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EAA Chapter 63 — Winnipeg Prepares for Its Annual Pilgrimage to AirVenture
By Jack Neima, EAA Canadian Council
July 2019 - Participation in the chapter campsite is open to anyone who wants to camp and is prepared to pitch in to support the group. Attendance fluctuates during the core week of the annual air show and convention with some members coming and leaving early and others coming and leaving later. Throughout a two-week period starting midweek before the air show and ending midweek after the show attendance averages 25 people, most of whom are Chapter 63 members or people affiliated with the other aviation groups that call the Lyncrest Airport (CJL5) their home.
All are welcome, and the mottos are "the more the merrier" and "many hands make light work." According to Chapter 63 President Tom Stoyka, EAA 402921, the key to making this work is to have all participants pitch in with the chores that must be done. Cooking, cleaning, washing, garbage detail, water detail, and especially shopping for supplies involves everyone, and everyone must buy in.
Everyone is expected to contribute to the pot for supplies, food, etc. and to take on these campsite tasks, usually under the capable direction of Joyce Stoyka. In fact, Joyce is considered by all to be the group's supreme organizer, and with her able but subtle guidance, everything runs smoothly.
A core group arrives early to get first choice of the best first-come-first-served sites in the shade trees and to stake out spots for later arrivals. This dedicated group, led by Tom and Joyce, and usually assisted by at least a couple of others has over many years developed a well-organized and elaborate campsite setup process.
A wide variety of chapter-owned equipment has also been accumulated that results in an impressive setup that is highly visible and the envy of even seasoned Oshkosh visitors. In addition to a large and highly visible canopy, the site also includes a dedicated internet hot spot, electric lights, multiple charging stations, and a typical kitchen that has both food prep and eating areas. The site is completely self-contained, and through the combined efforts of all participants, it can truly be said that chapter members are as comfortable as is possible amid an unbelievably huge sea of campers.
A typical day for Chapter 63/Lyncrest folks starts with a hearty group breakfast about 7 a.m. Following cleanup, people head off on their own or in small groups to sip from the AirVenture fire hose.
Everyone seems to have their own favorite destinations and priorities. People come and go from the campsite throughout the day to rest, share stories of their flight line discoveries and experiences, and refresh to go out and do it all again.
The group usually reconvenes for a group dinner consisting of things like big pots of pasta with fresh garlic bread and wine, Wisconsin brats and corn on the cob, etc. The Lyncrest campsite is a lively spot in the evenings with shared experiences, show and tells, and planning for the next day's activities.
Many of the Lyncrest group have been volunteering at Oshkosh for years and during AirVenture are often working to support their favorite groups, including Young Eagles, EAA Canada, Flight line Operations, etc. It is well known that without the huge army of volunteers, AirVenture as we know it would be impossible to pull off. To their credit the Canadian members from Chapter 63 and the broader Lyncrest airport group continue to do their part. Based on the growing interest and support, 2019 is shaping up as another epic adventure for the Winnipeg group. If you make it to AirVenture this year, look for them in 101 Woods and stop by to say hello. You will be warmly welcomed.