Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
I've been thinking about writing my story for many years. Thank you tot he guy who started this Post. You helped me to feel less alone, and to understand Lee better. I was a camper from 1978 to 1980, and was the head sailing instructor. Living in the cabins, running across the field and back upon waking up, and the excitement of learning to fly was wonderful. I remember working in the "tower", the cool basement library where I read almost every book there, and The GAT trainer where John, my instructor, signed my very first logbook entry and whacked the cabin when I didn't look out my "window" before starting a left turn. There was a sailing day when I drove the van full of sailors to the dock, and two hot high school girls were laying out in the sun--the only girls I saw all summer.
I washed the dishes after dinner, carved my name in a table, nursed a baby bird back to health, and felt pride in passing my Private and Instrument Written Exams. We watched "All My Children" every day, and made and ate so much junk food from the snack bar that I'm surprised that I'm still alive. :)
Now, for the creepiness: The basic initiation ceremony consisted of a camper getting naked, being blindfolded and standing in the center of a circle of "inner circle" kids, in an upstairs room of Lee's house. I remember standing there sweating profusely and the seconds slowly ticked by, waiting for it to end.
Lee told me that he wanted me to join his "inner circle"--the group of kids that lived there year-round and who attended the local community college. It was an "initiation" ceremony and as such was secret. No one talked about it.
The initiation consisted of me and Dave Polite being given beds to sleep in in Lee's house. At 11:11pm we were awoken and called to another room. Lee blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back while I was on my knees, and told me to suck his cock while he was standing. He was soft. He told me to move my tongue around. I didn't. This went on for maybe 10 minutes. He didn't get hard, and I felt a small victory.
Then Lee told me move over to a nearby bed, and to "start at the head of the guy and and lick and verbally call out every body part that I was to touch with my tongue, until I got to his feet. The guy that Lee told me to do that to was lying down naked was Steve Z. (he was also a flight student and lived there full time and worked at the sales counter, and was pretty much Lee's right hand kid.) I did as instructed, still blindfolded. Lee told me to slow down and linger when I got to Steve's penis. Finally, this ordeal ended later that night, and I was sent back to the bed in the house to sleep there the rest of the night. Steve made no sounds during my sex act, and no one ever talked about any of these events.
The next day I went back to my bunk in the instructors' "chicken coup" and felt nauseous, and started counting the days (25 to go) until I could leave and go home.
I never told anyone about these experiences for many years--finally telling a girlfriend and my parents about 10 years later. I flew for another year, then stopped. I had mixed feelings about aviation, lost my innocent zeal for it, and stopped flying about 6 months later.
25 years after those events I flew again and flew aerial survey, taught VFR students in Florida, and flew for a Regional for a year before deciding that it was not the lifestyle that I wanted. However, I was happy to have finished something that otherwise would have probably been a 30+ year career in commercial aviation. If Steve or Dave are out there, I'd be glad to hear from you, and from anyone who attended Sky-Life. I still have my pin to go along with my mixed memories of those teenage summers in at Sky-Life Flying Camp. -David Elliott
Anyone know what happened to Sky Life Flying Camp?
I found this thread after leafing through some childhood material my mother gave me including my brochure and application for Sky Life which eventually brought me to this thread.
I attended the camp in the summers of 1989/90 as a 15/16 year old. If I remember correctly, in'90 I attended the camp for 2 weeks with about another 7 or 8 other campers from all over the US. 2 campers I ended up being buddies with during my stay, one from MI and one from NJ.
Jay Treat and Bill Quegan were the flight instructors at the time and we had a camp counselor that bunked with us and of course Lee in the main house.
I have mixed emotions about the camp. I have fond memories of morning runs to the "tower" before breakfast, watching the weather to see if you were going to get to fly that day, the grass strip runway, snack bar, building model airplanes, etc.
Thank goodness I did not receive the same level of abuse some likely received there, however, I was not immune either.
2 instances come to mind during my stay.
- One of the campers during pre-flight engine check shut the ignition off in error causing the plane to back fire. I was in the tower with the camper from MI and we laughed are heads off. I vaguely remember the camper getting punished for the mistake and wanting to go home after being punished. Me and my buddy got yelled at by Lee for laughing on the tower radio.
- The second instance was on the road trip to Dayton to visit Wright Patterson AFB. We stopped at a KOA in the RV, I think only 3 -4 boys made the trip along with Lee and Jay. I don't recall if I had requested a shower or if it was my "turn" for a shower, however, I do vividly remember Lee telling me due to limited water supply he would monitor me taking a shower. Watching me take my clothes off, getting wet in the shower, shower off, lather with soap and rinse. All under his watch to ensure I didn't waste any water.
What's most interesting is I did not recognize this as abnormal due to my trust and respect for authority figures. Only until much later in life, maybe even as a parent did I reflect on the incident as totally inappropriate. I feel a bit guilty that if I had spoken up at the time as my father is a pediatrician and has dealt with sex abuse, perhaps others would not have received the same or worse treatment in the future.
As with other posters, I found this email thread cathartic to share. I am overly protective with my kids around male authority figures and will likely not allow them to spend nights away at camp. (right/wrong)
To those other young men I shared a couple summers, I hope you did not experience any of Lee's evil. And if you did, I hope that were able to overcome..
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