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How Do You Follow a Young Eagles Event? Youth Workshops, That's How
By Ian Brown, Editor, EAA 657159
October 2020 – Folks, this is a phenomenal idea. It constitutes the best of what EAA can provide to your local chapter to promote growth!
Have you ever flown a Young Eagle and then felt a little sad as they drive off with their parent, not knowing if you've made a lasting change in their lives? Many pilots never see those youngsters again. What can we do to keep the flame flickering?
You may have noticed a recent EAA eHotline email regarding a Young Eagles Workshops program. This promises to be an excellent idea for the vital follow through after your Young Eagles have had that first free flight and then been left to get on with their lives. This is a new way to stay in contact and continue to encourage their interest.
It's certain that there will always be kids who enjoy their first flight but aren't all that interested in getting more engaged in aviation. What are we doing for those who could have become potential chapter members? How are we helping them realize their potential to develop a career in aviation, or even just derive a lifelong enjoyment from the fun of flying? This new Young Eagles Workshops program is a great idea to get those interested youngsters engaged at the next level.
If you haven't been there yet, click on this link to learn more about this program. If your chapter flies Young Eagles, why not get engaged in keeping those youngsters involved? You may have to adapt some of the program to achieve social distancing and hygiene but you'll get a kit including materials and a PowerPoint presentation to help you host your own workshop. You can read a summary of the webinar in this document.
The $35 USD for the kit is the same price for Canadian chapters and includes some freebies, a PowerPoint presentation, letters to parents and chapter members, and includes shipping. Each kit supports up to ten students and it may be worthwhile to charge the per capita cost to the students. It could even used for chapter fundraising if you think that your local area would have students willing to pay a reasonable price. You'll need an event leader. You need to think about offering lunch, and if so, how will you provide it, and what it will cost. You can read more about it in the EAA Young Eagles Workshops Program Handbook.
You'll need a space where the materials can be set up and a presentation can be made to a group. Who knows, the next phase might be to get those kids interested in joining an actual chapter project. You will also need to decide if this is a one-day workshop, once a month for three months, or whatever. How about ordering T-shirts for sale "EAA Chapter xxx, Youth Workshop Class of 2020" or whatever? Remember you'll need to consider sizes!
If you would like to know more about putting on a day camp youth workshop you can watch a webinar about the program here. The program is intended to be run by chapters over potentially multiple days but not needing any overnight stays, involving multiple chapter members. There is an absolute WEALTH of materials and information included in the package including types of aircraft, how they fly, rib building, sectional charts, aerodynamics, basic aviation, and aircraft building, which is a great opportunity to introduce your class to local projects.
The learning activities include materials and instructions for building ribs and provide the students with a take home souvenir. Some of the materials will need to be purchased locally but for pennies, really. Students can build a cell phone holder with aluminum supplied by the chapter. Students can learn to drill, deburr, maybe countersink and rivet, and take home a cell phone holder, while learning about how a 747 wing stays in place.
Why not take the next step after a Young Eagles event and organize a Young Eagles Workshop? You will need a classroom space, either a hangar or a classroom at the FBO or airport, and a drop-off/pickup spot for the kids. What could be more fulfilling than sharing your aviation knowledge and encouraging their interest? Chapter leaders, why not put this on the agenda for your next meeting? You might get some new members to revitalize your chapter.
Many thanks to Megan Hart and John Egan of the EAA Chapters team for their leadership in setting up this program and for sending us this information and to Sporty's Pilot Shop for their generous support of the program.