March 2000 

 President's Corner


Why do we want, or need, to belong to the EAA on the local Chapter level?

Over the past several months this question has been a topic under discussion among a group of Chapter 54 members.  We have approached several non-members for recruiting purposes and on several occasions when we tried to persuade them to join our Chapter, they replied by saying, "what's in it for me, why should I join?"  We were not able to give them a quick answer, so we have been mulling it over among ourselves and still have not come up with a definitive answer.

On a personal level, I thought back and tried to remember my own motives for joining a Chapter.  What motivated me to join the EAA back in 1971, was a visit  to the EAA Museum which was then located in Hales Corners Wisconsin.  What I saw there then impressed me so much that I immediately joined the organization.  I began to receive the magazine, Sport Aviation, and read a little about the Chapter organization.  I then wrote a letter to Headquarters to get a list of local Chapters and on that list I found the phone numbers for a local Chapter.  I called for information, attended a meeting and then joined Chapter 60 in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Back then when you joined the EAA, you received-with your membership-a set of drawings for an EAA Biplane at a very reduced cost. I opted for the drawings and that is how I got started. I didn't know one thing about aircraft building and the only tools I owned were a screwdriver, slotted style, a pair of rusty pliers and a beat up carpenter's hammer.  I was desperately in need of advice and a lot of help.  I found this advice and help through my fellow Chapter members who were experienced and knowledgeable.  There are always a bunch of experienced and knowledgeable people within the Chapter structure who are more than willing to share their expertise {and even in some cases their tools} with the neophyte.

Many, many times I needed the kindness and generosity of many of these great people.  It was always through the Chapter membership that I was able to obtain this kind of advice and assistance. Without the Chapter organization, I don't know how I could have obtained the assistance, and without it I would not have been able to finish my airplane.

Over the years, I have accumulated what tools I have and the experience and knowledge that I now possess.  I am now in a position to pass experience on to my new found friends within our Chapter.  To me, that is the essence of the Chapter.  THAT is why were here!  We, as Chapter members, have a common interest; airplanes and the building, repairing, restoring and flying of them.  Along with the building, repairing, restoring and flying of these airplanes, we also create a terrific opportunity for a social structure.  We make really good friends and through these friendships we create opportunities for a whole family participation.  Our annual banquets, our pancake breakfasts, our pig roasts and our recently revived pot-luck meals, have been a great catalyst for family oriented events within the Chapter.

Through all these years as a participant in the EAA Chapter organization, it has always been a very rewarding, pleasant experience for me and my family.  As I have said before, I really treasure the friendships that I have come to know and I have acquired a great many pleasant memories.

We will soon be drafting a document that explains our Chapter Mission.  I believe that Scott Hutchinson already is in the process of drafting such document.  It will eventually be included in a packet that will be given to each new member as they join the Chapter, along with several other pertinent documents and materials.  There will be some announcements forthcoming.

There will be a board meeting on Wed., Mar. 8th at the Chapter house.  The meeting should start at 7:30 P.M.  On the agenda will be the discussion of the job description for the Director of Events.  Leif Erickson holds that position and we can brainstorm about that.  We need to come up with some dates for pancake breakfasts and also some discussion of the workshop weekend program.  Come to the meeting with some ideas.  Everyone is welcome.

Bill Schanks


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