Issue 45: AKA Corner

It is curious to watch people who become AKA members, and then after a while, decide not to renew.

Some stop flying kites. Some suffer financial or health setbacks. Some decide that the AKA just isn’t a good fit for them.

I think there are certainly things that our Association can do better. And in some cases, we’re doing things pretty well and folks just don’t realize it. But how do we reach people to ask the question??

Our long term data base now includes the names of thousands of former members going back over ten years. Between now and the end of the year, I’ll be personally writing each person on that list to ask what we can do to improve service and support the serious kiteflying community. Perhaps you’d like to take our survey as well.

Of course, if you are still flying, we’d love to have you back. All you need to do is go to The $30 annual dues haven’t changed in ten years.

AKA is working hard to support the kite environment, and if you choose not to support us back, then we are doing something wrong. And whether you choose to join or not, thanks for your support of the kiting movement.

David Gomberg

If you are a former member, or if you have never chosen to join the AKA we’d like to try and understand why. Please take a moment and send your Regional Director a short one or two sentence note and help us understand why you chose to go.

I’ve listed below a few of the reasons we occasionally hear when fliers leave the Association. (I’ve also listed some of the improvements made lately.) But don’t limit yourself to a rigid form. We’d prefer a brief answer in your own words.

[ ] Wasn’t worth the money.
AKA benefits include a quarterly color magazine, 10% discount in kite stores, $1 million insurance at sanctioned events, a membership directory, monthly email updates and more. (See What would make AKA a better kiting investment for you?

[ ] Not enough activity locally
AKA sanctions more 100 local events each year, provides insurance to those events, and offers free affiliation to local clubs. We elect directors and appointed representatives in all parts of the country, How can AKA better support local flying?

[ ] Not enough insurance.
AKA now insures sanctioned events for $1 million. This includes event organizers and any AKA member flying at that event. Understanding that we cannot offer members something the insurance industry will not sell us, what can AKA do better?

[ ] Too much focus on competition.
AKA organizes National Kite Month; publishes workshop, festival, and teaching guides; sanctions workshops held around the country; and maintains records for kiting achievements. Our highest awards are for volunteers and local clubs. What can AKA do to better support the non-competition kite community?

[ ] Not enough focus on competition.
AKA organizes national competition and writes rules for sport kiting, kitemaking, indoor flying, fighter kites, rokkaku battles, buggy racing, and indoor photography. We maintain and publish regional ranking for competitors. We have taken the lead in establishing international sport kite competitions. What could AKA do to better support competitive flying?

[ ] Not enough support for buggies, traction, and kite surfing.
The insurance industry eliminated the primary benefit we offered traction kiters. AKA publishes rules and safety materials for most forms of traction kiting. We are considering offering limited insurance coverage to sanctioned traction events at our cost. What could AKA do to better support traction flying?

[ ] Too much politics.
AKA members tend to be passionate about kiting. That’s a good thing – even when we don’t all agree. But the Association has open meetings, publishes all minutes and budgets online, and invites members to serve on all our policy committees. Most important, we have annual elections. What can AKA do to improve relationships in the kiting community?

Send comments to your Regional Director:

Region 1: Robert “Woody” Woods
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

Region 2: Todd Little
New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

Region 3: Norman “Doug” Charleville
Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia

Region 4: Michael L. Agner
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico

Region 5: Jerry McGuire
Michigan, Ohio

Region 6: Robert Rymaszewski
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Region 7: Donald Murphy
Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah

Region 8: Gayle Woodul
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Region 9: Donald “Doc” Counce
Idaho, Montana, Oregon

Region 10: Marla C. Miller
Alaska, Washington

Region 11: Brian Champie
N. California, Nevada

Region 12: Stephen Bateman
Arizona, S. California, Guam, Hawaii

Region 13: Sharon Musto
International: All AKA members living outside the United States are included in Region 13.

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