KidVenture to Captain – Hangar Flying | Aviation


By Barbara A. Schmitz

Britny Connella attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh with her family in 1999, the first year KidVenture began, and after a day of traipsing around the main grounds and not being able to keep up with her father, she and her mother, Tina Stott, found refuge at the children’s activity center at Pioneer Airport.

They’ve been back at KidVenture almost every year since, so it’s easy to see why it holds a special place in Britny’s life. But on Thursday it became even more special when she received her Air Force captain’s coin from Retired Lt. Col. James H. Harvey III, a Tuskegee Airman, at the venue where she now coordinates the artists booth.

“I was very surprised to get my captain’s coin from Lt. Col Harvey,” she said, noting that her mother usually gets her a coin for each rank she achieves and coordinated the surprise. It was coincidental that her promotion date was during AirVenture.

Britny joined the Air Force in 2010 and works as a medical laboratory officer; her time at AirVenture and KidVenture influenced her decision to join the military.

“KidVenture allowed me to do things that were aviation focused, but kid-centric,” she said, noting she brings along her own daughter, 7, who attended her first EAA fly-in and convention at only 7 weeks.

KidVenture Administration Chairman Dan Majka estimated that about 30 percent of KidVenture attendees come back to volunteer as adults. “It is such a good experience, and leaves a good memory and they want to give back,” he said. But Britny has gone beyond that and taken on a leadership role, he said.

Britny said she started volunteering at KidVenture when she was 13, the age you are first allowed to volunteer. “But I unofficially volunteered next to Mom for years before when we weren’t out having fun.” But it’s a family affair as her mother, Tina, is currently KidVenture vice chairman and her daughter, RayLyn; her husband, Randy; and her father, Brady, also volunteer with…

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