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EAA Volunteers - The Arcamuzi Family
By Katie Holliday, EAA 1163276
April 20, 2016
EAA would be nowhere without its volunteers. In honor of National Volunteer Month, we are highlighting some of EAA’s amazing volunteers.
For the Arcamuzis AirVenture is a reunion, and from the first glance you can tell this group is a family. There’s a ready smile on every face and a welcoming atmosphere surrounds them. Although they were gathered at the AeroClub they were as at ease as if they were at a family gathering rather than volunteering on the A-Team at the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.
“We call ourselves the C-Team,” Annie Arcamuzi said laughing, with broom in hand. The C in C-Team, she said, is a reference to their early arrival to AirVenture to help with cleaning and set up in a variety of areas, which they do each year.
“We plan our summer travel to be in Oshkosh a week early,” Mike Arcamuzi, Annie’s husband, said. “It’s the anchor point of everyone’s life. We plan vacations around Oshkosh.”
Mike first came with his dad and brothers-in-law in 2000, and the next year brought a couple of his daughters along.
“As soon as they saw the wall of fire, ice cream, and chocolate, they were in,” Mike said.
Now, more than a decade later, Mike, Annie, and their children still camp together in Camp Scholler every year.
Like in so many aviation families, the kids grew up surrounded by a love for all things airplane. “They grew up with a father who loves going to work,” said Mike, who is a check airman for FedEx. “It became infectious.”
Mike also gave his kids a pretty good incentive to follow in his footsteps. “I told the girls they had to solo before they could get their ears pierced,” he said. “So they all soloed.” But his youngest child, and only son, wasn’t keen on the prize at the end of the runway. “Harry said, ‘Well, I don’t wanna get my ears pierced,’” Mike said as Harry grinned somewhat sheepishly. “So he got an iPhone 5.”
His efforts have paid off as four of his five children are pursuing careers in aviation. At the time of writing Harry was studying for his private pilot written exam and hopes to be an airline pilot.
“Stephanie graduated from Mid Tennessee State in three years,” Mike said, adding that she and Alex were both recently hired as first officers on Cessna 208s with SeaPort Airlines. “Nikki was always more interested in engineering, so she’s pursuing that.”
And the interest wasn’t just in aviation in general or a desire to pursue a future in aviation; the kids caught the volunteering bug early, too. According to Annie, the kids volunteered at KidVenture early in its development and as they grew older took on larger projects and responsibilities.
“Samantha (the second youngest) had an interest in fabrication and helped weld some of the tables that you see on the grounds when she was still pretty young,” Mike said. The whole family works with EAA Business Development during AirVenture, and at AirVenture 2015 the three oldest daughters, Nikki, Stephanie, and Alex, were asked to escort the women of WASP during WomenVenture on July 22. “They absolutely loved the idea of escorting the WASP,” Mike said.
“Every one of my daughters has attributed their success to the people they work with at EAA. The people they’ve met throughout the years…taught them how to be professional, and that gave them a leg up being exposed to professional individuals at EAA.”
EAA is a family, and much like a family it needs young people to keep it going. Getting them interested and involved in aviation early is the key to create the next generation of pilots, mechanics, and volunteers.
To learn more about EAA’s volunteer opportunities, please visit our website.