Issue 9: AKA Corner

by Richard Dermer, AKA President

This is an exciting time of year to be an AKA member. So much is going on. Festivals every weekend, all over the U.S. AKA Affiliated clubs growing, and having all kinds of kite-related activities. Hundreds of members giving workshops, demonstrations, and presentations. Lots of newspaper and TV coverage of our hobby, and new members signing up daily. Have you joined us yet? You can do it right now–don’t put it off! Just use the link to the AKA website and either download a membership application or sign up on-line.

One of the best benefits of AKA membership is a subscription to KITING, our bi-monthly magazine. We have been getting lots of compliments on the magazine lately–the new color covers are a big hit, and reflect equally great improvements in content. Editor Roger Chewning is doing a super job, (more color is being planned), and is packing each issue with more features than ever before. The calendar listings, event reports, and sections for kite builders, sport kite competitors, buggiers, and photographers make this magazine a wonderful source of information for kiters everywhere.

Another great benefit is the membership directory–a new edition is coming very soon, and will have members listed both alphabetically and geographically, a great way to locate other kiters. The directory will be available free on request to members either in printed or electronic versions.

Yet another benefit is our liability insurance coverage for members.

Finally, membership allows you to attend the AKA Grand National Convention, October 5-9 in Muncie, Indiana. A lot of advance preparation is already going on for this. Workshop chairman Kurt Eby is lining up a great group of workshops and seminars. Field Operations chair Adam Grow is working on more and bigger exhibitions and mass ascensions. New events this year will include indoor sport kite competition and an invitation-only Past Masters Ballet Competition, open only to sport kite champions who have not competed for three years or more. (Flying their original equipment and routines–a Blast from the Past.) If you’ve never been to an AKA convention, plan on this one! Ask anyone who’s been to one. They want to attend more.

I’m happy to report that National Kite Month was a big success. While final reports are not all in, it’s clear that this AKA-KTA sponsored project resulted in a huge increase in the number of kite events, the amount of kite flying activity, and publicity and news coverage for the sport. Given that we only had a month or two to “get it off the ground” this year, I predict that next year’s NKM 2000 will be really spectacular!

Now, a CALL FOR NOMINATIONS. The AKA Nominations Committee is actively seeking nominees for the offices of President and Regional Directors for regions 5-8. ( Great Lakes, Midwest, Great Plains, and South Central.) While I have greatly enjoyed serving as your President for the last two and a half years, I really need to step down to spend more time on family matters (aging parents). Likewise, several outstanding Regional Directors, serving the last of their three-year terms, feel the need to step down. If you know of any dedicated kiters who might be interested in helping run the AKA, please urge them to e-mail Robyne Gardner, Nominations Chair, at or call (419) 734-5880.

Terms: President, one year. Regional Directors, three years.

Qualifications: * Possess a true love of kites, kiting, and kitefliers * Desire to see kiting grow * Good communication skills (being on-line is not essential, but would be a huge plus) * Ability to work independently as well as part of a group * Some free time, or the ability to make some, to spend on AKA leadership and direction * Leadership ability * Vision as to how the AKA can best serve the kiting community, and grow in doing so.

Rewards: No pay, but reimbursement of postage, phone expenses. Free banner and pole, business cards, etc. $1,500 travel expense for President each year. Intangible reward: Gratitude of hundreds, even thousands, of kite lovers. Other “perks”: occasional “complimentary” hotel rooms at kite events, lots of media interviews and coverage, and sometimes even travel expenses to attend kite events. Occasional free kites as gifts. But it’s the “thank you’s” that count the most.

Are you interested? Do you know someone who might be? Talk to them! A major reason for the AKA’s success over the years has been the regular infusion of “new blood” and “new ideas”. Do you want to help contribute to the growth and advancement of kiting? Run for office!