Featured Stories

Youth volunteers instrumental to Fly-in Cruise-in

Annual event is a success because of its community relationships
by: contributed photo Chris Janik, 16, also a long-time volunteer for the event through the Sandy Livestock Club, said he “appreciates older generations of the Kiwanis Club helping kids achieve what they want to do.”

Pancakes, cars and airplanes.

It's a popular combination in Sandy, and a tradition dating back to 1957. Sunday marks the 54th annual Kiwanis Club Fly-in Cruise-in at McKinnon's Airpark, north on Ten Eyck Road from Highway 26.

Events begin at 7 a.m., with the pancake breakfast tradition and morning registration for the cruise-in.

Kiwanis Club president-elect Kimberley Nelson said the event draws 250-300 volunteers each year, and many of them are youths. Kiwanis Club celebrates these community ties, and its relationship with local young people.

'We couldn't do it without them,' Nelson said. 'Kids don't always get that experience of working with different generations. I love the intergenerational thing and being able to mesh with them.'

Among the youth volunteers is Akaela Wafford, 17, who has participated as a 4-H member with the Sandy Livestock Club and volunteered for the Fly-in Cruise-in since fourth grade.

Wafford described the club's symbiotic relationship with Sandy Kiwanis, which donates to Sandy Area Buyers Pool while the Livestock Club helps with the Fly-in Cruise-in.

'They do so much for us,' she said. 'It's a good feeling to help.'

The Livestock Club has about 40 members and everyone is involved in the Fly-in Cruise-in through some capacity, Wafford said.

For six years, Chris Janik, 16, and also a Sandy Livestock Club member, has helped serve breakfast at the Fly-in Cruise-in. He enjoys moving up in volunteer rank each year, but most of all working with adults 'who want to see kids achieve what they want to do.'

Moving up in volunteer rank is a common memory for Sandy Livestock Club members, who have enjoyed the tradition of starting in the hangar to volunteer during the breakfast and then moving below the hangar to sell hot dogs and drinks.

'It's an honor,' Wafford said. 'I enjoy being more involved with the public. It's fun to hear how they are enjoying the car show.'

Another group of young people involved in the event are Boy Scouts of Sandy.

Kent Blaisdell said his cub scouts, ages 6-10, are there at 7 a.m., ready to bus tables.

'Seeing the boys having fun (at the Fly-in Cruise-in) gives me all kinds of joy,' the cub master said.

Blaisdell has been involved in scouts for more than 40 years and says participation in the event is 'a new way to come back.'

Each year, the Fly-in Cruise-in raises between $13,000 and $16,000, Nelson said. This money is all funneled back into the community.

Most of the funds raised benefit Kiwanis Club's Christmas basket program, which donates 400 baskets to families in need each year.

An Easter egg hunt in Meinig Park that draws about 400 children is the next largest program to receive funding.

The rest of the funds are distributed between programs Kiwanis Club supports, including Sandy Area Buyers Pool and the foundation at the high school for sports and activities.

As in past years, Nelson anticipated an early morning Sunday, but looked forward to sharing the classic tradition with more than 3,000 fellow Kiwanians, volunteers and community members.

'They get their volunteerism and are happy to be a part of it,' Nelson said of the young volunteers involved with Fly-in Cruise-in.

For more information about the Fly-in Cruise-in, visit sandykiwanis.org, call Kimberley Nelson at 503-819-0511 or call Norm Hinote at 503-637-3303.