Fireside Chat – March 2017

nkm 2017

 

Hey everyone! Sorry for the absence of the Fireside Chats the past two months. So much has been happening that it honestly slipped my mind. Oops! Please forgive me. Hopefully you have felt up to date on the goings on in the kite world via the Regional Newsletters, the supplemental’s, the Facebook Page, or via the Magazine. About half of the membership has already received the new edition of the magazine; the rest should be seeing it delivered in the next week or so. (Depending on mail delivery in your area) After that time, if you still have not received your copy, please let your Regional Director know.

We are half a year away from the big celebration in Ocean City, Maryland this year. October 9th kicks off the 40th Annual Convention for the AKA, and I have to say, that what I am seeing from the Convention Committee folks has been amazing. This year they are going big and planning on making this THE party that you want to be at. If you have not made plans to attend, do so now!!  Registration will be opening for the convention in a few months, and we will be releasing more details as to the list of events.

If you plan on attending and would like to help out; the Convention Committee is actively looking for a Workshop Coordinator. Might you be interested?

The Workshop Chair contacts presenters, covering a wide range of topics, to have them hold workshops once or twice throughout the week. The Chair works with the Convention Chair for supplies,equipment needs, and room assignments for each workshop. Throughout Convention week, the Chair makes sure the rooms are ready, signage posted, and supplies distributed to the rooms. The presenter list has already been started. Please get back with us asap.

In other news, chances are you have heard about this thing called the Rich Comras Memorial Fund. In January the kiting community lost a dear friend, and through the suggestion of his family and friends, a special program was created to honor his passion. To date the Rich Comras Memorial Fund has raised over $20,000 with the purpose of bringing the joy of kites to kids with cancer, and raising awareness of pediatric cancer issues. More details will be released in the future as to how this project will unfold, but I can’t express how thankful the family of Rich Comras, and myself, are for the generous outpouring of support.  If you would like to donate to the fund, please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/rich-comras-memorial-fund

In just over a week starts National Kite Month. Every year I hear the same question: “Why is April National Kite Month?” That is a good question really. Why not a summer month when we are all out playing on the beach or running across our favorite field. For me, National Kite Month is about celebrating kites, all kites, and all kite flying. It is about educating students about kites, and it is about growing the number of kite fliers. It is about that sense of wonder and hope that we had the first time we ever flew a kite.

The sense of ‘spring hope’ that is everywhere else is just as strong in kite fliers. We are all super eager to shed our winter clothes and get to the beach and fly! Indoor fliers (if they are seasonal) are still very active, and the outdoor fliers are just starting to pull their kites out for the first events. Sport kite fliers are writing new routines for the summer competitions, and kitebuilders are flying their prototypes. Let’s not forget about the kids. They are still in school and teachers can have full lesson plans and kite workshops. In fact several AKA members have been working tirelessly over the past few months to provide thousands of kids kites in hundreds of workshops across the states. That number is only going to increase in the next month!

This webpage is about to get really busy with updates about the various goings on and articles during National Kite Month. We are bringing back our featured flier segment and focusing on some of the members that make this organization great. Maybe you will read up on someone you have never met before, or maybe you will discover something new about someone that you have flown with. These are a great way to get conversations started and start making connections with one another within the community. No matter what kite you fly, there is undoubtedly someone else that flies a kite just like it, or has an interest in it, or has built a kite like it. So stay tuned.

Speaking of the website, the Board of Directors has elected to move forward with revamping the website. Over the last few months there has been a lot of reviewing, collecting input, and design discussions. The tentative timeline for the full launch is not till the end of the year, so please bear with us as we try to keep some of the current stuff up to date all the while developing a more streamlined version. By all means keep sending in suggestions, corrections, or questions. A thousand eyes is better than just a few.

Soon we will be hosting another t-shirt fundraiser. The last one was such a great success, and we are excited to bring you another one with different artwork this time! Stay tuned for more information on how you can get your hands on one of these limited editions t-shirts.  For those that scored a shirt in the last fundraiser, make sure to snap a photo of you wearing it and share it with us. We would love to have a photo album of everyone for here on the webpage.

I am looking forward to hearing from you, and do please keep sending in your questions, emails, comments and concerns. My apologies if I am a touch slow to respond to them, I promise I do read each and every one. Signing off for now, because you will be hearing a lot more in the coming weeks!

 

Nic O’Neill

President – American Kitefliers Association