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Girls in Aviation Day breaks records and inspires youth

Girls in Aviation Day returned to Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie on Sept. 25 for the seventh annual event. Nearly 1,100 attendees participated in interactive activities while learning about aviation, science, engineering and math.

This year, the MAC's display featured a prize wheel and 'paint the plow' activity where children were invited to express their creativity by painting on a blade of a snowplow prepared by the Flying Cloud Field Maintenance team.

In addition, the Field Maintenance team worked hard to clean and prepare a static display of maintenance equipment, which attendees were welcome to explore, and were in attendance for the duration of the event answering questions and ensuring everything ran smoothly.

Anne Katchmark, Abbie Annen and Jessica Lee from the Airport Police Department attended the event and handed out giveaways and helped kids explore the police car brought to display onsite – including having some fun experimenting with the PA system.

Natalie Harris and Adrienne Selbitschka of the Airport Fire Department were also in attendance with a fire truck, equipment display and gear for the youth to try on. The entire team had a line from the start of the event, well past the end.

"It just made me so happy to be able to show so many little ones that they can be whatever they want to be in this world," said Harris. "These (events) are such great things for these young girls and boys to attend and honestly good for our department's morale as well."

Betsy Anderson, Dana Nelson, Kristina Conklin and Rebecca Brown from the MAC helped staff the event. "I am so glad to have the opportunity to be part of an event specifically welcoming the next generation to a more inclusive world of aviation," said Brown. "Beyond representing our organization, this event is such a wonderful culmination of joy I have found within the community of absolutely resilient women in aviation, in so many roles."

The annual event is sponsored by the Stars of the North Chapter of Women in Aviation International (WAI), whose goal is to encourage more girls to pursue careers in aviation, science, technology, engineering, and math.

Girls in Aviation Day at Flying Cloud is among the most well-attended of the 101 similar events held worldwide each year by WAI. Although the event is geared for girls ages 8 to 17, all are welcome.

Girls in Aviation Day is set to return in September of 2022.