matching funds after securing an organizer, sponsor, mentor, or simply personal contribution towards contest entry and/or tow fees or contest workshop tuition. The prime requirement besides basic eligibility (FAA license, SSA/FAI badge legs...) is the participation of an experienced competition mentor on-site. Details can be found at Junior Team fanpage and at SSA Youth Committee.
- KOLSTAD YOUTH CROSS-COUNTRY AWARDS.
A pin and patch, featuring a white glider and cumulus on a blue background, are awarded to soaring pilots who are between the ages of 14 and 24 (inclusive) and who complete a soaring flight of: 100 km (Century I), 200 km (Century II), 300 km (Century III), 500km (Century V), and 1000km (Century X). Send application and documentation for validation to SSA as if for an FAI Badge. Only one pin/patch set is awarded per flight submitted. Young pilots also qualify to apply for the Kolstad Scholarship by earning one of the Century Awards.
- JUNIOR STATE RECORDS.
At the State level, a special SSA record category is available to young pilots. As of January 1, 2006, "Junior" category includes pilots and flight crews whose 25th birthday occurs on or after January 1 in the calendar year during which the record flight is made. In prior years, the age limit had been 21 and many records from the ca 1970 youth boom era are still waiting to be beaten.
- Your SSA YOUTH COMMITTEE oversees a full range of yearly scholarships to support the following goals:
- Recruit. Inform youth at large about soaring and encourage them to join SSA.
- Educate. Develop soaring skill among young SSA members.
- Organize. Make young members feel part of SSA and encourage their activity.
- Recognize. Publicize the achievements of young SSA members.
- CADET (June 30).
$600 for learning to fly gliders. Desire award.
The anchor program, the one that addresses the very first goal, is the Cadet Youth Flight Scholarship for would-be-pilots ages 13 to 22. Preferably, these will not be SSA members nor will they have any substantial experience with soaring. In essence, it is an excuse for Clubs and FBOs to contact local youth and invite them out to the glider field to see what we do. The incentive--to both the kids and the Club/FBO--is a $600 flight credit. Winners visit a glider field to have an application witnessed, make a convincing case for their desire to fly, write a creative essay about soaring, and state their financial need. In 1995, over one hundred kids wrote SSA for info on this program, two dozen thought about soaring long enough to write an essay, and half of those joined us as SSA Youth members. Funding for the Cadet program was initiated by Cadet designer and Hall-of-Famer Dr. Frank Gross, who matched gifts by 60 other SSA donors totaling $20,000 by December 1996. The program is now a permanently funded "welcome" from SSA to the general public. Details, a promotional poster, and a downloadable application form are at Cadet Youth Scholarship.
- BULTMAN (April 30).
$1000 for soaring progress. Service award.
This SSA award is geared to goals 2 and 3 and member retention, for post-solo soaring by SSA members ages 14 to 22. Preferably chasing badges, going to wave camps, entering contests, as opposed to earning FAA ratings. This is a "worker" award for a youngster who has made essential contributions to a Club or FBO and who may be too financially strapped to buy tows just for fun. Jane & Elizabeth Bultman set up this award to honor their late husband and father, Richard, an ex-USAF airline pilot and tow pilot at Bermuda High Soaring School. It serves to remind us of the many friends on the ground we rely on every time we fly. To apply, a sponsoring soaring group needs to send nominating evidence and letters of recommendation to SSA, being sure to document the Club or FBO service of the nominee and their plans to use the funds for soaring. Soaring experience or achievement are not criteria, nor are academics. New funding for this grant would be most welcome as the endowment is shrinking. Details and a downloadable application form are at Bultman Youth Scholarship.
- Karen Greig Soaring Scholarship (January 31st)
Up to $1,000
This scholarship is to encourage women at any age to pursue their dream of flight. Applicants should be either pursuing an add-on private glider rating or may be pursuing their private pilot rating in gliders. Applicants at any stage of glider training may apply.
- Karen Greig Soaring Scholarship (January 31st)
- KOLSTAD (September 30).
