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Until Next Year
By Cassie Bruss, EAA Human Resources Business Partner and Manager, Volunteer Programs
June 23, 2020 – Summers in Wisconsin are a time to sit back and relax with family and friends after a typically brutal winter. The weather is usually nice and there is always a music festival, county fair, or breakfast on the farm (my kids' favorite) to enjoy the company of others. However, 2020 has been full of not-so-pleasant changes. By April, many festivals and events were being canceled around the country. Then, on May 1, EAA announced AirVenture 2020 would be canceled. While the reasoning is sound, and I too want everyone to remain safe and healthy, I, like most of you, felt a deep sadness. When I talk to new EAA team members in preparation for AirVenture, I mention the long hours, huge crowds, and sweltering heat, but I focus on the people, especially the volunteers. You all are at the center of EAA AirVenture culture!
I've seen many chairmen put together videos for their volunteer groups to wish them a great summer, and let them know they will all be missed and that their AirVenture family reunion would be even better in 2021. This is just another reminder that the airplanes bring people together, but the people keep everyone coming back. The multi-generation volunteer groups continue to astound me, and I'm still looking for ways to bottle that mentality, attitude, and perseverance so I can inspire more people who haven't volunteered in the past.
AirVenture 2020 would have been my fourth AirVenture. I feel like, by now, I've worked through all the kinks, but by no means consider myself a pro (yet). After the initial sting of the cancelation wore off, I quickly went into a glass-half-full mentality and saw this as an enormous opportunity to focus on areas that we weren't able to previously with the demands of AirVenture. As I look around, many others are doing the same.
Our facilities team is hard at work using this time to prepare for 2021 already! There is an EAA team dedicated to the new Spirit of Aviation Week to engage everyone digitally. Several EAA team members have been repurposed to other departments in an effort to get ahead on necessary operations. There are many more examples of our EAA teams using this time to reflect on their operations and make improvements. We aren't wasting any time!
Please take the time to reflect as well. If you're a longtime volunteer with a thought on how to make things better in your area, please share your ideas with your chairperson. If you have volunteered off and on over the past few years and are looking for a new opportunity, please reach out to me. We have many exciting opportunities for volunteers. And if you're one of EAA's summer-long volunteers, hold tight for now. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we ramp back up our operations from COVID-19.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 will be amazing, and I look forward to seeing many of you next summer. There has to be a few rainy days to appreciate the sunny ones, and this will be no different! This will be our final volunteer newsletter of this season. If your volunteer family does get together at some point over the summer, please shoot me an email with a picture (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'm sure everyone would love to see what you've all been up to in our first volunteer newsletter of next season. Until next year, stay safe and healthy!