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Dan Majka Named Chairman’s Award Recipient
By Sam Oleson, EAA Social Media Coordinator
July 24, 2018 - For all Dan Majka has done to help EAA and promote general aviation, he always makes sure to point out that he hasn’t done it alone. Since starting KidVenture 20 years ago with a small team of volunteers, Dan, EAA Lifetime 90726, has directly and indirectly influenced countless lives.
Dan has been named the recipient of the 2018 Chairman’s Award, which honors an individual whose aviation participation and contributions represent the essence of EAA.
“I look at it not as myself being selected, I look at it as a tribute to thousands of KidVenture volunteers that have been here over the years,” Dan said. “Every year we have like 450 volunteers. One person could not accomplish this.”
Dan began volunteering with EAA 45 years ago, starting with “grunt” work before moving up the ranks. In 1997, he became an EAA board member and the next year he was part of the team that developed KidVenture, which has been his primary focus for the past two decades.
As a teacher for 34 years, Dan has a special connection to educating children and that’s what he loves to see happen at KidVenture.
“I always enjoyed seeing the excitement in kids’ eyes when they learned something,” he said. “When I was asked by [former EAA President] Tom Poberezny to come up with this plan for KidVenture so that we could inspire the next generation, it fit right up my alley. My success and the reward that I get is not through awards and stuff like that, it’s through seeing the excitement in a kid’s eyes. A lot of my past attendees are now my volunteers. They see the value in it and they’re contributing back, which shows we’ve really accomplished something.”
Dan’s goal from the beginning was to help get kids interested in aviation and there’s no question he’s done that.
“The first year [of KidVenture] we had 50 volunteers from my chapter who were helping us. We were expecting 500 kids, literally — 2,000 showed up the first year. Last year, we had about 21,000 kids go through. That’s how we’ve grown exponentially,” Dan said. “KidVenture is about offering kids the exposure to things they might not have elsewhere.”
Dan will be presented with the Chairman’s Award at the EAA Annual Membership Meeting on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at Theater in the Woods.