Issue 76: AKA Corner

Do you know what the AKA does for you?

In another forum, a question was posed: “What is the best kite group to belong to? And what are the benefits of belonging to the groups?” The writer had heard of the AKA, was vaguely aware of the discount programs at stores and was looking for other benefits.

Other members of the forum immediately responded with more detailed information.

The first benefit cited was the magazine. Kiting arrives in your mail box 4 times a year, with information valued at well beyond the $40 spent. From Kansas: “By the way, past issues of the Kiting magazine are going up as fast as possible on the web site so you can see them online. How cool is that?

Well, here is something even better, perhaps. I have heard that often there is too much to put into the magazine, so our illustrious magazine editor puts the extra online so we can get BONUS information!”

The second was our insurance program. If you are going to hold a kite festival most places will require an insurance policy and that they be named on the policy as an additional insured. The AKA provides this for a small fee. Without this, most festivals could not happen. Sanctioning is still only $150 per festival.

If your festival is one day or all week, the fee is the same. The fee is not going up this year. Many people donated to our “Insure the Future” program last year to help pay off the $25,000 yearly policy. Festivals all over North America will benefit from their generosity this year.

Others added: “The AKA is the largest kite club in the world, with 3000 members in 35 countries. We have over 100 sanctioned affiliate clubs and more merchant members that offer discounts to AKA members. We’re all about educating the public and promoting kiting. Hope you consider joining our family.”

“Another cool benefit is the Member Search function in the Club House. Enter a name, first-last, or close approximation, or location and a list of members will appear including email, address, and phone numbers.

Met someone on the kite field and forgot their last name? Looking for members in your state or country? Find them all here.”

From Utah “ The AKA is a group of likeminded people into kiting, all different aspects of the hobby and membership is a way to promote this hobby, but more importantly is the educational aspect, that is what the AKA is based on.

Teaching this hobby, this kiting to others. Almost everyone here, on this forum has a story about how they were introduced to kiting. Not many forget how it happened, I know I sure don’t. “

How much do you spend on kites or supplies each year? Let’s be honest, many of us spend more than $400 in a single order, totally paying for our membership with that discount.

Have you checked out the benefit list on the website?

* Kiting A quarterly newsletter which includes event coverage, kitemaking plans, local and regional reports, festival calendar, club activities, contacts, and association news

* 10% discount on kite merchandise from over 100 Merchant Members and online stores

* Over 100 sanctioned events in your community and around the country each year

* $1,000,000 insurance coverage for organizers and members at sanctioned events

* $1,000,000 insurance coverage for members at recognized local club flies

* National membership directory listing members, clubs, and stores

* Monthly news and information emailed directly to you from the national AKA president

* Regional reports and news emailed directly to you from your local representative

* World record tracking of achievements within the sport

* Annual national convention with workshops, competitions, awards, and flying

* National Kite Month program to celebrate and promote kiteflying

* Competitor ranking and recognition at regional, national, and international level

* Regional and national awards program for contributions to kiting

* Professional staff available in national headquarters office

* Online list of hundreds of recommended flying locations with details and directions

* Regional referrals to encourage information sharing, personal contact and assistance

* Archival materials and publications

* Safety codes, competition rules and event specifications for sport kites, kitemaking competition, fighter kites, and kite buggies

* Access to member-only webpages with bylaws, meeting minutes, and financial and historical information

* Online Kite Talk Forum where members post announcements and information, or ask for assistance

* An AKA Regional Director familiar with kiting in your area, clubs, contacts and local concerns

* Over 100 affiliated local kite clubs

* Opportunities to serve in leadership roles locally and nationally or on policy committees

* Free publications including rule books, event and club organizing manuals, and instructional materials

* Educational materials for teachers including Kites in the Classroom programs, reference materials, and teaching tools

* Cooperation and coordination with kite associations and events around the world

* Discounted dues for family members

* Instructional pamphlets for flying and competing

* Calendar of local, regional, and national kiting events, festivals, and workshops

* Association products including clothing, patches, hats and pins

* Friends in the field

This is where every kiter needs to be. When wondering which group to belong to, ask yourself this: Is there any other group to belong to?

Thanks to forum and posters Kitemeister, powder_pig, kiteguy, CJQ, tcope, Wakeless kites for supplying material for this column.

Time to fly!
Barbara Meyer, AKA president