EAA Headquarters, Oshkosh, Wis. – August 9, 2007 – On the surface, Young Eagles pairs a child with a pilot, the latter unveiling the wonder of flight to the former. But EAA’s successful Young Eagles program requires the dedicated commitment of a whole group of volunteers to coordinate ground support, chapter organization, special events planning, and other duties. They’re the reason EAA’s Young Eagles program is the most successful youth aviation program in history.
Several volunteers were recognized for their efforts during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007.
Ground Support Volunteer
Known as "Renaissance Ron" by his peers, Ron Rader of Chapter 1114, based in Apex, North Carolina, has volunteered approximately 1,500 hours to the Young Eagles program.
For a 70-plus-year-old, Ron is a great example of energy gone wild for life. He even volunteers at the local hospital to visit and help out where needed. During chapter Young Eagles rallies, Ron usually works as the registration person, making him the first contact with the public at every rally. He calms nervous parents and encourages reluctant Young Eagles.
"The Young Eagles program is very important to me," Ron said. "I used to watch airplanes as a child with my parents. I want young people to experience the same love for aviation as I did."
At one recent chapter rally, Ron registered 177 Young Eagles at Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He also found time to help set up the food tent and to hand prop several Piper Cubs. Ron has always had intractable nobility that comes with his "advanced maturity" as an aviation enthusiast.
EAA Chapter Coordinator
Duane Huff, of Chapter 690, based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, is a previous EAA Major Achievement Award winner and continues his dedication by serving as his chapter’s Young Eagles coordinator. He has personally flown more than 400 Young Eagles, one at a time, in his meticulously restored, award-winning Aeronca Chief.
"I remember my first ride in a Ford Tri-Motor as a child," Duane recalled. "I wanted to share that type of experience with others. My teaching background and love for aviation was a perfect combination."
Duane also coordinates and conducts airport visits and tours for day care children, school classes, Scouts, and occasionally a group of visually impaired children and special needs students.
EAA Young Eagles Horizons Award
The Emil Buehler Trust was established in 1984 to perpetuate the memory of Emil Buehler and his commitment to aviation science and technology. George Weaver, trustee, accepted the Horizons Award on behalf of the organization.
The Emil Buehler Trust has been responsible for a number of exhibits found in the EAA AirVenture Museum. The trust also funded the Young Eagles’ website renovation, as well as current funding for a research project to create a directory of aviation activities for Chapters and members. Activities were collected from EAA Chapters and from NASA and FAA. The activities will; be arranged by age and complexity allowing volunteers to select the activities that best match their audience and volunteer support. The first draft of the project was distributed to those attending the Young Eagles Workshop for testing and review. To request a copy of the CD, click here.
Phillips Leadership Award
Along with his two sons and wife, Jodi, Brad Doppelt of Helotes, Texas, has led EAA Chapter 35 to the forefront of the Young Eagles national effort using the finest traits of leadership.
Over the past two years, Brad has been responsible for organizing his local Aviation Day, an event where more than 600 Boy Scouts were given the training required to fulfill the Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge.
"We also try to invite the Boys & Girls Clubs to our events," Brad said. "I think it’s important that pilots reach out and help the younger community."
Brad personally ranks high among the national leaders in Young Eagles flights given. Although Brad has been offered numerous chapter officer positions over the years, he has continued to place his emphasis on the Young Eagles program as the most valuable contribution he can make.
In October 2007, Brad plans to once again organize the annual Wings and Wheels event, including, of course, Young Eagles flights.
Young Eagles Director Steve Buss (l) congratulates Ron Rader as he accepts the 2007 Young Eagles Ground Volunteer award.
Duane Huff, EAA Chapter 690, accepts the 2007 Young Eagles Chapter Coordinator award.
George Weaver accepts the 2007 Young Eagles Horizons Award on behalf of the Emil C. Buehler Charitable Trust.
Brad Doppelt, EAA Chapter 35 (l), accepts the 2007 Philips Leadership Award from Allen Bretz, ConocoPhillips Marketing Director of General Aviation Sales.