Youth Engagement

The Vancouver Soaring Association (VSA) has been proud to support the development of the next generation of soaring pilots since the club’s founding in 1966 and has trained youth to Transport Canada licensing standards over the years.

VSA aims to support the development of young glider pilots and create awareness about the sport of soaring among the youth demographic. Reduced membership dues apply for youth members Youth who are less than 25 years of age on Jan 1 of the year of membership.


One challenge Youth usually face is how to get to Hope on weekends, so this aspect must be carefully considered by parents. Many members camp at the club on weekends, and this is a common way to reduce the cost of travel to and from Hope for each flying day.

Please Note: it is quite common around August each year for some youths who have been attending the Canadian Airforce Cadet program, but who have not managed to obtain their Glider Pilot Licence (GPL) through this program, to approach the VSA to help them complete their training and obtain their GPL.

Unfortunately, the VSA is not a commercial gliding school and cannot accept members whose sole reason is to obtain their GPL. Added to that is the additional learning curve required to fly gliders in the often turbulent and gusty airflows among mountains, which requires significantly more training than cadets typically obtain gliding near an airbase above flat land. There are more efficient ways for these students to finish off their training at other locations. It should also be noted that the gliding season starts to wind down in September/October, so realistically there is limited time left in that same year.

Our recommendation for these students would be to make arrangements with a commercial school like Arizona Soaring, Arizona’s premier Soaring School at Estrella Sailport. One advantage for cadets wishing to continue, especially as it becomes quite late in the season, is that this school is open all year round, so it would be much easier to schedule and plan for. In Port Alberni, the Vancouver Island Soaring Centre also offers commercial services to teach gliding, but they too would be constrained by the seasonal limits as opposed to Arizona Soaring.

Youth Bursary

From time to time the VSA is able to obtain one or two Youth Flight Bursaries from the Soaring Association of Canada (SAC), which provides an opportunity for a youth, aged less than 25 years old, to learn how to fly gliders and participate in the volunteer activities of our club. Effectively, the VSA matches SAC’s contribution as a donation to create a bursary of sufficient value to cover the cost of 10 flights. All flight training takes place at the Hope Airport. Please note that bursaries depend on the VSA’s ability to budget for this expense and bursary availability from SAC.

Bursary Availability

Bursaries may be awarded each year, but may be limited by VSA budgetary constraints as well as SAC bursary assistance availability constraints. Applications for bursaries may be submitted between 1 February until March 31 each year, after which time successful applicants will be selected for that year. Available bursaries are not guaranteed.

  • Application forms for bursaries can be found here.

Youth Bursary Flight Training

In the event that a bursary is awarded, the VSA will provide 10 instructional flights to bursars with a qualified instructor in VSA’s 2-seat gliders. Flight training occurs primarily on weekends but is highly dependent on weather. The Club uses a roster to schedule flights for all its students, including bursars. Up to three students can be scheduled on a given day when there is one instructor. On rare occasions two instructors and two twins are available for training. On a typical flying day, a maximum of two flights can be expected by each student, which means 10 flights could take approximately 2 – 3 months to complete. All flights must be completed in the same year the bursary is awarded.

Student Expectations

For all intents and purposes, the bursary holder will be an ordinary flying member of the club, the same as any other student member.

A self-learning package will be provided which will list required reading for students to complete on their own time.

In addition, the student, like any member, is expected to contribute to volunteer activities of the VSA. Some examples of these volunteer activities include timekeeping (recording glider up and down times), flight line activities (wing running, glider ground handling), general grounds maintenance, and clubhouse upkeep.

Application process

If you are interested in learning more or applying for a Bursary, please see the Application Form. If after reviewing all the details along with your parents/legal guardians you wish to apply, please send a signed copy (preferably scanned to PDF) to the email address shown below.

Youth Bursary Application Form

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us on the general enquiries email address.