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Chapters 43 and 526 to Volunteer at KidVenture

By David Leiting, Chapter 1342 President, EAA Lifetime 579157

June 2016 - We always search for ways to reach out to the next generation of pilots. As the pilot population ages, the need to engage the younger generation grows even more important.

However, rarely do we talk about the future of our aircraft mechanics. You can search any given aviation marketplace website and find many solicitations for aircraft mechanics. The need for qualified mechanics is massive, but how to fill that void?

During Young Eagles Rallies, most chapters are familiar with teaching kids about the ins and outs of a cockpit, basic aerodynamics, and aircraft navigation, but rarely do our chapters dive into the details of aircraft maintenance.

KidVenture chairman Dan Majka, EAA Lifetime 90726, and his 450-strong volunteer network representing 52 chapters have a great program that addresses this gap. They have come up with an incredibly innovative KidVenture program to help inspire the next generation of aircraft technicians, fabricators, and engineers.

At KidVenture, kids are exposed to eight different workstations that involve skills needed by future A&Ps. These wide-ranging workstations include completing an electrical circuit, riveting aluminum, building wing ribs, and learning the basics of engine, propellers, and hydraulic brake systems.

Many of these workstations are sponsored by aviation companies, but EAA chapters from across the nation get involved. Members of the “Mile High” Chapter 43 (Broomfield, Colorado) and Chapter 526 (Auburn, California) travel to Oshkosh and volunteer their time throughout the week at KidVenture to run the wing rib construction and the engine basics workstations.

Once the kids have completed each workstation, they earn their very own kit of 35 tools. The kids walk away from the event with a sense of achievement—rather than just being given the tools, they earn them and can be proud of what they have accomplished at KidVenture.

Be sure you stop by KidVenture during EAA AirVenture this July. KidVenture is located adjacent to the Air Academy Lodge at Pioneer Airport. This is a great opportunity to see different youth activities, and see if your chapter can incorporate some of these activities into your next Young Eagles Rally!

The efforts of Chapters 43 and 526 show that volunteering at AirVenture with a chapter is a great way to build camaraderie and give back to the next generation of engineers, technicians, and aviators. Imagine what can your chapter do!

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