What makes Flight1 unique among the aviation discovery opportunities available for children and young adults?
“The purpose of other youth programs is to introduce children to aviation,” says Flight1 founder Marcus Strawhorn. “Promoting aviation itself, helping build its future, is the end goal, and it’s a great one. But with Flight1, our mission is to help build self-confidence in children who are afflicted with, or affected by, serious illness. Aviation is simply the means we use to accomplish that goal.”
A few years ago, Marcus reached a defining moment in his life. One thing that helped him cope was the confidence he gained as a teen when his father taught him to fly. From there came his inspiration: a program that would use aviation to build that same confidence in kids facing circumstances we all wish no child ever had to endure.
Flight1 volunteers would focus on the children through one-to-one interaction and provide
ongoing support through year-round activities like flights, air shows, and simulator sessions. The children, called Courageous Fliers, would not only experience the joy and wonder of flight first-hand, they would gain immeasurable self-confidence by actually taking control of an aircraft or simulator under a flight instructor’s guidance.
Of course, one question remained: would this creative approach work? So far, so good, as illustrated by what one Courageous Flier’s mother recently wrote:
I just wanted to take a moment to say a BIG ‘Thank You’!!! What a difference you all made for not just my children… but for myself. I had heard about Flight1 and what they offer to families; after looking further into it we made plans for a flight. What a time it was…the flight was AMAZING and my daughter still talks about it.
We also were able to go to the flight simulator and that was another GREAT adventure that they both talk about to EVERYONE. As you can imagine, their complete happiness and enjoyment in life is at the center of my life. Through Flight1 you have helped me add a smile & some joy to their life and I am grateful for that!
Thanks again for caring and showing it through Flight1… it DEFINITELY makes a difference!
As for the kids, their smiles tell the story better than words ever could.
– Russell Goutierez
Photos: Steven Fleenor