Case in point: Mikaila Williams #KK4BFK , who in 2011 at age 8 was the focus of a news report about young ham radio enthusiasts. Not only was her on-air presence outstanding, she held a Amateur Extra radio license! That's the highest privileged license available to the public at large.
Obtaining your "Extra" class license isn't an easy task. You have to know a lot about the science behind radio waves, circuit construction and the laws and rules pertaining to radio service. We regularly see grown adults fail to pass the Extra Class license test because of its level of difficulty and the breadth and depth of the information the test covers, yet, Mikaila mastered the subjects and didn't let the pressure of testing rattle her calm thinking.
My own family has a number of young folks who are licensed ham radio operators too. They are regularly on the air talking to one another and other members of the ham community. Several of them are young women who are regular participants in monthly ham nets. On occasion, these young ladies are invited to act as the net control, which means they make all of the announcements for the net, run the check-in roll call and direct the radio traffic for the meeting. In other words, they are the 'boss' of the net for that day.
I sit at home many states away from them listening in to the net through an Internet connection with a big smile on my face. It doesn't matter how well the 'normal' nets are attended throughout the year because when these young ladies act as net control, the participation level spikes to record heights.
The word somehow goes out that my granddaughters are running the net that night and hams in their part of the world fire up their radios just so they can listen in and check into the net as well. They are almost as proud of these young ladies as a I am and want to wish them well. They encourage them to continue to share their skills and willingness to support their local communities with those skills in times of emergency or just when someone is needed to report on the progress of the local parade or the need for the shovel brigade.
From their parents and grandparents points of view, we are proud of them for their willingness to take the time to learn science fact, for putting fact into action and for their reasoning behind them obtaining their amateur radio licenses. While they love talking on air and being part of the always welcoming ham groups around the world, they have clearly delineated the real reason they wanted to become amateur radio operators in the first place. They want to be of service to others in times of need, great or small.
Today, as 'seasoned' operators, they #Elmer other young folks who are similarly interested in amateur radio. (Elmer = mentor.) To say that their school science projects are a cut above many of the other projects in their school is an understatement. The projects that these young ladies create aren't the "read it in a book and recreate the book on a poster" type of presentations. Their projects involve hard science and its application in what at times appears to be pure magic to those who haven't studied the science behind the presentation.
My congratulations and appreciation are extended to Mikaila, my granddaughters, grandsons and children and all of the others who have taken the time and interest to learn about radio theory and application and put that knowledge to work in the service of their communities. We always knew the younger generation was smarter and better looking than our generation and you continue to prove that theory correct.
73 (best wishes) from grandpa and all of the other adults in the ham community. We are happy to know that your generation will bring amateur radio to an even higher level of service and value to those in the world around us.