I'm new to aviation, earning a Sport Pilot's license (found the instructor thru the EAA list) and starting on building a little Nieuport 11 replica.
Having built the rudder (not a bad first try, but not a good one, either), I carried it up to the local Chapter 152 of the EAA here in Birmingham, Alabama for my first meeting. The warm welcome and constructive advice were almost overwhelming - here were guys that were on airplane number three or four with zillions of hours on the stick looking at me with knowing smiles and a glad hand.
Nobody called me crazy, which is kind of nice compared to everyone else that finds out my scheming. Or, rather, they understood my kind of crazy.
They asked if I wouldn't mind getting a few calls from folks working on tube-and-gusset planes. Heck yeah, I sure would. A few days later I was invited in an experienced builder's workshop to look at a very nice ultralight project and hands-on lessons in fabrication and covering.
If one wants to know how an EAA chapter should work, this is the template.