$5,000 for College expenses. Achievement award.
SSA's most prestigious youth award, meeting goal number 4, this has been for 40 years and 50 awards the capstone to teenage years spent in pursuit of soaring. It honors the memory of Paul Kolstad, who had earned the FAI Gold Badge with two diamonds by age 15. To be eligible for this grant for academic studies, pilots must be USA Citizen SSA members ages 14 to 24 and have earned the FAI Silver Badge or the SSA Century I youth award. Scholarship winners complete an application form available from the SSA office (and downloadable from the web), including a summary of cross-country flights and education plans, and documentation of their service and character from club members. Thanks to Colorado Soaring Association, Black Forest Soaring Society, and Texas Soaring Association for outstanding support of this award -- frequently, $1,000 got collected at a cook-out or contest. Thanks also to Chris Woods for donating sales income from the new Hilton Cup DVDs! Details and a downloadable application form are at Kolstad Junior Soaring Awards.
- KOLSTAD (September 30).
Several SSA Affiliate and Division Members also run excellent programs designed to encourage young people to discover and progress in the sport, such as:
- SKY GHOST Grant (WSPA, May 15)
$500 for use at any glider operation. Available to a female student pilot under the age of 25 for expenses related to glider instruction toward obtaining a private pilot license in gliders. Applicant must be a member of SSA and the Women Soaring Pilots Association. A completed application form and brief essay are required. Winner will be notified by mail. Moneys will be paid directly to the glider operation. Contact: Phyllis Wells, firstname.lastname@example.org or the WSPA web site, WOMEN SOARING PILOTS ASSOCIATION .
- BRIEGLEB Scholarship (WSPA, May 15)
$500 for use at the Women's Soaring Seminar. This award is given to a female student glider pilot of any age. The money is to be used for flying expenses during the seminar. The applicant must be a member of SSA and the Women Soaring Pilots Association. A completed application form and brief essay are required. Winner will be notified prior to the seminar. The Women's Soaring Seminar is held every summer at a soaring location in the USA. The seminars offer lectures, flight instruction, and checkouts in a variety of gliders as well as a supportive environment for beginning pilots. Contact: Phyllis Wells, email@example.com or the WSPA web site, WOMEN SOARING PILOTS ORGANIZATION.
- WORLD CLASS CONTEST Youth Promotion (WCSA)
Sponsorship may be available to young people for full registration at the World Class Nationals. A perpetual World Class National Youth Champion Trophy, sponsored by Bill & Nancy Snead, is awarded there. For more information, contact Francois or Dottie Pin at Pinf@aol.com. See also WCSA.
- WORLD CLASS CONTEST Youth Promotion (WCSA)
Your gifts are welcome at any time to extend and enlarge these national programs. All the funds will put your tax-deductible contributions to work with youth right away. For programs directly administered by SSA, be sure to note the name of the fund on your letter or check [e.g. Kolstad, Bultman, Cadet, Junior Team, or Eagle/Youth Fund]. 2006 marked the 40th year since the passing of 15-year-old 2-Diamond pilot Paul Kolstad and the 50th award of the college scholarship that anchored our financial support for new generations. Local groups had great fun raising funds in the spirit of the longtime Labor Day chicken barbecue started by Ken Kolstad, who passed himself in June 2007 at age 96 (!). How about your outfit, for your favorite cause, now? (we would suggest the limping Bultman fund by default).
Please contact Tony Condon of the Youth Committee if you could help set up more SSA programs (email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 515-291-0089). We are especially interested in the middle ground between CADET and KOLSTAD, to give younger SSA members a boost in chasing badges, records, contests, and other advanced delights of the sport.
Finally, Numerous SSA Chapters and Commercial Operators run their own soaring camps, youth scholarships, and line-crew work programs. Please contact SSA to add to or correct our current DIRECTORY OF YOUTH CAMPS or DIRECTORY OF YOUTH GRANTS.
The SSA policy on member posting is located here