Carmel Valley resident fueling Girl Scouts’ aviation career dreams

More than 60 local Girl Scouts explored careers in aviation and aerospace during “You Can Be … a Pilot”— a one-day camp hosted by Women in Aviation International-San Diego chapter and Air Group One Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

Event organizer Paris Clement of Carmel Valley — director of community outreach for Women in Aviation International-San Diego — is a former Girl Scout who earned a Gold Award, Girl Scouting’s highest honor. She credits Girl Scouting with helping her develop the self-confidence, determination, perseverance and leadership skills needed to succeed in life.

“My Girl Scouting experiences motivated me to become part of something bigger than myself, which drew me to the aviation community,” Clement said. “To help me recognize and achieve my goals, I sought out mentors from Women in Aviation International, many of whom volunteered at ‘You Can Be … a Pilot.’ Coordinating the camp was an astounding way to give back to the Girl Scout movement and my community before I embark on my journey into the United States Air Force as an officer. The Girl Scouts left the camp realizing that with a little hard work, you truly can become anything you set your mind to be, including a pilot!”

The event was part Girl Scouts San Diego’s “You Can Be … “ series designed to introduce girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. “We’re helping girls connect what they learn in the classroom with real world opportunities — to prepare them for future  leadership positions in the workforce,” said Stephanie Dawes, Girl Scouts San Diego program specialist.

Volunteers and instructors included guest speakers Denise Wilson, CEO of Desert Jet, Betty Koschig, a senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C., and Sandra Knight-Mayes, Airport Planning, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

They were joined by dozens of other high-achieving females from the industry — including military, commercial and air show pilots; air traffic controllers and investigators; flight instructors, aircraft hanger specialists; airframe and propulsion mechanics and UAV engineers.

Activities included opportunities for girls to interact with the professionals and tour vintage aircraft, such as a 1968 Cessna 172, 1949 Cessna 170 and planes used to train WWII pilots, including a 1943 SNJ-5.

Girl Scouts’ next career workshop is “You Can Be … a Marine Biologist,” on Saturday, Nov. 9.

To learn more, visit www.sdgirlscouts.org or call 619-298-8391.

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