August 13, 2014 - The KidVenture area at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh celebrated its 16th year with record numbers of attendance and volunteer hours, numbers so significant that KidVenture volunteers ran out of 2014 project materials.
A popular area for families, the KidVenture area offers a variety of hands-on activities, games, and learning opportunities for young ones. Metal pieces, props, wind turbines, wood for ribs, and other project supplies were consumed so heavily that volunteers had to go through next year’s materials, said Dan Majka, KidVenture volunteer chairman.
An estimated 21,000 kids and parents attended based on hourly head counts and number of activities completed. There were 400 volunteers throughout the week; numbers are still being calculated, but their volunteer hours estimated 15,000-plus hours this year, compared to 12,000 last year, Majka said.
A highlight of this year’s KidVenture was its new location in the three hangars at Pioneer Airport, whereas before it was in a tent, susceptible to bad weather, and there was no way of locking up expensive materials.
Altogether there were 30 booths in the KidVenture area. A highlight among them was the new booth sponsored by Bombardier Aerospace featuring advanced electronic troubleshooting. Ten of the booths were for EAA Young Eagles, providing hands-on activities for aspiring pilots.
Kids had the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with aviation legends, as well as take photographs and receive autographs from them during the week.
Corporations were given tours by Majka throughout the week, and each was impressed with what KidVenture had become. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta was, as Majka said, “blown out of the water.”
Next year, the hope is to bring in a full-size nose section of a B-25 aircraft built by kids in Colorado, according to Majka.