Fernvale teen shoots for the sky with RAAF
A WEEK in the air force might leave some people exhausted, but not Sophie Lanson.
The 15-year-old recently emerged from a technical camp for young women at the RAAF Base in Amberley with a crystal-clear determination to forge a career with the air force.
"Participating in the camp made me feel like I can do anything I want,” she said.
"They explained everything really well so I've come out with more knowledge and more interest in exploring those sorts of careers.”
The Lowood High School student comes from a military family based in Fernvale and has a better idea than most of what being an air force officer entails.
Despite this background, Sophie said there was plenty still to learn.
"I wanted to explore what options I had from a technical side of things in the air force, so I found the simulators, structural technician activities and watching the final product of the fast jets taking off the most interesting and informative parts of the camp,” she said.
"If we weren't into the technical trades, they would show us what other options there were - like that we could be a dog trainer if we wanted.”
Flight Lieutenant Margaret Traill from Air Force Gender Programs said the camp was the best way for young women to get a practical idea of the options out there.
"We find that the (camp) is a great opportunity for girls who are interested in careers in the (defence force) to see what that future career could look like and all the opportunities that come with it,” she said.
Aside from the hands-on learning aspect, Sophie said the experience was also just a great way to meet like-minded women.
"We all just grew together and experienced so many great things together that will be with us forever,” she said.
As for her advice to young, aspirational air force officers, Sophie told them to "just go for it”.
"I think it's amazing for young girls to have the dream of being in the air force,” she said.
"You can do anything you want, just research it and push for it.”