December 8th, Fireside Chat

Nic O'Neill AKA PresidentDecember is generally a slow time for us kite fliers in the northern hemisphere. The winter winds bring with them snow and little sunlight. While some intrepid souls are still braving the weather and pulling out their ice anchors for kite flying on the frozen lakes, others are heading indoors. Yes… indoor kite flying is a thing, and by now if you are an AKA member, you have most likely seen an article or two in the magazine about it. Perhaps you have attended an indoor kite festival, or competed!  Indoor kite flying is a passion of mine, and often times you can find me dancing around the high school gym to some fun music with my kites.  Recently I took my littlest of indoor kites out to a holiday faire and simply walked around seemingly oblivious to the thing floating over my head. People were amazed and kept coming up to me asking questions. They had no idea that a kite could fly indoors.  To see their smile and joy, and see that amazement spread across their face reminded me of the same look that is on most of our faces this holiday season. It is that childish wonder that we all still hold on to while we have a kite in our hand.  This year instead of gifts of socks and books for my friends and family, I will be giving the gift of kites to those in need. Sometimes it is something as simple as showing a child how to make a kite of their own, and then them flying it that can change their lives. Kites have changed my life, and given me so many incredible opportunities that I feel it is my duty (especially now that I am President) to pass it on. It is my duty to spread the love and joy of kites.

If you are wondering how you can do some of your own kite related help, here are a few suggestions.

  1. Make a donation to the Thank You Charlie Program
  2. Contact your school district and offer to host a kite demonstration and kite making workshop
  3. Purchase 10 easy flying kites, place in your bag marked with a tag that says ‘just for you’. Next time on the field when someone walks up to you and asks about kite flying, hand them one of the kites and tell them to keep it.
  4. Pick up one of the limited edition t-shirts (see below)
  5. If you are an experienced kite builder/competitor find someone brand new and offer to mentor them
  6. Commit to a Mini Makers Faire or STEAM event in your area in the new year, and give away kids kites

 

ktieshirt2 A few days ago we launched a t-shirt fundraising campaign. From now till December 25th, we will be taking orders for this limited edition Kite T-shirt. When the campaign closes on Christmas Day Santa’s elves have a little bit of work left to do. They will work on making this t-shirt and have it in the mail on January 5th. The more shirts the AKA sells, the more money we raise for some of the programs that are really at the heart of the AKA. More funds means more kites to give to kids, more outreach programs for the mental or physically handicapped, more free resources for teachers, more resources for our members, and so much more.  While we have to sell 6 shirts to meet our minimum, there is no maximum number of shirts.  So why not shoot for the moon.  Do you think you can help the AKA sell 100 shirts? What about 500 shirts? It takes all of us pulling together to spread the word about this fundraiser.  So tell your friends, tell your family, tell your coworkers. Share it on your Facebook page, send it out in an email, go to your local coffee shop and tell everyone there about it.  You don’t have to be a member to purchase a shirt. You just have to love kites or know someone who loves kites.  Who doesn’t love kites?!

kiteshirtWhat is really cool about this fundraiser is that there are several options of shirts available. Several colors, lots of sizes, and shirts for both men and women. So you could get your favorite kite flier a shirt, and pick up a matching one for their partner. Do you know a kite team? Why not get them all matching shirts!  What about getting a shirt for your favorite politician or local celebrity? Or you could grab an extra one and give it to someone who doesn’t fly kites, and encourage them to get involved and get a kite in their hand!

www.bonfire.com/aks-campaign/

 

 

If you have not heard, the rumors are true and the official announcement has been made that the 2017 Annual Convention will be held in Ocean City, Maryland October 9th-14th.  Mark your calendars now, and stay tuned to this page for more information about what you can expect and how you can attend.  2017 will be the 40th Annual Convention, and it is set to be one of the biggest parties in the kite world, and it isn’t something you want to miss. The top kite fliers, the best kite makers, and the greatest kite enthusiasts from around the world will be converging on the sands of Ocean City to celebrate. Now is the time to start building that kite you always wanted to build, or maybe now is the time to try your hand at building your own kite!

Guess what, the Kiting Magazines archives are being migrated over. It will take a bit longer for the full archives to be populated on the page. You can find the archives here. (http://kite.org/education/kite-resources/magazines/kiting-magazine-archives/)  This is a work in progress and will be completed by the end of the year, so please be patient with us as we continue to update it over the next month.  Current issues will be stored on the AKA Member’s Only page.  Hopefully, by the end of the year we will also be able to migrate over the remaining information that was stored on the forums. This includes Kiting+, the Past BOD Members lists, and a few other important documents. Some of that will be located on the Members Only page, some will remain on the public page.

Last week proposals went out to our committee chairs. 2017 looks like it is going to be an amazing year, and the committees are the driving force behind the momentum that will keep the AKA growing. It isn’t too late to step up and express your interest in helping out on one of the committees. You can either email the chair of the committee (found on the ‘leadership‘ tab here) or you can email me directly and I will get you in touch with them.  There are still a handful of people that have expressed interest in ‘helping’ but not in one particular area. We are working on placing them in an area that will best use their unique skills and talents. It may be January before it is best figured out.

That seems like a lot of information, yet seems to hardly scratch the surface of what is going on. As most of us settle down for the next few weeks to spend time with family and enjoy the holidays, you can rest peacefully knowing that in the wee hours of the night, I am sneaking up to my workshop (where I have some of Santa’s elves in training). We are working tirelessly to start 2017 off right, to not only fully realize the dreams of our members, but to do right by them.

Till the next time, Happy Holidays.

Nic O’Neill

President – American Kitefliers Association