Youth Education Week (YEW)

About Youth Education Week (YEW) July 8-12, 2024  

Caesar Creek Soaring Club (CCSC) is a 200 member glider club located just north of Cincinnati and is an easy drive from Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. Youth Education Week began in 2002 and was initially referred to as Youth Camp. It was started when a few parent-members decided to host a three day flying camp for their own children. The club’s board approved the camp and club members came forward to support it. Youth membership in CCSC is required prior to registration for YEW.


Many CCSC members volunteer to enable Youth Camp; experience shows it takes 3 adult volunteers for each youth camper. Club members, spouse’s, and parents cook, haul supplies and help in ways too numerous to mention. Lunches are often delivered to the flight line so that flight training will not be interrupted. Club Members often come forward to mentor, to watch, to coach or just to tell tales of the past. Some folks offer their personal gliders for cross country training, and assembly – disassembly exercises. Volunteer CFIs have their hands full satisfying the inquiring minds, grading tests or more often, supporting a youth’s request for another training flight. Volunteer tow pilots stay busy with the numerous local flights and the occasional retrieve from a nearby airport. Both tow pilots and CFIs stay alert because the perfect tow position often isn’t maintained by these pilot wanna-be’s.


YEW attendance is a great value; there are four costs:

  1. Youth Membership in CCSC is required. The Initiation Fee is $200. Included in the cost of CCSC membership is a one-year membership in the Soaring Society of America (SSA) because it is required for our flight insurance. SSA membership enables recognition for achievements at camp and provides a youthful soaring enthusiast with a year’s magazine subscription. This $200 fee is a one-time fee to join CCSC. For Youth Members, the monthly dues are $12. There is also a New Aircraft Monthly Assessment of $3 that is going towards a new ASK-21B currently on order. YEW participants are required to remain member of CCSC at least through the end of the year.
  2. The fixed camp cost is $350 if a parent or guardian participates as a volunteer. It covers food, T-Shirt, infrastructure, and other expenses. If the parents or guardians do not participate, the cost is $500.
  3. Flight expenses are ~$ 40 dollars per flight. The camp goal is to provide at least two training flights each day. Youths on occasion have flown more than 3 times in the day, usually to get them ready for solo or for other goal.
  4. Other expenses include textbooks (Glider Flying Handbook) but very little else.  We have switched to the updated and expanded Glider Flight Training Manual which includes all the material and tests from “Basics” and a lot more.


Camp begins Sunday with sign-in, collection of outstanding paperwork (i.e. parental waivers, emergency information, Camp Rules…, orientation, and camp setup for selected participants) and a kick-off dinner for campers, parents and volunteers.


  1. I will participate in all scheduled events unless agreed to by Camp leadership.
    1. I will not leave the CCSC property without the specific permission from Camp leadership.
    2. I will not leave the flight line operation without the specific permission from Camp leadership.
  2. I will respect the property of CCSC and that of others at camp.
  3. I will not knowingly harm, damage or ridicule the property of CCSC or that of another.
  4. I will pick-up after myself (Club house, showers, kitchen, tables…)
  5. I will be on time for meetings: morning and evening briefs
  6. I will be attentive during meetings and respectful of the speaker.
  7. I will assist in field set-up, operation, and food preparation.
  8. I will only operate equipment on which I have been trained by authorized CCSC crew chief and specifically allowed to operate.
  9. I recognize camp fires are only allowed in the fire pit and the flames must be less than 3 feet high

Note: Camp rules are signed by the youth and parents


Camp participation is only for youths who are excited about flying. Acceptance is based on:

  1. Maturity in age is NOT assumed. Despite a recommended minimum training age of 12, some younger youths have participated, blossomed and outperformed some of the elder youths in terms of enthusiasm, participation, leadership and progress/performance. We require most youths younger than 13 to have a parent in attendance, until their maturity (mainly social skills, safety and integration) is assessed to be adequate..
  2. CCSC club membership and participation prioritizes selection. Club members support their sons and daughters, and thereby provide a foundation for external attendees.
  3. Flying affiliation and enthusiasm are then recognized and rewarded. We encourage Civil Air Patrol participants, Boy Scout participants, youths from other soaring clubs and others who demonstrate an interest in aviation.


