A student and an alumnus of East Carolina University worked together at a recent Air Force event to help local youth reach new heights in confidence and leadership.
Rising senior Jacquelyn Nance and Chris Bailey ’08 volunteered at the 2016 Summer Encampment put on by the NC Wing of the Civil Air Patrol from June 18-25 near Charlotte.
The Civil Air Patrol, an official auxiliary of the Air Force run by civilian volunteers, hosts encampments for youth ages 12-18 as part of its mission to create good citizens who understand the importance of flight. Young cadets got to ride in airplanes and launch model rockets as they learned about aerospace. They also experienced some basic military training on the ground, like survival skills and first aid. Nance helped Bailey organize the flights and other activities, and even got to take a ride in a plane herself.
“The encampment was an amazing experience,” said Bailey, a major who serves as director of operations for the NC Wing. “Helping to mentor young cadets and in a weeks’ time see them develop is the most rewarding experience for me.”
“I like how the CAP develops leadership in students,” said Nance, who is a cadet in ECU’s Air Force ROTC program. “I enjoyed seeing their confidence and self-esteem growing.
While ECU alumni have participated in encampments before, this is the first time a student was asked to volunteer. Nance said she was happy to be a “guinea pig” and hopes other ECU cadets will volunteer in the future.
“It was great,” she said. “It was definitely a different experience. I didn’t know much about the Civil Air Patrol. This gave me an opportunity to learn more. It was really cool to experience another aspect of the Air Force. I also got the opportunity to build leadership skills of my own.”
“I’ve always wanted to be in the military,” continued Nance, who is from the Fayetteville area. “But my mom wanted me to get a college degree first. I came across the Air Force ROTC program at ECU. My mom went to ECU for nursing so she was excited.”
Nance is majoring in recreation therapy and plans to graduate in December 2017. After that, she’ll serve her required four years, and hopes to go into aircraft maintenance or airfield operations. “I like working with planes and people,” she said. “I’m not sure if I’ll do a full 20 years [in the Air Force]. I definitely want to use my major, so maybe I’ll get my masters.”
Wherever Nance’s career takes her, Bailey knows she’s off to a good start at ECU.
“ECU helped to make me a better leader and to put others first,” Bailey said. “ECU allowed me to go after my goals and to help mentor others to achieve theirs.”
By Jackie Drake