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Chapters at AirVenture — Top Fun
EAA Chapters Staff
August 2022 –
Enjoyed EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022? If you want more of it, then join or form an EAA chapter or EAA Warbirds squadron at your local airport. Just like EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, EAA chapters are all about socializing and education, connected through aviation. Our nearly 900 and growing EAA chapters participate in many aviation activities similar to those experienced at AirVenture, with the added benefit of them being close to home and managed directly by chapters.
Chapters are a great place to stay involved in aviation at home, and many chapters also participated in chapter activity at AirVenture. One way they did so was through the EAA chapter group camping program. This year, 80 chapters and squadrons called EAA AirVenture’s Camp Scholler their home away from home for at least a week. What better way to experience AirVenture than with your closest aviation friends from your local chapter. Here in the EAA chapters office, we believe EAA chapter members are the most engaged EAA members, as they live the spirit of EAA all year long. As a means of appreciation to these groups, we offer the chapter group camping program. In this program, chapters have the opportunity to camp as a group, opposed to being scattered throughout the campground. Chapters that camped together reported back to us that it makes their chapters better due to cementing friendships through camping. Consider engaging your chapter in group camping in 2023.
During your AirVenture visit, I hope you made a path to the Blue Barn, home of chapters and Young Eagles at AirVenture. The Blue Barn provided AirVenture visitors a place to learn about all the chapter programs EAA has to offer. From EAA’s newest youth program, AeroEducate, to some of the oldest and most popular programs, the Blue Barn had EAA staffers and chapter volunteers ready to share best practices to help chapters provide value-added content for their members to find a pathway to aviation.
At the Blue Barn, it was so fun to see the creativity from EAA chapters and Warbirds squadrons through the chapter directional signs and chapter-decorated Adirondack chairs dropped off at the barn. Chapters design, build, and bring these fabulous works of art to the Blue Barn for all the aviation world to see. If you missed the Blue Barn this year, you missed a big slice of chapter pride in full color. If you think it’s too difficult to bring an Adirondack chair to AirVenture, consider doing what EAA Vintage Chapter 25 from Sacramento, California, did. It brought a chair in kit form, making it compact for travel, and then had its chapter’s Ray scholars and other teenage members reassemble it at the barn.
When we introduced the concept of EAA chapters and squadrons designing and delivering an arrow sign pointing toward their home with the distance on it, we never guessed the artistic value these would bring. It has gotten to be a bit of a design competition. Be sure to stop by the Blue Barn next year to see the innovation. We now have about 100 chapter signs, so be sure to bring your chapter sign if it’s not already at AirVenture. Signs should be made of a 1-by-6-inch pine board about 24 inches long.
Not a member of an EAA chapter? Not a problem. The Blue Barn had a huge map of the United States and Canada showing locations of all EAA chapters and Warbirds squadrons; all are welcome at EAA chapters. Although AirVenture has passed, a virtual chapter map can be found online via the link at EAA.org/Chapters. Here you can locate a chapter nearest your home along with that chapter’s website and contact information.
The Blue Barn is all about learning and sharing knowledge to and between chapters. EAA staffers and guests hosted chapter-related forums throughout the week, with exhibits of EAA programs offered to chapters to engage in. This year EAA Chapter 1522 from Cynthiana, Kentucky, brought its chapter-youth-built RV-12 airplane. This is the same “project in the works” airplane that showed up at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 in a UPS 747 and was displayed on Boeing Plaza. It’s now finished and was displayed at the barn. Also new in ’22 was a Cleco competition game brought by EAA Chapter 1612 of Oklahoma City. The game allowed EAA chapter representatives to compete in Cleco insertion and removal based on time. Looking back, the Cleco competition would have been a great prerequisite for working on the successful Sonex Waiex-B One Week Wonder build this year at AirVenture.
It would be a big miss not to mention the terrific pancake breakfasts many of our EAA chapters hosted this year in the Camp Scholler Chapters Pavilion. Chapters had great fun hosting all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts and taking home the proceeds. Each year, chapters lobby to host a pancake breakfast in the campground. This year, more than 4,400 meals were served throughout the week.
Each year at AirVenture we also recognize a few of the many dedicated chapter members through achievement awards including Best Chapter Website Editor, Best Chapter Newsletter Editor, and EAA Major Achievement Award winners. Congratulations to this year’s winners:
Best Chapter Website Editor
Ian Heritch, EAA 35
John Slemp, EAA 690
Karl Aber, EAA 846
Ryan Griffin-Stegink, EAA 234
Best Chapter Newsletter Editor
Eric Blomberg, EAA 13
George Young, EAA 179
John McKiernan, EAA 485
Karl Aber, EAA 846
Major Achievement Award
Lewis Mason, EAA 35
Neil Bowden, EAA 322
To say EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 was fun is an understatement. It was “top fun.” This was made possible by all of our dedicated EAA volunteers who worked so hard to execute the best AirVenture ever. Thank you to all EAA chapter and squadron members who volunteered!
When planning your trip to AirVenture 2023, be sure to include a stop at the Blue Barn, home of EAA chapters and Young Eagles, and learn more about chapter life.