The flying portion of the Camp begins Monday morning and every day the routine starts with an 8AM briefing. On Sunday evening the first pair of youth leaders is selected and assigned the responsibility for leading morning and evening briefings, with an experienced youth being paired with a new camper. While the camp is focused on flying, it encourages self-discipline and responsibility in the campers. Campers learn that there is no bedtime; however, showers and breakfast must be complete before the morning brief at 8:00. The briefing by the “volunteer youth” always includes: weather, NOTAM’s, TFRs, safety and operations notices and a plan for the day (i.e. which runway to use, procedural changes, daily challenges/goals, etc.). Following the morning briefing, the equipment is moved to the flight line. We try to have at least three (of nine) gliders and two (of three) tow planes available all day. Flight training begins before 10AM and usually ends before 6PM. During the day, non- flying student pilots are hopefully:

  1. Socializing and having fun
  2. Sharing duties on the flight line (under adult supervision) and safely launching and recovering gliders and crews.
  3. Being mentored /studying (the Knauff text and taking the chapter tests…a requirement to solo at CCSC)
  4. Briefing/debriefing with an instructor.

The training is not sterile. Daily challenges have included:

  • PTT (rope breaks) or pattern tows as weather permits.
  • Simulated off-field landings (Unique spot landing exercises).
  • Experienced pilots are sent with an instructor to learn how to land at other local airports.
  • Thermaling and other FAA Practical Test Standards/FAR Part 61.87i & 61.107b(6) practice
  • Cross Country Flying (Mentored, Instructed and Solo)
  • Computer soaring/flight training (Condor)
  • SSA Badge work (Flying and academic)
  • Youth defined goals (working on flight skills/proficiency)
  • Guest lecturers
  • Academics and testing (Glider Flying Handbook, Knauff chapter quizzes and FAA practice tests)
  • Glider assembly/disassembly
  • After dinner/debriefings
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Carrier Landing…a homemade game
  • Maybe a movie (Broadcast on the side of the clubhouse…and critiqued by the youth experts)

The day ends after the equipment is safely put away. Occasionally, we’ll have an early evening flight training session in calmer conditions, but that is not the norm. We provide a very hearty meal prepared by parent volunteers, followed by a youth led debriefing/meeting. The evening debriefing includes a synopsis of the day’s events; individual flight tallies, lessons learned, suggestions for improvement, perhaps an outlook/plan for tomorrow …and RECOGNITION.


The daily recognition has become one of the most important leadership activities we do as part of YEW. The youth “combo “ leading the evening brief must decide who and why other campers are deserving of one of five birds. Our soaring youths are honored to give and receive our coveted “bird” trophies. (Note: These five trophies are beat up dollar trinkets acquired at a beach holiday gift shop.) The youths come up with very creative “honors” for determining a recipient for a bird trophy. Who will get the “Pelican”? Will it be the observed underperforming camper for sitting too long “on the dock”…or to a camper who helped …or a tow pilot who carried an awkward load? The “Seagull” might go for a long flight …or to a youth who passed a quiz. The “Duck” might reward a spot landing …or highlight a water incident, …or waddling when hustling might have been more appropriate. The “Parrot” might recognize some particularly noteworthy or showy event. But, the “Eagle” usually goes to a best performer of the day, …but it might also reward some observant youth who recognized a ground operation issue. The youths are the usual recipients; however, cooks, mentors, lecturers, elders, instructors and others have received the “birds” over the course of these last ten years. One year, a 73 year old youth who soloed during the camp was a recipient. A gung ho 10 year old helper got another. The birds have inspired youths, who might otherwise have felt left out,…or allow the group to learn without painful retribution from a mistake or perceived mistake, …or to make a little kid feel like one of the big guys. The honor is in the creativity. And, the honor lasts only until the next evening’s bird awards. Other forms of recognition include the obvious flying skills progress that is logged. Recognition is divvied out daily during mentoring and instruction, and youths are encouraged to observe and praise also. We recognize written test progression. We recognize soloists (usually with a bucket of water followed by a toss into the local pond) and those youths who’ve attained progress in the SSA Badge Program. And, we recognize some unexpected high performers, often the younger campers. On the last dinner/debriefing, we encourage the youths to thank their parents, the club and all the volunteers that made the youth camp possible. Often, this is the only opportunity for past youth campers to attend…and they and their stories are welcomed.


