Taking Flight

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Participants of the drones track at LOST Camp display their TRUST exam certificates. All photos provided by Brian Gautreau

Unmanned Aircraft Systems, commonly called drones, have made their way into industries and careers that can take youth anywhere, and Louisiana 4-H has hit the runway to engage youth in the world of drone programming.

Lifting Off

Louisiana 4-H presented two new offerings at Camp Grant Walker for members to learn about drones. The first was Drone Safety and Operations Camp, where youth learned about drone safety and regulations and developed piloting skills as they completed an obstacle course. The second was a new drones track at the Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology (LOST) camp where youth learned how to code, built a mock drone and explored career opportunities that use drones.

“I learned about the things drones do and how they can help society,” said Carson Aycock, a LOST camper from Grant Parish.

At both camps, youth successfully completed The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) through the Federal Aviation Administration and earned TRUST certificates. The certification signifies that they have a solid understanding of the safety and ethical guidelines necessary for recreational drone operation. Incorporating TRUST into the camps represents Louisiana 4-H's dedication to building a culture of safety and responsible youth.

One of the favorite activities during the drones track at LOST Camp was coding where youth developed the skills needed to program their drones to complete a small challenge.

“The experience of coding drones during LOST Camp made me feel like a pilot creating a flight path,” said Mason Dupuie, a Lafayette 4-H'er. “Even though I learned a lot about coding drones, I found there is room for mistakes. You only get better through trial and error and with practice.”

Coding is a skill that is transferable to a variety of applications. Developing positive feelings toward coding and other STEM-related skills is one positive impact of this programming.

On the Horizon

The growing role of technologies, such as drones, in precision agriculture and other fields creates opportunities for youth, but also presents the need to prepare them for those opportunities.

Louisiana 4-H intends to expand its drone programming to include opportunities for youth to earn their FAA Part 107 Certification, which would allow them to fly drones for commercial purposes. Youth with this certification can pursue a variety of career options, including those that put them on the cutting edge of modern agricultural practices. Other future projects include using drones for environmental monitoring and capturing aerial footage for service organizations.

Photo captions for below: From left, participants code their drones to navigate a mission course, fly a drone through an obstacle course and practice coding by making binary bracelets at the two new drone camps.

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3/5/2024 8:53:01 PM
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