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Chapter Advisory Council Check-In

By Jim O’Brien, EAA Lifetime 618682, EAA Chapter 1 President, Chapter Advisory Council

June 2017 - As I write this, we are only a few weeks away from AirVenture 2017 and I hope your plans to attend are coming together. Here at the EAA Chapter Advisory Council, we wish you all a summer of safe flight and chapter activity!

In lock step with EAA’s reinvigorated efforts in its commitment to chapters, a group of chapter leaders was selected for the Chapter Advisory Council (CAC). Speaking personally, as well as on behalf of the other members, we feel honored and excited to support EAA and its chapter network at this level. We have the opportunity to help you and your chapter make a difference, and every one of us is enthusiastically interested in doing just that. We all have strong but diverse chapter leadership experience and were selected accordingly to bring the right mix to you, the chapter members.

In the spring of 2016, we assembled in Oshkosh for our first CAC gathering to meet and establish goals, priorities, and define our purpose. All of EAA’s top management attended and, as such, provided us with their personal backing to this much-needed effort, all approved and supported by the entire EAA board of directors. Let us start with some of what has improved so far, just at EAA headquarters, to demonstrate renewed chapter involvement.

Three years ago, the EAA chapter office consisted of one person. The chapter office now has five full-time staff members. Along with the six CAC members, that makes 11 people who are available for an immediate reply to a phone call or an e-mail on any chapter issue or business item. Past EAA chapter visits were sparse, to say the least, and most of them were within an hour or so drive from headquarters. I am here to let you know things have changed dramatically, as 45-plus chapters were visited by EAA staff last year alone. The CAC members hope we can add significantly to that number of EAA leadership visits this year.

If you have not attended or heard of EAA’s Chapter Leadership Academy, it is an incredible two days in Oshkosh. The information presented about the EAA organization, combined with what is available to every chapter, is invaluable. From Young Eagles to risk management, from fundraising to nonprofit status, and from chapter recruitment efforts to elections, everything is covered. Being aware that it is difficult for those of us not in close proximity to Oshkosh, the CAC worked in conjunction with EAA to “bring it to us,” and we succeeded. EAA has conducted six off-campus Chapter Boot Camps around the country, where a condensed version of the Leadership Academy was presented to a region and surrounding chapter leaders were invited to attend. As new Boot Camps are scheduled, you will probably see one or more of us CAC members in attendance, as we are interested in being your immediate eyes and ears back to headquarters. If your chapter has an interest in hosting a Boot Camp, please let EAA headquarters or your local CAC member know.

We have written an official Chapter Advisory Council Charter stating our purpose, and it is slated for EAA approval shortly. The CAC has a chairman and vice chairman, both of whom serve a two-year term, to be staggered so leadership continuity can be maintained. We meet together in person several times each year and have two conference calls each month, one among ourselves and one with EAA chapter leadership staff. Although it has only been a little more than a year since the CAC formed, we feel we have accomplished a lot and have been a positive influence on the behalf of all chapters. Should you have a comment, question, or concern, let your regional rep know so we can make sure your voice is heard.

Each of us CAC members is available directly via telephone or e-mail. We are here to help, guide, and inform you on ways to improve, refine, or even start a chapter. If you haven’t received your Chapter Handbook, please contact EAA or any one of us so that you are sure to get yours, as it’s jam-packed with excellent chapter management information. The chapter staff has put a tremendous amount of hard work into these handbooks, so make sure you and your chapter leadership don’t miss out on any of the information inside.

When contacting us, it is best if you reach out to the CAC member in closest proximity to you. The areas where we live are closely relative to the population of EAA chapters nationally. By e-mailing the general address below, you can be sure that the correct member will contact you. We diligently monitor this.

Matt Simmons             Florida            

Gordon Davis              Kentucky

John Maxwell              Michigan

Darlene Ford               Ohio

Joyce Woods               New Mexico

Jim O’Brien                California


For our Canadian chapters and members, Jeff Seaborn is your liaison for chapter information and assistance. He can be contacted through the above e-mail address as well.

If you plan to attend AirVenture 2017, please stop by the Blue Barn, the new home for chapters and Young Eagles. EAA staff and CAC members will be on hand to share best practices, host forums, and interact with our chapter members from all over the world.

As stated earlier, we are here to help you in any way we can, and we welcome any opportunity to do so. We will do our best to attend a chapter meeting, fly-in, pancake breakfast, and more, so please call on us. We are just as committed to increasing membership and strengthening the chapter organization as EAA is.

We look forward to being of service to you and your chapter!

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