High Desert youth, especially those of color, are experiencing career path opportunities they never dreamed of, thanks to the summer camps offered by the Millionaire Mind Kids program.
The first summer camp offered was the aviation camp where students spent a week visiting aviation industry businesses on the former George Air Force Base, now Southern California Logistics Airport. During the open house held at the center on the first day of the new aviation camp, attendees listened to supporters express their optimism for the program, citing the fact that all the camp activities are “egalitarian, not elitist.” Many children of color would not have been included in these programs, as they have traditionally been looking through the window.
Attendees at the open house included Chico Garza, Alliance for Education, an avid supporter of Millionaire Mind Kids; Evelyn Glasper, Victor Valley Union High School District Board of Trustees; Elvin Momon, Superintendent of Victor Valley Union High School District, and Nina Erbst, Keillor Williams Realty.
Students visited Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, where their names were stored in the data center and will come up if they apply for admission to the school. During their two days of touring the businesses at SCLA, they were made aware of careers that exist within the industry, career paths that could be within their reach. The last day of the aviation camp was the proverbial, cat’s meow.” On Monday, June 18, they traveled to the Apple Valley Airport where Lt. Col. Tony Marshall (ret.) had arranged for them to fly with some of the private pilots who operate out of the airport. When they arrived there were ten aircraft waiting to ease them from earth to sky. They also learned about the parts of planes, why they fly, took a mini-course in riveting to understand how to check out the safety of aircraft. Many of these pilots built their own planes after separation from the Air Force, or retirement from commercial flying. Col. Marshall did both stints as an Air Force pilot and later as a commercial pilot for a major airline.
One of the students, Brittany Palmer, a senior at Silverado High School in Victorville, was ecstatic when she landed. She told this reporter that aviation plans are definitely included in her career path plans. This option was not on the table before the aviation camp. Student Destiny Bazzelle, Apple Valley High School, whose grandmother volunteers time with Millionaire Mind Kids, stated the flight was really cool; she worried about the pedals, they help with turning the planes. She wants to get her pilot’s license, then go into bio-medical engineering. Coming to the camp changed her perspective. Several of the pilots took us to their hangars and explained the mechanics of their airplanes. Terry Stover, County of San Bernardino Department of Airports assistant director, came to see who the visitors were. He chatted with Delores Williams and Col. Marshall.
The students were requesting second outings as they soared over their homes and schools in the Apple Valley area.
Other summer camps offered this summer by MMK are STEM (robotics) and financial literacy, teaching youth financial responsibility and literacy; how to handle money, credit, maintaining a good FICA score and saving. All the camps’ exposure to different sides of the mountain is rooted in courtesy, deportment, and self-esteem. How you feel about yourself, how you carry yourself is just as important as the academic knowledge you acquire. There is no charge to High Desert residents for the camps; the goal is preparing children to function in the twenty-first century on a competitive level with global students.
A departing school administrator expressed his beliefs that African American children are slow learners inherently, but with the same opportunities for outside activities that stimulate their minds these kids are proving they are destined to rise and blast stereotypes into sub-particles.