Youth Highlight Local Chapter Visit
By Trevor Janz, EAA 656941
EAA Manager of Chapters and Eagle Flights
June 26, 2012 - Recently, Jeff Skiles and I were invited to attend the monthly meeting for Chapter 444 (Northport, Wisconsin), of which I am a member. For my very first chapter visit as EAA chapter manager, I thought, why not choose the chapter to which I belong and where the faces are familiar? It was nice to talk with them about my new role and brief them on everything that is happening at EAA headquarters.
Jeff gave our Grassroots Pilot Tour presentation on EAA's mission, "to grow participation in aviation," and spoke to the chapter about EAA's support of chapters. I briefly spoke on the new Eagle Flights program being launched at AirVenture 2012 and then opened the floor for questions.
It was a good turn-out for a Monday night, just more than 40 people. But, there was one attendee that caught my eye, 11-year-old Noah. I found out that Noah loves everything aviation and his grandpa brought him to the EAA AirVenture Museum, where he was handed a brochure on Young Eagles. Noah's grandfather then brought him to the Chapter 444 Young Eagles rally on Father's Day, and to the chapter meeting the next night.
At the meeting, Noah asked what he could do in aviation at age 11. I told him that there is no minimum age to be an EAA member and that he could join EAA and attend chapter meetings and events. Also, he could build remote-controlled aircraft and by being around the chapter, he could no doubt receive rides in many aircraft.
Also attending the meeting were two high school students, Tyler and Max. They are building a "Legal Eagle" ultralight. They spoke about their project and were excited about it finally being ready for fabric. They said there is only one problem: When the aircraft is done, they have to learn how to fly! The entire group broke out in laughter.
It was exciting see these folks attending the chapter meeting and seeing their enthusiasm. The Young Eagles coordinator and I spoke at the end of the meeting about ideas to reach out to younger folks and have activities for them at the clubhouse throughout the month. He, too, liked the idea of building R/C aircraft. That would be an excellent way to attract other youth around Noah's age, and then as they grow up, they will have a better understanding of what goes into building aircraft and help others to do the same.
Please share your ideas for attracting youth to your chapter. I truly want to get your feedback and it may be shared here in ChapterGram!