KidVenture, a part of EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. According to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, about 601,000 people were in attendance for the fly-in and weeklong events with roughly 134 takeoffs/landings per hour.
KidVenture allows children to explore aviation through many hands on activities while earning FAA credit toward an A&P certificate. The event takes place at Pioneer Airport’s Wittman Hanger and began on July 23 and runs until July 29.
Waupaca Foundry joined in on the fun and brought its Foundry in a Box to the event this year.
At the Wittman Hanger, kids had to wait in a line to make their own medallions. They then hand packed sand into molds and assisted in the pouring, shakeout and cleaning processes. The medallion has the Waupaca Foundry logo on one side and the KidVenture logo on the other and is attached to a KidVenture and Waupaca Foundry lanyard.
Foundry employees from the Waupaca, Wisconsin plants were in attendance. They volunteered their time to help expose visiting youth to the art of modern manufacturing and STEM-related careers in the U.S. “We have the best ambassadors for metalcasting you could find. Our employees are very passionate about Waupaca Foundry and sharing what we do with the next generation,” Greg Miskinis, director of research and process development, said.
More than 1,500 castings were made, and not only by children. Even adults took the time to create their own casting.
“Most people have no understanding of how the parts that make their life work are made. They don’t have any idea what a casting is or the importance of what a casting is. It is an opportunity to see something new that they have never seen before and learn something new they haven't learned before,” said Bill Lund, chairmen for KidVenture.
KidVenture has grown tremendously since it first began in 1998. “Years ago before [KidVenture] started, there was nothing for families to do. It was strictly a guy thing,” Jan Stadt, co-chairman of KidVenture said. The program now offers kids a fun, but educational, outlet at the event.
“We’re offering experiences you cannot get anywhere else. That’s what makes it special. We are planting a lot of seeds in here and those seeds are going to grow pretty strong,” Lund said.