The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) voted unanimous approval of an Aviation Venture Crew at Stevens Field, last week.
The move provides official county sponsorship of a program chartered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSoA), Great Southwest Council and the airport. As a Distinguished Eagle Scout and registered member of the BSoA for more than 40 years, airport manager Bill McKown is the charter representative.
The yearlong program teaches 14- to 20-year-olds the ways of general aviation. Through a unique relationship between youth, adult leaders and airport officials, young people pursue particular aviation-related interests, while developing leadership skills and blossoming into amenable and considerate adults. The BSoA charters venture crews all across America.
Local crew members meet Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., in the Technology Suites across Cornerstone Drive from the new Sears store. So far, the crew includes six youth members — four from Pagosa Springs High School and two from Mancos — plus three adult leaders, including two from Pagosa Springs and another from Durango.
Though tonight will mark the crew’s second class session, there is still time (and space) for interested young adults to join. Annual registration is just $10, and the first 10 or 12 weeks are devoted to Private Pilot Ground School. Following successful course completion, students may take a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) written exam in preparation of further flight training.
Locally, according to ground school instructor Anne Kautsky, The Stevens Field Venture Crew will discover and experience many aspects of general aviation.
“Venture Crew members may study flight training, aircraft mechanics, aviation-related weather, air traffic control, the various functions of the FAA, anything,” Kautsky said. “The pilot ground school is just part of it.”
In a recent phone interview, McKown suggested venturing is the finest youth program in our community.
“Venturing’s purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults, he added. “This is a coeducational, young adult group of high school students 14-20 years of age.”
While McKown and Kautsky suggest some ground school students may not continue with additional flight training, many will likely move on to other aviation-related careers. Both encourage 14- to 20-year-olds interested in aviation to join the Stevens Field Venture Crew. They’re also seeking additional adult leaders.
For more information on the crew, aviation, flight training or Stevens Field, contact Bill McKown at 731-3060, or visit a Thursday, 6 p.m. Venture Crew meeting at the Technology Suites across from Sears.