This blog post was authored by Portland, OR, (PDX) Above the Wing Supervisor Caryn Langen’s son, Alec, who attended Southwest Summer Camp.Southwest Summer Campis a three-day camp for Southwest Employees’ high school-aged students. The camp is a unique way to build Southwest’s talent pipeline by engaging students at an early age, inspiring an interest in aviation, and providing a path to return as an intern or fulltime Employee at Southwest.
Although I live in Portland and traveled to Dallas last week (along with 140 other high school students) for Southwest Summer Camp, it felt like I never actually left home. On the first day, we received a red carpet welcome from Southwest Employees applauding us as we arrived at camp. It suddenly made sense when the first thing we learned was what it means to Live the Southwest Way. Everyone was just so friendly and happy to be there.
The first day was jam-packed with speakers, opportunities to take classes to learn more about jobs we're interested in (like Technical Operations), and things to do. There were fun games to help us meet new people and feel at home. We even had dinner with Southwest founders Herb and Colleen!
The second day was filled with even more speakers, opportunities to learn about the various departments at Southwest, and a photo scavenger hunt. We followed the clues to find 14 items around the Headquarters Building on the Corporate Campus. Then came the Maintenance Hangar tour (awesome), as well as more breakout sessions, for example, Flight Operations. We were taken to the NOC, and I have to say, it’s one of the most impressive areas at Southwest!
The third and final day wrapped it up with breakout sessions, speakers, and of course, games. The sessions, tours, and speakers were there to make sure we learned about Southwest Airlines, but the outcome was actually a little different. I learned the Warrior Spirit, Servants Heart, and Fun-LUVing Attitude, and made friends for life.
I understand why my mom has been with Southwest for so long. I’ve been brought up in the Southwest Family, and have now experienced it firsthand. I knew the PDX Southwest peeps thought of me as extended Family, but now I realize it is company wide. Although I was sad to leave my newfound friends and all the friendly Southwest people, it was a great experience, and I am definitely signing up again next year for more fun and hopefully more friends to make.