Whether it’s an EAA chapter, Kiwanis Club, or any other volunteer organization, the leaders of those groups are all too often acutely aware of the 20 percent rule. Seemingly, regardless of the size of the group, at any one time that group’s leaders can count on about 20 percent of its membership to actively participate in just about any activity the group might want to conduct.
Sadly, all too often that 20 percent of folks are the same ones the organization comes to rely upon, event after event. I say sadly and I really shouldn’t, as these folks provide the backbone and continuity of most chapters. But as such, they are certainly more susceptible to the activity “burnout” factor that seems to partner with being so involved.
Fortunately, there are exceptions, and as president of Chapter 939, I have the luxury of almost never having to worry about the 20 percent rule. Located on the coast of southeastern North Carolina, our chapter calls the Cape Fear Regional Jetport (KSUT) home. We are a small chapter, just over 30 members, but at any given time, we can count on at least two-thirds of the group to support just about any chapter activity.
Through our spirit and zeal for flying, we are able to hold quarterly pancake breakfasts and fly nearly 200 Young Eagles annually, and just recently, we staged our first “Wings & Wheels” event, drawing 50 classic cars, 20 airplanes, and somewhere near 100 interested folks from the community. But the real story here is not just the high level of participation at the chapter level.
This event was designed to bring not only the airport community together but to showcase the airport to the general public, give people a reason to come out and see how things work, profile the businesses there, and perhaps extend a hand to help build a bridge across that gap of misinformation that so often shrouds an airport from the general public.
Were we successful? One pilot asked how many years we had been doing this, and when informed this was our first attempt, he was clearly dumbfounded. Chapter members reported they were repeatedly asked if this was going to be an annual event or when would we be doing it again. One chapter member said it best:
“With spirited members, the chapter can do anything.”
Isn’t it great when some rules don’t apply?