Hi, everyone! It’s Region 8 Director, Gayle Woodul, stepping in as Guest Commentator for the AKA Corner! We’re off to a new year with new kiting events; some “standards” and some initial endeavors. I know in this part of the country, it can become a true juggling act trying to maintain the continuity of the large and established venues, plus have the energy, time, and manpower to promote the smaller programs such as Libraries, schools, and local parks! I know it all gets exhausting! But we have to remember that the large events were once just local get-togethers, so all have the possibility to reach out and touch new kiters and varied audiences with the wonder of our sport and our passion. Therefore, all of them require our full time attention.
Even the smaller local events are realizing that, due to the stringent requirements of many local parks, AKA sanctioning just makes good sense! In this area, there are many local parks which won’t even consider a special event on their grounds without an independent insurance umbrella specifically for that sport. Sanctioning also means that AKA safety personnel are overseeing the event and basic safety criteria have been met, plus the Regional Director has cleared the venue and the AKA personnel who are in charge. That’s a lot of peace of mind for a small fee!
Speaking of organizers, those of you who read my column in KITING magazine already know this, but I want to spread a note of appreciation to everyone in the sport. The short version is “thank you for all that you do to share kiting”. The longer version includes everyone from the organizers who make the phone calls and do the promotion, to the kiters who go out and rope off the fields, to the flyers who always seem to have extra line – or even extra kites – to share with anyone in need, to the people who bring a cooler full of sandwich stuff instead of just a sandwich for themselves. YOU’RE the backbone of the sport who make these events happen and bring the camaraderie and sharing that make kiting with your friends the joy that it is!
AKA dues were increased??? Woof, woof, woof!… yep – I hear you out there! As awkward as a price increase may be, sometimes it’s just necessary! I wish the price of gas was the same as it was in 1999… or restaurant meals… or even coffee (that’s enough about MY vices… what are YOURS?). Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Of course, insurance is an industry that saw a huge increase in the past few years due to different occurrences, and a major expenditure of the AKA operating expenses is just that – insurance. We have great coverage with a great agency, but we all know that prices have risen. So, if times are tough, skip a night out for dinner for just one evening and make Mac & Cheese to cover the cost increase. In addition to your OWN benefits (what I call, “What the AKA can do for me…”), you’ll be supporting your sport through many other avenues (which I call, “What the AKA is doing for kiting…”) such as:
- Teaching materials available to schools and Libraries
- Subsidy of local events and kite clubs
- The outreach program, National Kite Month
- Rules, guidance, and plans for Kitemaking, Fighters, Sport Kites, and Buggies
- Many other “target” programs and support for community awareness of kiting
These are just a few of the programs, outside of our personal benefits, that makes the AKA tremendous. Support of kiting in general is much larger than a magazine, a convention, or even insurance coverage; it’s about spreading the word, the safety information, the history, the art, the technical trends, and – most importantly – the joy. Spread the joy!
Keep Looking Up!
– Gayle –