If you've been to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) recently, you may have seen streams of children being led throughout the terminal. Each year, from September to December, YVR hosts 60 Grade 5 classes for the YVR School Tour program, an educational experience were children learn about the airport's operations, history, and First Nations art. This year, I had the pleasure of navigating groups around the airport and sparking their enthusiasm for aviation. Each day provided new entertainment and lessons for me, as their tour guide. The following are some of my favourite experiences from the last few months.
Kids Say the Darndest Things
Did you ever watch the old TV show Kids Say the Darndest Things? These are some of my favourite questions or statements from this fall's tours:
When I asked that students what is a domestic flight? Answers included:
- Is it one that carries animals?
- Is it a very fancy flight?
Students also asked: Can you take a hippo on a plane? And If there were no lights on the runways, could they use fireflies to light it at night?
One of the moments that caught me most off guard involved a Grade 5 girl. All the children in this group were exceptionally engaged throughout the tour and ran to give me a hug when the tour was over. One small girl ran up last with her arms outstretched. Expecting her to behave just like the rest of the class, I continued a conversation with another student, but was shocked when I was suddenly being lifted into the air and carried off. This girl was carrying me like it was no problem, which was shocking considering her tiny size! Thankfully I was able to convince her to put me down promptly, and after the shock wore off I was very impressed with her strength.
Tour Take Aways
Leading the school tours was entertaining and enlightening in many ways. I learned more about Vancouver International Airport than I ever imagined. The Airport Authority is highly involved in the local community and I am walking away from this position with a new appreciation for everything the employees do locally. Not only is the School Tour Program fully supplied by the Airport Authority, they also donate $750,000 a year to the Greater YVR Community, making a big difference to non-profit groups across the Lower Mainland. We have a very special airport here in Vancouver, and I am thrilled to have been part of it and to spread the word.
- Leanne Kedrosky