A large group of volunteers came to support the event. The weather forecast was calling for rain, but we had firm sky and we had the opportunity to have all flights before BBQ time!
From the Flambourough Review:
The youths, along with members of the Hamilton Police Service, got to fly with members of the SOSA Gliding Club, near Rockton. The event was funded by ProAction Cops & Kids, a non-profit organization, and was co-ordinated to foster better relationships between youth and police.
Hamilton Police Cst. John Van Oene, one of the organizers, said the experience allowed students to see police officers in a different light.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids,” he said.
“This gives them something to remember for the rest of their lives.”Destine Olaye, a Grade 8 student at Hamilton’s St. Brigid Catholic Elementary School, said she was really scared at first, but that disappeared when she took to the air.
“But when you get up in the air . . . you’re too focused on the view,” she said. “It was better than being in a plane – just a feeling of serenity.”
She noted the experience was special.
“I don’t think that any other kids have the opportunity to do something like that.”
Fellow St. Brigid student Vanessa Domingues, 14, said the highlight for her was when the pilot did some acrobatics.
“We did a roller coaster,” she said. “We dropped the front straight down and came back up.”
SOSA president John Brennan said the group first approached the club last year, and members were eager to oblige them.
“We’re always looking for younger people to join the sport,” he said, noting the 140-member club usually flies from late March to November.
SOSA has been operating for more than 60 years.
“I think everybody had a great time,” Brennan said of the day. “The club is very happy to support the Hamilton Police.”
Cst. Ryan Clarke, the school officer this year at St. Brigid, said the event was very important.
“I see these kids all the time, see the types of things that they have to deal with in their day to day lives,” he said. “This gives them something to remember for the rest of their lives.”
“Police officers are now ‘cool,’ essentially,” Clarke said of the impact of the day. “It gives these kids a better perspective of police.”
But Clarke admitted the gliding experience was special for the officers as well.
“It was incredible,” Clarke said. “It was wicked awesome.”