Published in Midwest Flyer – December 2018/January 2019 issue
ROCKFORD, ILL. – When it was announced that the Blackhawk Council of Boy Scouts of America was holding an “AirCamp” at Chicago – Rockford International Airport, September 28-30, 2018, and they needed pilots to provide introductory flights, EAA Chapter 1414 in Poplar Grove, Illinois and EAA Chapter 431 in Brodhead, Wisconsin, came to the rescue. Volunteers were EAA Young Eagle pilots.
An AirCamp is a gigantic outdoor encampment sponsored by the Boy Scouts for kids of all ages. Some 5,000 Scouts came for the jamboree-style event on the grounds of the former historic Camp Grant.
Saturday, September 29th was when most of the activities were scheduled, including civilian and military aircraft on display, EAA Young Eagle orientation flights, tower climbing and zip line rides, rocket building, robot battles, mountain bike course riding, kayak races, K9-police dog demonstrations, geocaching/GPS activities, water bottle rocket launches, and model railroad demonstrations.
Some of the Scouts were completing their aviation merit badges, so the Young Eagle flights helped fulfill those requirements. Other Scouts were introduced to aviation for the first time.
For seven decades, the Blackhawk Area Council has served boys ages 6 to 18 and co-ed Venture Crews ages 14 to 21. The council covers 12 counties and has a leadership of more than 3,000 adults who provide the programming and dynamic activities for 12,000 youth who are currently enrolled.
Headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, the council manages two Scout camps, multiple retreat cabins, a leadership development complex, and a multi-purpose conference/meeting facility. Additionally, the Blackhawk Area Council underwrites the cost of providing “ScoutReach” to over 3,200 disadvantaged youth in the region. ScoutReach is the Boy Scouts’ commitment to making sure that all young people have an opportunity to join Scouting, regardless of their circumstances, neighborhood, or ethnic background.
The Blackhawk Area Council is extremely proud that over 7,000 of its young men have been awarded the rank of “Eagle Scout,” which only 4 percent of all Scouts achieve nationwide (www.blackhawkscouting.org).
Scott Crane of EAA Chapter 1414 coordinated the EAA Young Eagle flights.