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Community , Education

NEPA Girls in Aviation Day

Girl’s Day Camp at Wyoming Valley Airport Aims to Open Up a World of Possibility and Adventure

Molly Van Scoy, Pilot and President of Women in Aviation International – Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter


Women in Aviation International – NEPA Chapter will host a one-day, immersive program on Saturday, September 25.

There are few things in the world of aviation that trouble Molly Van Scoy. The young pilot, Flight Instructor and First Officer at Piedmont Airlines essentially grew up at the Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort. She’s been flying since 13 and completed her first solo flight at 16. Planes, helicopters, tarmacs, hangars, it’s all in her blood. Molly’s family has operated Valley Aviation at the airport since 2006. In her own words, “It’s my family’s passion… all of us – we’ve spent our lives in this awesome little airport.”

This love for flying led Molly to Purdue University where she earned both undergrad and graduate degrees in Aviation and Aerospace Management. From there, it was off to work as a pilot in Tennessee. Soon after she began her career, however, a harsh reality set in. Everywhere she flew – across the country, landing in hundreds of airports – she looked around and saw only sparse handfuls of female aviators. Suddenly, the field she had loved all her life, the passion she had followed, seemed a bit lonelier, and out of balance. And while she’d never dream of doing anything else, Molly knew something had to be done to get more women taking to the skies.

Currently, of the hundreds of thousands employed in the aviation industry, on a national level – commercial, private, transport, etc., only 8.6% are women. At the commercial level — out of over 90,000 airline pilots, less than 5% of them are female. And only 1% of them are Captains, which is even crazier!

Molly Van Scoy, Pilot and President of Women in Aviation International – Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter

Connect. Engage. Inspire.

Future pilot Andie Bilbow (age 6.5/ pink bow) and her co-pilot Jack Baum (6) work together building their very own airport.

Making a difference at home.

Molly moved back home to NEPA about two years ago. As she settled in, she came to realize that, while the reasons for the monumental lack of women in the aviation industry are varied and complex, access to airports was a big one. “First, a lot of people don’t even know that smaller airports like this one actually exist.” She continued, “And certainly very few people are aware that there are opportunities in aviation that they can start young and engage in and make a career out of.” And this, she understood, was a problem that she could reasonably try to fix.

That’s where the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of Women in Aviation International took root. The local group is a sponsored offshoot of the larger, international nonprofit that launched over thirty years ago. At all levels, Women in Aviation International dedicates over 14,000 members to the advancement of women in all fields of the aviation industry.

And every year, on the same day, the organization and its individual chapters throughout the world celebrate Girls in Aviation Day.

Here’s how it all works.

According to Van Scoy, “Individual chapters hosting Girls in Aviation Day events have the freedom to structure their days however they like.” For the 30-member NEPA chapter, that translates to a fully-immersive day camp experience. “The premise is to have young girls learn about aviation, to see that it’s an option, and to make sure they have fun,” Van Scoy said. “And hopefully, they’ll come back and enjoy the airport experience and maybe be inspired to take it a little further.”

The day begins with welcome, registration and orientation at 10:30 a.m. At registration, each girl will receive a swag-filled backpack courtesy of Women in Aviation International, a t-shirt and color-coded bracelets and necklaces. The girls, ages 8-17, will be placed into smaller, color coordinated groups with an assigned group leader.

Andie and Jack run through their pre-flight checklist.

A unique, immersive experience.

From there, it’s into the massive main hangar. Here, groups will take part in hands-on activities spread out over 4 separate sessions. The activities cover a wide range of topics like airport operation, types of aircraft and how different types of aircraft work. Some activities will feature exploration of static aircraft both inside and out of the hangar. In between activities, the whole group will enjoy lunch and an end-of-day celebration featuring cake and photos.

Another important feature of NEPA Girls in Aviation Day, according to Van Scoy, is that it’s going to be a normal day of operation at the airport. “We’ll have flight students and transient helicopters and airplanes landing and taking off,” she said. For someone who’s never seen this side of an airport, it could prove a wholly unique experience. “Not only will the girls get the immersive experience of the day camp, but they’ll also get to watch an airport operate as well.”

They’re not exposed to these opportunities – especially at a young age. I grew up in and around this airport. I never had the inclination that a career in aviation wasn’t an option. I saw my mom do it. I grew to really enjoy it, and it was just like, yeah, I’m going to fly an airplane because that’s what I like to do. But I don’t think many girls even have the opportunity to see themselves doing that.

Molly Van Scoy, Pilot and President of Women in Aviation International – Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter


Get signed up for NEPA Girls in Aviation Day.

Spend the day learning about all the possibilities and opportunities that exist within aviation. Get an up close and personal look at real aircraft. See how an airport operates from behind the scenes. Meet real pilots and make a connection to the world of aviation.

NEPA Girls in Aviation Day

Who: Girls age 8-17

When: Saturday, September 25, 2021

From 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport

2001 Wyoming Avenue

Forty Fort, PA 18704

Cost: $20

Register online here.

Learn more about this exciting day camp by visiting Women in Aviation NEPA Chapter. You can also contact nepawa[email protected] with any questions. And be sure to check out Valley Aviation for more exciting, upcoming events and opportunities at the airport.

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