|Posted by EAA Chapter 1611 on December 5, 2017 at 10:45 PM|
SPOILER ALERT: See the new EAA New Chapter "Launch Kit" unboxing video below.
So as you all know, I took the lead on starting a new EAA Chapter in our area. In doing so I had a lot of communication with the folks at EAA HQ, especially with those at the chapter office. Here are my thoughts on the chapter office and general EAA support of chapters.
When I began this journey to start a new EAA Chapter in the Orange County, NY area, a number of folks I spoke with mentioned that they believed EAA HQ didn't really care about their chapters, and that the chapters were taken for granted. I did find evidence that years ago, there may have indeed been an element of truth to that sentiment.
What I soon discovered is that this did not go unnoticed by the staff at EAA HQ. A few years back the issue of chapter neglect was brought before the board as something that needed to be addressed. The board, understanding that the grassroots work being done by the chapter network has always been the life blood of the entire organization, heard the concern and began to take action. Now it seems there is a concerted and focused effort on the part of EAA headquarters to support and revitalize the chapter network.
There are a number of programs that are relatively new, including one that will be rolled out in 2018 that are, and will be a great help to growing and reinvigorating chapters and general aviation. It seems that folks who have not been involved with a chapter in the past few years, or are part of inactive chapters, may not have even heard of some of these programs.
I was shocked to discover that most EAA members I spoke with were not aware of the "EAA Eagle Flights" program for folks 18+. Or EAA IMC Club. Or EAA VMC Club. And I personally believe that some of those programs if leveraged properly could be a real shot in the arm for inactive, stagnant chapters. The IMC and VMC clubs are a prime example of EAA HQ giving back to the chapters. Club meeting audio/visual and discussion materials are all produced and provided by EAA, and club marketing materials are available also. I believe IMC and VMC clubs open the door to pilots who were never interested in the EAA before, as this is not what is thought of as "typical EAA fare".
EAA also offers chapter leadership training; a two-day program at Oshkosh, and a one-day program offered at various locations around the country. And the chapter growth and management resources available on the eaa.org are outstanding. It covers many topics; marketing and recruitment, programs and activities, youth activities, gatherings, risk management. I personally benefitted greatly from the financial management resources, especially the recorded webinars given by tax attorney Patti Arthur. Patti even makes herself available to answer questions from individual chapter leaders, and she answered a few questions I had for her, directly via email within hours.
In starting the chapter, although I attempted to absorb everything available on the EAA site regarding starting and operating a chapter, I still had a ton of questions. The folks at the chapter office never seem to get tired of seeing and answering my endless emails. They always either had the answer to my questions or suggestions on options for me to consider. John Egan (Manager, Chapters) and Kyle Voltz (Chapter Field Rep) have been fantastic through this and have proven to be excellent resources of information.
My conclusion is that EAA HQ gets it. They do care about the chapters and will continue to provide the resources and assistance necessary to keep this grassroots network growing and strong.
As we had recently sent in our chapter formation forms just a few weeks ago, I received an email from the chapter office stating that I should be receiving a new Chapter Launch Kit. It is a new initiative and we (chapter 1611) are only the second chapter to receive it. See the kit "unboxing" here.
Categories: EAA HQ