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Weekend of Sharing at Chapter Leaders Academy


Jack Pelton
One of the youngest chapter presidents, Lindsey Pell of EAA Chapter 1310 (East Windsor, Connecticut), with EAA Founder Paul Poberezny at the recent Chapter Leaders Academy.

By Trevor Janz, EAA 656941
EAA Manager of Chapters and Eagle Flights

November 13, 2012 - Recently, we hosted our Chapter Leaders Academy here at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh. Being new to the chapter manager role, it was my first Leaders Academy and I was most impressed. Twenty-three chapter leaders arrived in Oshkosh from all over the country.

After eveyone arrived at the Air Academy Lodge, where the leaders would be staying for the weekend, the amazing EAA lodge cooking staff prepared a wonderful meal. It was a perfect night to have a fire in the large fieldstone fireplace and chat with Paul and Audrey Poberezny.

What an amazing time for all, to be with our founders for a simple chat by the fire. I wish each and every one of you could have been there. Maybe next time I will think ahead and get this on video.

Saturday was packed with informative seminars. We brought in other EAA Chapter leaders to discuss what is working in their chapters. I want to thank Dan Majka from Chapter 43 and Chairman of KidVenture for discussing ways to get youth involved in chapters, also Alan White from Chapter 272 Duluth/Superior for discussing fundraising, and Randy Delfel from Chapter 237 in Blaine, Minnesota, for discussing how his chapter is using YouTube and social media.

Saturday evening we took a behind the scenes tour of the EAA AirVenture Museum, thanks to Zachary Baughman on the EAA museum staff. Chapter leaders were able to sit in Paul's P-51 Mustang and the de Havilland Mosquito, for excellent photos to bring back to their chapters. Also, Paul and Audrey met us in the Founders' Wing for photos and autographs.

When Sunday arrived it was clear that many friendships were made and many ideas shared among the chapter leaders. This is exactly what the Chapter Leaders Academy is all about. I had one of the attendees stop to see me prior to leaving to give me some feedback. He mentioned that he invited another chapter leader, from a much larger chapter in his area to join him this weekend and the person declined. The person that declined told this attendee, "All you are going to get is EAA HQ telling you how to run your chapter," and he was not interested in attending.

When talking with this attending chapter leader, he told me that it was completely the opposite and he was very happy that he attended. He was going to return home and ask that particular chapter if he could have 30 minutes to speak about the valuable information and knowledge he gained from the Leaders Academy.

The Chapter Leaders Academy is all about sharing information, not telling chapters what to do or how to do it. We want to make sure that all chapter leaders know that this is a venue to learn and to share information between headquarters and with other chapter leaders. We here at EAA headquarters learn from the leaders attending and get valuable feedback of what is working and not working in the field.

We are planning offering two Chapter Leaders Academies in Oshkosh next year, in February and October. Jeff Skiles and I will also be taking the academy on the road in 2013 and will keep you posted via ChapterGram and direct emails on where we will be. If you cannot make it to Oshkosh, we will be coming to an area near you soon. The "on the road" academy will be just one day, with all EAA members in the area invited for a Grassroots Pilot Tour stop in the evening after the academy.

I want to thank Brenda Anderson, EAA chapter administrator, for all her hard work arranging the arrival of all the attendees, and planning all the meals, activities, agenda, tours, info kits and much more. Thank you, Brenda, for all you do.

Hope to meet you at a Leaders Academy in Oshkosh or on the road. We are seeing more chapters working together and sharing ideas. The more we all work together the more we can accomplish.

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