Kites… Life: It goes on!

Well, I haven’t done one of these since February 24th and I figured it’s high time with some new stuff on the horizon (how little I knew when I titled my LAST entry into this column)… With a little downtime at the airport on my way to Marseille, France today, I didn’t want to miss this chance to give a fair status update.

By the end of 2012 I’ll have attended 14 kite events as a member of iQuad and 10 more events as a solo pilot or traveling with my wife TK to make a grand total of 24 events in six US states, three Canadian provinces, Spain, Colombia and France… Sure, times are still tough in the kite business but from what I’ve seen, organizers are becoming more innovative with their events and the public is receptive whenever we (as a community) go the extra mile to somehow put spectators in contact with the experience, whether it’s just through friendly conversation, holding the line or sharing a quick lesson.

I’d like to think the trends that I’m seeing (both within and outside our community) will make our coming year(s) that much easier, particularly with my running unopposed for the job of AKA President…

Other than my initial candidate statement, the only other real “broadcast” I’ve made on the matter was a few days ago, on my Facebook page:

Alright folks, we’re less than a month from AKA Convention… The election should occur at the annual business meeting, currently scheduled for October 3rd between 7:30pm-10pm Central.

To any non-AKA members who are sitting on the fence for any reason, or if you want to show their support for the coming efforts – please consider signing up or renewing your AKA membership.

Now that most everyone has sent in their ballots without any coercion from me, and assuming nothing unexpected happens (which I’m ok with too)…

In a nutshell and no particular order, some of my initial goals (short and long term) are to facilitate and be involved with the AKA becoming more *connected* in terms of the informational resources (updating our documents and their easy accessibility on BOTH desktop and mobile devices), serious and caring review of the time required for competition under the current AKA formats (and ways to increase public interaction), economical AND attractive awards at convention, simple comforts and worthwhile activities at our annual convention (feeling of value), renewing our interactive/exchange relationship with the Canadian kite community (we’re geographically one family), and assembling a fair/knowledgeable committee to develop a more navigable and connected flow and content feed between the AKA website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as well as increasing the ratio of useful and interactive, educational material on the home page – core value, cultivate what we HAVE, make it a self-apparent value and experience, then share that just by doing what we do.

First and foremost, we move forward, even one little stone at a time…

Most of y’all know me well enough, kiting is my family in every way, we’ve no time left for baggage – we can benefit from almost 50 years of rich organizational history and accomplishments (yes – the AKA was found in 1964) without succumbing to personal issues… This whole effort is ultimately about the sharing inherent values and artistry of kiting, with individual and group experiences along the way. 😉

From the AKA website, the purest ideals, not sure I could say it any better myself:

“We strive to promote public awareness of the pleasures and educational opportunities that kites provide. They can remind us about how we interact with our environment and each other. Kites can be a source of community building, breaking down barriers that typically prevent us from interacting. No words are needed to fly a kite.”

Lastly, rumor has it that AMA2 has been campaigning for write-in votes… To this I say, “hey – I can be cute and fuzzie too!” 🙂

Apologies – the page linked below really does NO justice to the potential experiences one can have at convention – this will be my 19th since 1990, it’s the one event I really try never to miss.

Thanks for the belief, skepticism, support, challenge and patience, all in one.

I think the most common question I’ve received from folks has been along the lines of “are you excited?“… Well, I’m 100% game for what the coming year might bring at least but I can’t really say I’m excited per se – perhaps a more appropriate description would be motivated since excitement doesn’t have much to do with the job at hand – we’re just looking at a continuance of what we’re all trying to do, hopefully with new vigor!

The support I’ve received from friends, family, our Kitelife subscribers and all the kind folks out there in kite land has been amazing… Most of all, I really, truly can’t begin to thank my wife and partner Takako enough for her patience and support – especially as things get busier, it’s a true blessing to have someone who recognizes and supports your passion, whatever that may be.

For those who are interested, I still plan to post our annual daily reports from the AKA Convention (October 2-6) here on Kitelife… Stay tuned to the front page as we’ll do a separate post for each day (generally the morning after), and please DO leave your comments, critique or words of encouragement on the article comments as we go along – it’s YOUR feedback and involvement that helps us (all) keep improving.

See you on the field,

John Barresi