AUG. 18, 2011 – Liberty Community Development Corp. teamed with the Airport Commission of Forsyth County, Ibraham Elementary School and N.C. Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics to organize a chapter of a unique summer camp where students were given the opportunity to explore the field of aeronautics.
The Tom Davis Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy, which takes place in seven cities in N.C., exposed campers to the theory of flight, aviation history and careers in aeronautics. Every participant had a chance to fly and land a plane, with the assistance of a professional pilot, during the five-day camp.
James Shaw, Liberty CDC board chairman, first heard about the camp after being appointed by Governor Perdue to the board of directors of the Department of Transportation and immediately knew that he needed to bring the camp to Winston-Salem.
“The camp has really gone over big in Winston-Salem,” said Shaw. “And thanks to the Initiative, the Governor’s office and local government agencies, we were able to work with Landmark Aviation, based in Texas, to secure $1,300 for each camp around the state.”
Liberty CDC is dedicated to revitalizing the Liberty Street corridor in downtown Winston-Salem, primarily through business development and job creation.
A summer camp that exposed students to new career ideas was a natural fit.
“We realize that there is a generation of young people who need to be made aware that there are opportunities outside of basketball and football,” said Shaw. “Liberty CDC worked to bring the ACE camp to Winston-Salem to ensure that [students], particularly those who otherwise wouldn’t know anything about the aviation industry, are exposed to everything from being a baggage handler to being a pilot.”
Through the partners involved in the summer camp, Liberty CDC was able to provide valuable exposure to aeronautics professionals, including NASA workers and a Tuskegee airman, and provide hands-on experience in real-world applications, including radio-controlled aircraft, aircraft construction and the design and launching of rockets.
The camp was in its second year in Winston-Salem. Shaw reported that two participants from the first year are going into careers in aviation as a result of their experiences in the camp.