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Boy Scouts takes flight

OSCODA, Mich.– 2020 was full of down points, but let’s take one last look at something amazing that Northeast Michigan teens accomplished that year.

Dr. Pete Mapes is an air force veteran whose love for the skies started as a child. In 2019, he founded the Scout Aviation Maintenance Experience, or “SAME” program, to give Northeast Michigan Boy Scouts an opportunity to build new skills.

Mapes told WBKB he felt youth in the region deserve a chance to soar both figuratively and literally.

Boy Scouts who qualify for the program spend nine weeks over the summer restoring a small airplane— in this case, a Cessna 150B— at the Wurtsmith Airport in Oscoda. Each week, they learn new skills from a different specialist, then put them into practice. Scouts sew upholstery, fabricate metal, and even build an entire engine!

While the program started in 2019, it wasn’t until 2020 that the Cessna was complete. Rhea participated both summers, first as a learner, then as a mentor. She said she was proud to see the product of her hard work take off.

The program continues this summer with a new plane restoration project. Applications are open to boy scouts who have completed eighth grade or are 14 years or older. The application period ends March 15.

Those seeking to apply should contact Pete Mapes at MapesNI@AOL.com.