Community - Jun 23, 2023
GearKids Focuses On YouthHolly Neumann | Waupaca County News
Program coordinator Hayden Nelson is using his experience as an EAA AirVenture volunteer to get the program off the ground.
“Hayden really has a passion for teaching and working with youth,” Iola Car Show Executive Director Joe Opperman said. “He’s spent several years working with great leaders in the EAA KidVenture area, which is an incredibly well-developed version of what he aspires to create. He took the initiative to try and get the ball rolling on this and we are fully supportive.”
“I thought that with my future career as a teacher, I could start and develop an area for kids at the Iola Car Show to be able to get information and fun activities to the future car enthusiast and swappers,” said Nelson, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point pursuing a degree in education. “I feel that this is a good fit for the Iola Car Show. I also feel that giving the future swapper and car enthusiasts a glimpse into as well as some education about these areas can strengthen the car show and swap world.”
“It’s an important piece that’s really missing from the show,” Opperman said.
The program is aimed at kids up to age 16.
“Some of the activities that will be taking place includes one of our longtime sponsors, the Waupaca Foundry, bringing their Foundry In A Box setup to allow kids to work with the foundry’s staff and make a mold,” Nelson said. “Another one of our activities is a mock swap, where they will take a card to different marked locations and get the card stamped.”
Anyone can participate by visiting the GearKids area, near Gate 3, during the Iola Car Show, scheduled for July 6–8. There are no additional charges to participate other than admission to the show.
“This year will be the very first year at the Iola Car Show,” Nelson said. “We are starting off on a smaller, but good scale and hope to grow it in the future with more activities and partnerships with businesses and sponsors.”
“We’re excited to see how it goes this year and how it continues to develop in the future,” Opperman said. “An important part of sustaining this organization into the future is catching the interests of upcoming generations. We have a very broad audience and it’s important that families and kids enjoy and see value in our event and other events like it.
“Hayden and his team have some great ideas to teach and entertain kids,” he said. “We would really love to see it grow over time. We think a lot of great partners will emerge to help support the GearKids program to help enhance it over time. With Hayden’s passion, it’s off to a great start.”