BY HARNOOR GILL
Grade 11 student
Christ The King Catholic Secondary
AS an aviation enthusiast, I enjoy attending various airshows and I feel compelled to help restore historic Canadian aircraft. Upon hearing about the Vintage Wings of Canada, I realized I wanted to become a part of the movement and applied for a student membership. As a recent holder of the student membership, I heard about the Second Annual Hadfield Youth Summit that would be taking place at the hangar of the Vintage Wings of Canada in Gatineau. On June 30, it would be an opportunity for youth from across Canada to attend the event and become inspired to pursue their dreams from amazing Canadian leaders. I decided it was a great idea to attend the event as well as learn more about the rich aviation history Canada.
The basic purpose of the summit was to gather youth and meet with Canada’s most accomplished and inspirational aerospace leaders to celebrate not just this great country, but also the men and women who make it that way. As a student member I was able to attend the most important part of the day, which was designed to inspire the youth becoming the leaders of tomorrow. The speakers included the first female commander of the Snowbirds, Maryse Carmichael, former prime minister Jean Chrétien, and the former Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield.
Carmichael introduced herself and welcomed everyone attending the event. It was thrilling to hear her recount how it was growing up as the only girl in her family as all of her siblings were brothers. On top of that, she was also an air cadet who graduated with both glider and power pilot licenses, which shows how her involvement in cadets influenced her life goals of today. As the first female commander of the Snowbirds, Maryse does not consider this as much of a feat but she considers it as a harder concept for men to adapt to. It goes back to how Maryse used her confidence and leadership skills to soar above and beyond the expectations given to her. I loved hearing her inspiring words and it was truly inspiring to see how women have the same capacity as men to accomplish wonders in their lives as well.
The keynote speaker was Chrétien. His speech captivated the youth as he spoke in a casual style with a humorous touch.
Hadfield spoke about how leadership is essentially an art that takes time to be crafted and how it is essentially the way of influencing human behavior. He reflected on how Carmichael, Chretien and himself were not born with the talents of being leaders, but developed them by continuing on to achieving their dreams.
After his speech, Chris was ready to fly a restored F-86 Sabre of the former Golden Hawks.
All in all, I had the time of my life in Gatineau, seeing these restored aircraft, witnessing the flying of the Snowbirds and listening to the inspiring speakers at the event. I cannot thank the Vintage Wings of Canada enough for offering this opportunity to youth to come out and learn more about Canada’s rich aviation history. I hope more youth receive the chance to go to this Youth Summit and hopefully you will learn and appreciate Canada’s past.