LOUISVILLE, KY — In a partnership with UPS, the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals organizes a summer camp every year. Now in it’s 23rd year, the extraordinary camp is a place where young people learn they can do anything.
Could you imagine yourself flying an airplane? Nia Spiller, 17, can do that, easy. Spiller said she finds it easier than driving a car.
“You just have to watch out for more people and you don’t get to appreciate it as much but when you’re in the sky you can look down and just kind of see your city from above,” Spiller said.
The thrill of flying solo, is too magnificent for words according to Spiller.
“Probably the first day of camp, when I was 16, I was really nervous but I pulled myself together and I said, ‘Nia, you’re going to solo no matter what.'”
Spiller had been hooked ever since. Her passion was sparked by the very camp where she is a counselor now. That’s the same camp her father forced her to go to when she was in the sixth grade.
“I didn’t even want to go to the camp at first, my dad made me,” Spiller said. “Once I got in the camp, the first couple of days everything just clicked and that’s when I realized this is something that I actually like to do.”
That’s one of the core values of the camp run by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. Giving confidence to teenagers is priceless, according to one of the camp directors.
“It’s amazing every year you can kind of see kids go from being fearful to confident in the blink of an eye,” said Capt. Houston Mills, director of the UPS flight training program in Louisville.
The camp is also in a sense, an early investment in young pilots like Spiller.
“We’re hoping that they will have an interest in becoming a pilot, there sure is a lot of opportunity here in the next 15 to 20 years,” said Capt. Larry Parker, who founded the camp 23 years go.
Spiller said the more hours she flies, the more in love with the sky she falls.
Many students who stay on the path of aviation head into the military and then work as commercial pilots after their service.