November 10th, 2016 Fireside Chat

the-election-is-overGreetings members!

I wanted to touch base with everyone and let you know what is in the works. First and foremost, the website. Yep, there is a lot of content, link, and layout fixes coming through. It will take a little bit of time as we clean up and tick off each item on the grand to-do list, and undoubtedly this will never be a job that is fully done. If you notice something missing, say something. We may already have it on the list to do, but a thousand eyes looking is better than just a few sets of eyes!

Committee appointments have been announced. You can find the full listing under the leadership tab. The first emails will be going out to the appointed Committee Members this week. There are still a few open positions, so if you would like to volunteer your time please speak up. ((Fighter kite people, I am looking right at you!)) If you would like to simply help out but don’t have the time for a full committee appointment, please contact me directly (president@aka.kite.org) and put in the subject line ‘I want to Volunteer’. There is a growing list of tasks, some of which are one time, some of which may be a bit longer. In an effort to best match skill sets to the task there will be a quick little questionnaire to fill out.   The plan for the committees this year is to provide them with complete proposals and a set of tasks. Over the year they will take action on the proposals and we will create a healthy relationship for growing new ideas.  This past month I have been going through all of the previous meeting notes and files and have found that there is a LOT of great ideas and projects. Some of those ideas never saw the light of day, or never really got far off the ground.  Hopefully with the new project management systems that we are putting into place, and the fresh perspectives, we can see the suggestions you have been making over the past few years come to life!

The convention crew is riding the wave of momentum from Seaside, and getting some big things in the works for next year. Ask those that attended Seaside, it was a heck of a party, and 2017 looks to be an even bigger one!  If you have a suggestion for something you would like to see at the AKA convention, fill out this survey. Even if you did not attend the convention, you can still add your input as to what you would like to see next year. Scroll down to the end of the survey and there is a space for you to add your thoughts. Unless you add your contact information or your name, this is a completely anonymous form.

I want to take a second and speak to the concerns I have been hearing from some of our ‘legacy’ members. These are the folks that have been members for a long time, they have seen many iterations of leadership, and they have been long time supporters of the AKA. First of all, if I have not had a chance to say it in person: THANK YOU. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Thank you for keeping the heart of the AKA alive. Your love, your passion, your support has been one of the key reasons that the AKA is still alive. Thank you. I have been chatting with quite a few of you, and one of the consistent things I keep hearing is “YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!!!”  Yes, I fully agree. I know right now everyone is eager to see action. I am eager to see action and get everything rolling. But, I also do not want to jump in head first without the right systems in place. All of the suggestions for changes to the organization are being compiled and added to our new project management systems. Before making changes, we want to ensure the all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. We also want to make sure that we set up and execute these programs so that they can be ‘legacy’ programs. Ones that out live my presidency, ones that can evolve and grow with the organization.

All of that planning, brainstorming, and project management prep has been the main focus for the last month. It has been rather all consuming, and I hope that I have not left any of our members feeling like they are in the dark about what is going on. The rest of the leadership has been working tirelessly to communicate with fellow members, line up work processes, and ‘thought dump’ into our collective brainstorming pile.

As for myself, I like to imagine I am standing atop a ocean going cargo freighter, and in my hand is a canoe paddle. In order to steer this ship, I have to make lots of little adjustments here and there. At no point can I stop paddling, at no point can I just coast.  I have to keep my eye on the horizon and focused on where we are going.  While my little paddle might make some micro adjustments, our ship starts to see the big sweeping changes when we each pick up a canoe paddle and pull together. Imagine what this organization is capable of when ten, twenty, a hundred, or a thousand people all come together and collectively work towards something. Imagine how easy it would be if each one of us took 5 minutes to do something for say, the Thank You Charlie Program. If each member did that, it would be over 150 man hours dedicated to putting kites in kids hands. If in one hour of collected time you could cut and prepare 80 kids kite kits, that would be 12,000 kites. 12,000 children that learn about kite flying. 12,000 kids with a smile on their face. 12,000 kids who have created and flown something that is uniquely their own. That is 5 minutes of your time to help 12,000 kids, would you do it?

Till we meet on the kite field, or till the next Fireside Chat – Fair Winds!