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Thread: New ideas for Chapter meetings?

  1. #1

    New ideas for Chapter meetings?

    I have been a member of my local EAA Chapter for several years. We do the typical monthly meetings, presentations, Young Eagle flights, pancake breakfasts etc. Recently I was talking to someone who had stopped in to our chapter for a breakfast meeting and was disappointed to find out how little activity there was in our chapter outside of the two hours the Saturday meetings lasts. He winters in Florida and felt that the local chapter there was much more active in the flying aspect of EAA as opposed to being simply a "breakfast club." EAA is indeed about flying and should be much more than simply a monthly opportunity to eat a cheap pancake breakfast. There must be many activities that we could do to energize our chapter and somehow (re)invigorate members with the excitement of aviation - both for our good as well as for the larger aviation (and non-aviation) community in our area.

    I'll start with a few ideas I came up with.

    1. Start an "Open Hangar Saturday" for both members and non-members and take a tour of the airport. There sure are a lot of hangars that I have no idea what lurks behind that closed door!
    2. Start a contest. Several years ago we had a three month contest to see who could land at the most airports in the state. (it was actually written up in Sport Aviation).
    3. Have a chili or soup and sandwich brunch instead of a pancake breakfast.
    4. Poker flights. Fly to five different local airports where you draw a card from a deck and see who can make the best poker hand.
    5. Hundred Dollar Hamburger flights where you take along a member who doesn't or can't fly.
    6. Have a "garage sale" for all those aviation items you had to have and then never used.

    I would love to hear from other members on how they have moved beyond the routine of the pancake breakfast. I intend to join the Chapter Board and see if I might be able to implement some of the suggestions.

    Thanks!
    Steve Houghton

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    One thing our chapter started last year, and which was really popular was a "building techniques" meeting. Four different stations, each teaching different techniques - stitching, riveting etc, etc. The members - builders & non-builders alike really enjoyed the evening - sociable & constructive.

  3. #3
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    I like Janet's idea.

    I'm actually considering having "critique my build" days once I get to that point. Provide beer and food for people to come and go over my work with a fine toothed comb to make sure I haven't overlooked something.

  4. #4

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    I don't know, Steve, "fine toothed comb" & "beer" in the same sentence....

  5. #5
    Hangar10's Avatar
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    Great ideas everyone... keep em coming, and thanks for sharing!

    I may have already posted this somewhere, but I'll add it here too...

    Gadget Night - Share flying or building gizmos, gadgets or techniques. We normally do this a couple of times a year at our meeting.
    Pie Auction - Held in November to help pay for our Christmas Party. We bring in baked goods and then sell them to each other at rediculous prices.
    Christmas Party - Held in December in lieu of our regular meeting. We cater in food, exchange gifts and have a good time.
    Sponsor B-17 and Tri-Motor stops.
    Support a local fly in (not sponsor... just provide manpower).

    We really don't do much more as a chapter outside of the items listed... last year we did Learn to Fly Day and Young Eagles Day activities, but I really wish that we had more building going on, more younger people interested and more events sponsored by the chapter.

  6. #6
    Steve Buss's Avatar
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    Oshkosh, Wis.
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    Great ideas already. Keep 'em coming!

    One you might consider is inviting a CFI to a late winter meeting to talk about how to knock the rust off of your flying skills. You could also have them talk about some maneuvers you can do to keep your skills sharp anytime you go out boring holes in the sky.

    Steve
    Steve Buss
    EAA# 317080

    May your take offs always equal your landings.

  7. #7
    Barnstorm's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    Host a WINGS presentation. Attendees get FAA WINGS credit and it draws in new pilots.Bring in a speaker that flys a category / class not flown in your chapter like gyros, lighter than air, trikes or PPC.I can give both types of presentations if anyone wants me as a speaker around southern Ohio, IN, or n. KY.
    "The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport" Orville Wright
    Tim OConnor, CFI, Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft, Sport Pilot Fixed Wing, FAA Advanced Ground Instructor:..
    You CAN Afford to FLY ! --> http://www.YouCanAffordToBeAPilot.com

  8. #8
    steveinindy's Avatar
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    The beer comes afterwards. Consider it incentive to do a good job.

  9. #9

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    Steve, I'm infamous for dragging a part into a meeting!

    At the holidays we change up the meetings:

    Thanksgiving was a hamburger meet at the restaurant overlooking BHM.
    Valentine's day is "ladies' night" where we do the same, but try and show the wives how sorry we are they married a pilot.

    Sometimes the best meetings we have are very loose in agenda. Somebody will take the opportunity of an "open mike" to say something like "what's the best way to...." and an hour flies by as the conversation flows (often tangentially).

    We judge at the SRFI event down in Central Alabama (but due to work, I haven't been able to attend).
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  10. #10
    alcharlie65's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Headland, AL
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    I'm a newly elected president of our Chapter so I'm looking seriously at all these ideas. One of the problems I encountered when I first moved here was a lack of activities. Membership was declining and there was real friction between the Airport Authority and some of the remaining members. We got a kick start with a fly-out for lunch and combined with EAA's trial membership our Chapter began offering the same discount to new Chapter members. For 2012, I've taken the calendar and broken it down by quarters and now that I'm also a FAASTeam Representative, we are combining a WINGS seminar and Young Eagles Event once each quarter. I liked the suggestion of the Chili Brunch/Lunch so we're going to do that in February. Also we've selected three fly-outs to locations where there are not only good eats but shopping opportunities for our ladies. Seems that many of them are not as interested in looking at airplanes as we guys are. Wonder why??
    Young Eagles is a key ingredient to our growth. We've changed our organization to include an active Board of Directors and are submitting our paperwork to become a Charitable Organization 501(c)(3). Very soon, donations will be tax deductible. We formed a team of our directors to visit the schools and local community leaders to talk aviation careers and have revised our First Flight Plan to include a short cross country giving each youngster a chance to actually fly the airplane. Then we mentor these kids as they progress through their studies, in essence making them members of our Chapter. We also involve their parents and now have two father/son members learning to fly together.
    It takes a lot of work to do these things and volunteers are a critical commodity, but we found that there are over 300 EAA members in our area, most without a Chapter membership. As we continue to grow, we have to solicit these folks to join us.
    Now we're starting to grow and the relationship between our Airport Authority is improving. The community is starting to look at us in a different light. and our economic impact is a little more noticeable. Thanks for some positive ideas.

    Dave Miller
    EAA Chapter 1358
    President Elect

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