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Chapter Hosts at Least Two Public Events in a Year

By Serena Kamps, EAA Lifetime 1011028

This is the first in a series of articles highlighting each of the 10 criteria considered when determining chapter recognition scores. See more information on the chapter recognition program ›

May 2021 – The No. 1 reason why EAA members join chapters is for the aviation activities the chapter engages in. The more activities your chapter hosts or participates in outside of your monthly gathering, the more opportunities there are for participation by your members and the community at large. If someone can't make one event, chances are they'll be able to make the next and for people who love aviation, there are few things more irresistible than aviation activities that give them an excuse to hang around other aviation enthusiasts and talk about airplanes!

In keeping with the importance of activity to chapter success, we have established as one of the recognition criteria that the chapter hosts at least two public events in a year. This has the double benefit of giving your chapter visibility on the airport and the local community a reason to come out to their airport. What qualifies as a public event and counts toward chapter recognition? Any event that your chapter puts in an insurance request for outside of your regular chapter gatherings. While the traditional tried-and-true public-facing events that chapters host are the always-popular pancake breakfasts and Young Eagles rallies, there are plenty of other options as well. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Engage with pilots based at your airport or perhaps nearby airports who haven't been part of your chapter before with these events that directly involve flying (but don't forget to invite non-pilots to ride along on these adventures!)
    • Put on a flying poker run, an aerial scavenger hunt, or navigation challenge.
    • Host a fly-in or fly-out – get a group of pilots together and fly somewhere for breakfast or lunch!
    • Take the fly-out idea a step farther and plan an overnight campout. One chapter incorporates star-gazing into theirs!
  2. Invite the general public out to their airport with one of these exciting events.
    • Host an open hangar/cookout. You'd be surprised at how many members of your community have never been out to the airport before. An open hangar provides an open door to them to come see what they've been missing!
    • Host an aviation movie night. These are always a lot of fun and can be a great activity for families to enjoy together.
    • Invite the local car or tractor club to participate in a wings and wheels event with your chapter.
    • Chapter 932 enjoys hosting a Pilots N Paws event with the local pet adoption center. Adorable furry friends and airplanes! What's not to like?

The ideas are limitless! Get creative and come up with your own! Share your success stories!

Understand that it may take some time to reach this point, but as long as your chapter is regularly involved in a variety of aviation-related activities, you can be reasonably assured, based on the data that we've compiled, that folks will be interested in what you are doing and you will see new faces at your meetings and events.

Unfortunately, all too often, chapters are the best-kept secrets at their airports. It's amazing how many times we hear of stories of community members who have lived in the area for a decade but never been out to the airport often simply because they were never given a reason to. Or the pilots who have been on an airport for years but only recently found out there was a chapter there! Don't let that be your chapter! Start planning your event today and make it your goal to become the face of general aviation to your community!

If you're wondering how you can advertise your event, stay tuned. Next month, we'll cover one specific and very successful method you can use to get the word out that also garners another recognition point for your chapter!

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