Sandra, one of our Ground School instructors had the joy of offering Tsering Skeele, a visitor from Tibet, his very first flight in a small airplane. Tsering has grown up in Nepal, adopted by an American mother, who is an entrepreneur. He will be leaving America soon to spend three years in the Peace Corps working in Senegal. So wonderful to fly and connect with our friends on the ground and in the air. Thank you, Sandra, for your skills in action, and Tsering, for visiting and enriching our world with your presence and fascinating stories!
Recently, Sugar Valley hosted a "Friends" gathering, celebrating CommUnity and the lighting of the "Unity Blaze", led by Black Folks Camp Too (BFCT) founder Earl B. Hunter and friends.
As Earl shared, "The Unity Blaze is the campfire symbol in the middle of our Black Folks Camp Too logo, and it means 'Treat Everyone Everywhere Equally.' Your race, age or gender does not matter. We ALL have something to say!"
There is a lot to the story behind BFCT and you will likely find it very rewarding to take time to explore their website and see more of what, how and why they do what they do.
Here is a little glimpse at what took place that evening.
Enjoy the images and then read on for a few of the comments from folks who took part in the event:
“Looking out at everyone visiting and connecting and with the Unity Blaze – all looked Golden – as in a dream.
Celebration, Joy, Unity, (and S’mores 😉)….”
“This is so beautiful and magical. My heart is so full and beating gratefully!”
“An evening of respectful relations at work on the part of everyone present. So grateful to have met Earl and to be part of what he is doing for inclusiveness and equality.”
We are honored and delighted to extend our wholehearted support to BFCT and to contribute to an emerging sense of joyful togetherness!
“The event was FANTASTIC! I am very grateful and humbled by the genuine LOVE displayed by all.
The invite was key but the welcome was out of sight! I met a ton of folks who gathered for a Night of Unity, and my heart is full because of such!
While driving home, I felt a sense of “togetherness” as I looked in my rear-view mirror to see the awesome hand-crafted Unity Blaze symbol sitting between my children.
Again, thank you to EVERYONE! We are certainly better together!
While we remove generational fear, add knowledge and invite “more” Black folks to camp, and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle with any and everyone. We also promote Unity in the outdoors and beyond!"
We are very grateful to all who joined us and made this experience real on many levels!
by Daniel Lobb, one of the SVA pilots...
My son Luke and I went to Salisbury today to have lunch with the campers at EAA 1083’s ASCEND Camp. 10 years ago, a few of us from SVA helped the 1083 group create the camp and then we basically got out of the way so they could take off!! It is the 10 year anniversary, and Sandra Smith taught a class for campers earlier in the week, and today they were still talking about how much they enjoyed it!
A very nice article came out in the Salisbury Post, highlighting what an amazing opportunity the camp represents. If you agree to a hundred or so advertisements, you can read the article here. https://www.salisburypost.com/2021/06/24/dreams-of-flight-become-reality-at-ascend-summer-camp/
I gave a short talk about how I got into aviation as someone who flies mostly for pleasure, which was a little bit of a different story for them. What was particularly inspiring was seeing all the young people who’ve participated in ASCEND in year’s past and gone on to start some very impressive careers. They had 4 graduates present today, all of whom have pursued their aviation interest, catalyzed by ASCEND. One young man whom I remember meeting about 5 years ago, was struggling to get his pilot’s license then. He’s now a 2,200+ hour pilot flying corporate and loving it! So neat!
Go ASCEND! EAA founder Paul Poberezny has encouraged the "Spirit of Aviation" which the EAA 1083 members continue to express in inspiring and empowering ways. The volunteer spirit is making some remarkable ripples!
Donald Sweeper, a teacher at the Quality Education Academy in Winston-Salem, brought 14 students, 3 chaperones, the principal and the CEO of the school to SVA on 12/6/2019 for an aviation day.
The students rotated through three stations:
The SVA kitchen again worked their magic providing a welcomed hot lunch, and warm and cozy dining room. Susan Garavaglia and Mary Polkey volunteered in the kitchen as their husbands worked with students. Spectrum News, a local news network, sent a reporter out to cover the inspiring activities. A great day for all!
We, volunteers are Sugar Valley Airport, are grateful to have some wonderful neighbors and partners. One of such connections is our friends at Piedmont Soaring Society (PSS), located just about a 10 minute drive from SVA.
Mid October the volunteers of PSS have generously treated SVA volunteers to a beautiful day of soaring fun, genuine camaraderie, delicious picnic food and loads of inspiration. We all had a delightful time, and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to PSS!
PSS is also volunteer run and provides tows and instructional flights to its members, as well as introductory rides to guests and potential new members in their two-seat sailplanes.
Take a look at some photos from our soaring adventure!
And now enjoy this video capturing some of the magical moments.
Many of us know Sandra Smith — the SVA Aviation Ground School instructor, CAP Sugar Valley Composite Squadron and Young Eagle pilot, from among many other roles we may know and recognize her. Recently Sandra was awarded by The Ninety-Nines International an Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship, specifically the Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship for Emergency Maneuver Training. Only one such scholarship is awarded each year to those who apply out of the more than 5,000 members worldwide. The course covers not only “upset recovery,” but also spin training and an introduction to aerobatics, the purpose of which is to enhance piloting skills and safe operations.
Sandra represents a beautiful example of focus, dedication and persistence, and we are proud to know and have her on our team of volunteers who make Sugar Valley such a flourishing place.
Audrey Floyd (Scholarship Chairman of the Kitty Hawk Chapter of The Ninety-Nines) expressed it this way: We all know about Sandra’s service and dedication to the 99s, and she is also very committed to promoting aviation to the community in general. Her hard work and sacrifice has made her extremely deserving of this award. Please join me in congratulating her on this prestigious award!
We are indeed joining in celebration of this meaningful accomplishment. Sandra will be an amazing ambassador for women in aviation and as a representative for The Ninety-Nines. There could not be a more lovely ambassador! Congratulations, Sandra!