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Recent hiring trends fueled by a growing shortage of qualified pilots and aircraft mechanics serve to increase the pressure on the aviation community to attract young people to the profession. Given the historical reality that the industry is predominantly white and male, this dynamic supports efforts to increase access to underrepresented populations, including women and people of color. This collective instrumental case study sought to contribute insights and outcomes from providing an aviation module during an Out-of-School Time (OST) program in an underserved, primarily African American neighborhood. Thirty-one youth campers and 12 adult camp counselors participated. Thematic analysis and descriptive statistics were conducted to explore data collected via surveys, worksheets, reflections, and observations. The perspectives and attitudes of the youth and counselors who participated in the program were decidedly positive. The results suggested that the campers were connected, engaged, and motivated, even as they seemed at times to be distracted in the program. Games, worksheets, age-appropriate challenges, and one-on-one supervision were effective in supporting lecture and simulator activities. The outcomes recommend the development of aviation programs with activities closely tailored to age-appropriate academic objectives. Additionally, studies to further understand their value may provide insight into the long-term benefits of youth engaged in such programs.
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