Lately I’ve realized that I suffer from baraphobia: the fear of gravity. Face it, it’s all around me, pressing down on me, keeping me from soaring with the eagles, and yet, I can’t even see it! So I’ve decided to face my fears, confront gravity head on, and call it…
National Kite Month!!!!!!
Yes, National Kite Month is back for the third straight year, bringing all the joys of the anti-baraphobic lifestyle to America and the world. Beginning March 31, NKM2001 offers five weekends of kites, takos, cerf-volants, cometas, drachens, aquiloni, and all those other things at the ends of strings. There’ll be big events like Miami’s Little Acorns Kite Festival, small events like the Sport Kite Flight School class in West Burlington, Iowa, indoor events, classroom events, kitemaking events, kite art events, and enough happy smiles to make you forget about a winter full of dimpled chads and inaugural balls.
Of course, none of this can happen without you, the kitefliers. The AKA and Kite Trade Association International have the infrastructure in place, and they’re just waiting for you to start organizing events in your area. Here’s how to do it:
Step #1: Find a way to share kiting with other people. Almost anything will do. Some suggestions:
· Your club’s regular monthly fly
· Teach a learn-to-fly class at a community rec center
· Call your child’s school and offer to do a demonstration
· Contact a shopping mall and offer to hang a kite art display
· Get in touch with the local Boy/Girl Scout office and offer to help scout troops make kites
· Put together a kitemaking workshop
· Hold your town’s first buggy races
· Have an Easter Sunday candy drop
· Celebrate Earth Day with a Clean Air Kite Fly
· Take your KAP collection to a senior’s center
Most of these ideas are incredibly simply, and require no more than a phone call or two to get started. Of course, if you want to organize an entire new two-day event, like Mark Kunoff is doing in Muncie, that would be good too.
Step #2: Using the links on the AKA and KTAI websites (www.aka.kite.org and www.kitetrade.org) take a few minutes to register the event. You’ll need the basic info about the event (date, time, location, contact person, etc.), and it would be great if you knew the address of a local newspaper or TV station.
Step #3: Take advantage of all the resources the AKA and KTAI make available to you. We’ll mail press releases to your local media to help your event get publicity. We’ll send you information on how to organize a kite festival, get sponsors to help pay for your fun, and get people involved in kiting. You’ll get AKA membership blanks so you can sign up new members (there’s a prize for the club that signs up the most new members!).
Step #4: Have fun. Go out and fly. Pass your string to someone who doesn’t have one. Make new friends. Visit with old friends. Put a smile on your face and somebody else’s.
How simple is the Baraphobics Anonymous program? Only 4 steps! That’s an 8-step savings over the normal program, which leaves you more time to go fly.
Of course, there’s a serious side to National Kite Month. While you’re having all the fun, AKA and KTAI are supporting a number of projects. There will be professional media support for several major kite events in large media markets, so that kiting gets maximum TV and print exposure. We’re working on online educational tools that teachers can use to bring kites into the classroom. And we’re teaming up with Member Merchants and kite retailers to introduce new customers to kiteflying.
Our main goals are to set up 175 events and get 150 new AKA members.
Shouldn’t that be simple? If only 1 in 10 AKA members does something as simple as showing their kite collection to a room full of awestruck 2nd graders, that would be nearly 400 events. And if every organizer signs up a single new member, that’s 10% growth for the AKA. Need some incentives?
The clubs that signs up the most new members and register the most events will win spectacular prizes. And expect to hear from your regional director; the region with the most events wins a prize for their RD (last year the amazing South Central Region 8 won a giant parachute spinner for Steve Thomason by hosting more than two dozen events). Start planning now; it’s a lot easier to get publicity and for us to help you if there’s at least three weeks lead-time.
National Kite Month starts with a special preview event, the venerable Smithsonian Kite Festival, on March 24, and officially kicks off of March 31. The five weeks of fun wrap up on May 6. In between, we should be able to put strings in the hands of thousands of new fliers. So get over your baraphobia, and get into National Kite Month.