What’s significant about your 20th anything? Most of us can likely recall turning 20 years old; some may recall their 20-year high school or college reunion …. Heck, when my children turned 20, I recalled just how quickly those years had elapsed. So, I am guessing most of us can look at some 20 year benchmarks as just a blink in life’s eye.

The same can be said about the RAF. It really does seem like little time has passed since those six of us were sitting around the campfire talking about the need for an organization like the RAF. About all we had were some ideas, some energy, and some vision – and limited resources. But on reflecting on those 20 years, much has occurred. This organization – voted “least likely to succeed” more than once from the established aviation community to the halls of D.C. – grew from six of us to now 11,000. And thanks to all of you joining the mission, we have gained wisdom and resources.

What do we feel is most significant about the RAF at 20? We are the recognized leader in volunteerism and very proud of it. We started out as all volunteers, and the RAF has fostered that culture these 20 years. Sure, it might have been easier to do all this with paid help, but we simply had faith that volunteers could accomplish great things for the RAF. And you have proved us right. You have been part of a movement to save special places we call “the backcountry.” And in partnership with others with common goals, we are proud to own that term. You, the donors and the doers can be justifiably proud of the successes we share.

We’ve grown up some, gotten an education, and surrounded ourselves with good friends who are smart and generous.

So, when we meet throughout this coming year in these special places, let’s celebrate in the spirit of a 20-year reunion. Let’s raise our glasses to the organization, pat one another on the back, thank a volunteer, applaud our partnerships, and celebrate the backcountry. It’s truly an event you’ll want to be part of. 

Recreational Aviation Foundation
John McKenna, Chairman

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The Recreational Aviation Foundation preserves, improves, and creates airstrips for recreational access.

Submitted on November, 30, 2022.


  1. Kevin Johnson on December 1, 2022 at 7:24 am

    The amount of work done by the RAF in the last 20 years is truly remarkable. As the motto says “preserves, improves, and creates airstrips”, is real. The improvements made to the strips I’ve flown into is amazing and I plan to get to a few more this coming year. Everyone involved should be very proud of the accomplishments, but if not for the original six we wouldn’t have this great organization that I’m happy to be part of. Thanks to you all

  2. Greg Anderson on December 1, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    A big thank you to all the volunteers! When I finish my Kitfox in a year or so, I plan to become one of them.

  3. Margie Prill on December 15, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    The picture of the little girl with the fire wood at far left is my granddaughter, Kylie, who is now 15. She has been a part of the RAF since her infancy. Here’s to the next generation of RAF volunteers, supporters, and “enjoyers” of recreational aviation.

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