I hope you are all noticing a new level of excitement, involvement, and activity within the AKA over the past few months. Certainly the Board members have noticed as they have taken on new projects and commitments designed to make membership more worthwhile and kiting more fun. Here are just a few examples.
We are now producing a bi-monthly E-ffiliates Newsletter. Alice Hayden is coordinating this exciting effort to bring Association information to you, over the Internet, for free. That’s right — even if you are not a member, you can get updates on events, calendar dates, and kite news. All you need to do is go to <www.aka.kite.org> and sign up and you too can become an E-ffiliate. Tell your friends! Over 5,000 people are now getting our email report every two months. And we’d love to see that increase to 10,000!
Speaking of the Internet, we have also begun our monthly online raffles to try and share the excitement of our annual auction with all of you cyber kiters. Rob Cembalest and Al Sparling are recruiting big prizes each month and you can buy a chance at any of them for just $5 at our web page. At any one time, three raffles are available. Log in right now and you can see a complete buggy and kite package ($3000 value), an American Flag banner set ($1000 value), or a set of 10 big Pink Flamingos ($1200 value). No — you don’t need to be a member to win.
April is National Kite Month! Celebrate the joys of kiting and our team of PR professionals will help spread the word! Register your event, workshop, or exhibition on the Kite Month Pages and we’ll take care of publicity for you. And yes, it is free! There are prizes too for the individual, club, or AKA region that generates the most activity. Last year we promoted over 200 kite “happenings” across the USA and now we are expanding internationally. Phil Broder, Lolly Hadzicki, and Sharon Musto are spearheading the committee for this joint AKA/KTAI effort.
What else is going on?? Our newly re-formed Traction Committee is working hard to update buggy racing regulations, develop safety and educational materials, and begin to reach out to the kite surf/board community. Did you know that AKA insurance now covers buggies and boards any time you fly? If you are a kite boarder, you need to be an AKA member. Keith Anderson is one of the Traction Committee Co-Chairs and Steve Santos heads our Safety/Insurance Committee.
Belong to a local kite club? Thinking about forming one?? Contact AKA Club Coordinator Richard Dermer. We have just agreed to drop our annual affiliation fee and you can now sign on with AKA for free. We want every credible club in the USA and Canada to be part of our larger effort, and we’re changing the rules to make it easier.
And finally, it isn’t too early to be thinking about a Fall trip to Fly in the Big Sky! Our national convention will be in Billings Montana during the first week of October. Glen and Tanna Haynes are coordinating an army of volunteers to present workshops, exhibitions, competition, races, fun challenges, and so many old and new friends that you may not find time to share a laugh with each of them. We’re within easy reach of Yellowstone, or the Custer/Sioux battlefields too. So start making plans now.
AKA has hundreds of members outside the USA. With the unfortunate demise of the other kite magazines, our Kiting journal is the only paper publication available and lots of readers think of their dues as a subscription. But there are other good reasons to belong to the AKA as well. Our insurance extends to Canada now. We have affiliated clubs outside the USA. We develop and distribute information about rules used around the world for competitions. And of course, Kite Month now includes a number of international festivals. So even if you live outside the USA, you can still be a part of what we are doing.
That’s just the tip of the AKA iceberg. We’re busy and we’re making things happen. Join us! And remember to have fun out there!