This year, United States Air Force Captain Jessica Tait is D’Youville’s commencement speaker. Before she gives this address, she’s holding an exclusive event for Girl Scouts of Western New York. Girls in levels Juniors and up are invited to attend “A Golden Opportunity – A Conversation with Captain Jessica Tait,” May 18 at 10 a.m. This FREE event at D’Youville’s Academic Center runs until noon and features a Q&A session and light refreshments.
While this is a great opportunity for our Girl Scouts, you’re probably asking why is this event valuable? We’re so glad you asked. Here’s some background on Captain Tait and why she’s a wonderful role model for girls.
Although her father was in the Air Force for 22 years, it wasn’t always the obvious path for Jessica. No matter what career she chose, she knew she wanted to make a difference. and ultimately that path led into the Air Force as well.
In an interview with D’Youville, Jessica said “I believe the constant exposure throughout my childhood shaped me in subtle ways. My decisions were always based on my desire to do something that would inspire positive change within myself and for the world.”
This journey in the Air Force took her to the Republic of Korea, where she serves as the Public Affairs Plans Officer for United States Forces Korea of the US Army Garrison Humphreys. In her role, she’s able to travel all over the world and learn new skills, including photography and journalistic writing.
Last year, Jessica’s career took her to an event that had the whole world watching.
On June 23, 2018. a soccer team of 12 boys and their coach went into a cave in Thailand after practice. Rain began to fall, raising the water level and trapping the boys inside. The world couldn’t stop watching this search and rescue mission in the Tham Luang cave that was plagued by challenges.
More than 10,000 people joined the rescue effort, including 2,000 soliders, 900 police officers, representatives from around 100 government agencies, over 100 divers, and countless workers. There were seven ambulances, 10 helicopters, over 700 diving cylinders, and the constant water pumping that removed more than a billion liters of water.
This massive team included someone else: Captain Jessica Tait.
At the time, Jessica was with the 353rd Special Operations Group, and the government of Thailand selected them to assist in rescuing the team from the Tham Luang Cave system. She served as the US Government Spokesperson for her unit, showcasing her calm demeanor under intense pressure. In total, she appeared in more than 85 on-camera interview and responded to more than 100 inquiries from the media.
After 18 long days, the team was successfully rescued and Jessica was forever changed by the experience.
“I could talk endlessly about the operational things I learned or the deep discoveries about myself, but my biggest take-away was from the Thai people who poured out the most authentic display of hope I’ve ever seen in my life. I truly believe this is why the rescue had the happy ending that it did.”
Due to her high visibility in the situation, she became one of the most recognizable faces in Thailand and was told how her presence impacted others involved in the rescue. She then realized she had an opportunity to use her experience to inspire young girls.
Later, she was invited to return to Bangkok to create a #GirlPower video to support women’s empowerment. She was excited for the opportunity to not only create the video, but speak to girls in schools there as well.
Continuing her passion, Jessica is speaking exclusively to Girl Scouts of Western New York Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. Reserve your spot today to learn more attend this event that sure to leave your girls feeling strong and empowered!