We count among our graduate campers a majority of soloists and licensed pilots. Ninety nine percent of the attendees go on to college / university. Most recently, we have had three youth honored, two with appointments to Naval and Air Force Academies and one ROTC scholarship to the Coast Guard. Many have become engineers, CFIs , private and professional pilots. Some pursued medical professions, others are still in school, progressing and excelling. All our youth campers have grown from their camp experiences…and our mentors have grown a little youthful from our experiences with these kids. Each year, Caesar Creek’s youth campers fly 150+ flights during camp. We give youth the opportunity to concentrate their flying to sharpen their skills to solo and earn SSA badges. Youths and adults have a great time. All youths make significant progress in their flight training, aeronautical knowledge, maturity/leadership skills and they make a new friend or two. Another advantage to hosting a youth camp is the availability of club assets for other club members who want to fly during the week…another 20 -40 flights. Our camp has been the seed for other soaring endeavors, like a late summer adult camp and an early summer cross country camp. It is great for the kids and a good thing for the SSA and soaring’s legacy.


The Caesar Creek Youth Soaring Association (CCYSA) is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and has been accepting donations. Some club members have bought flights for youths. Some estates have donated funds. Some volunteers and mentors have donated funds, time and equipment. Donations have allowed the CCSYA to award a significant flight scholarship to one and sometimes two youth members helping to offset the cost of camp. Donations of funds, aircraft or equipment can be sent to the Caesar Creek Soaring Youth Association via the Caesar Creek Soaring Club address.


Youth Education Week is accepting registrations . If you have a question or want to attend, contact Steve Hoffman,

An alternate contact would be Henry Hayter,


Scott Mayer relaxing on the Caesar Creek Soaring Clubhouse DeckCCSC’s newest member of the US Naval Academy is Scott Mayer. He received his nomination in a ceremony with Representative John Boehner. Scott is a member of the 4th Sunday Crew. He has been active at CCSC during his high school career, completing his first glider solo at the age of 14 during CCSC Youth Camp. He has progressed through his flight training and was signed off for his check ride at the completion of Youth Camp 2014. Scott has also been active in the Civil Air Patrol in West Chester, Ohio. Rich Carraway, one of Scott’s instructors, commented that “Scott’s nomination is very well deserved. He’s a sharp young man and should excel at the Academy. He’s also a competent glider pilot.” Scott’s mom, Charlotte, expressed appreciation to CCSC members, “CCSC has definitely played a part in Scott’s success which has led him to this moment and we are thankful to all of the mentors at the club who have positively influenced him”. On behalf of the CCSC Membership, Congratulations Scott, we are proud of you!


Tyler Dockum with Senator Rob Portman at ceremony announcing Tyler's appointment to US Air Force Academy
Tyler Dockum with Senator Rob Portman at ceremony announcing Tyler’s appointment to US Air Force Academy

CCSC’s newest nominee to the US Air Force Academy is Tyler Dockum. In the same ceremony with Scott, Tyler received his nomination to the USAF Academy from Representative John Boehner. Tyler is also a member of the 4th Sunday Crew.