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.