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grey78

High School Club

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Hi, all.  I teach high school math and got into kites because we build Tetrahedral Kites out of tissue paper and coffee stirrers every spring.  I have a few light wind dual line kites and a Wala glider kite, and I would like to start a club here for my students to get to learn to fly.  BUT - I am such a beginner myself.  Does anyone have any hints or tips for getting an after-school club started?  I think the interest is there with the kids - they ask ALL year long, "When are we building/flying the kites?"  I only know of one other local who flies sport kites.

Thanks for any help!

Amber Lee

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You have 2 major logistical hurdles to overcome: kites and a place to fly. And if those get met - the wind has to cooperate!

Kites: part of that problem is that there is no one perfect kite for all wind conditions. SUL kites will fold up or break in high winds, while high wind kites can't get off the ground in light wind. Ideally, most fliers have 2-3 kites in their quiver - one for light, one for medium, one for high winds. And they have lines for each too. It does make for a pretty big commitment financially to get kites, lines, handles, and a stake, able to fly in a variety of conditions. 

Place to fly: how many fliers do you think will really be interested? First, it needs be open to winds, from a bunch of directions, without any trees or buildings to interrupt the flow, Then you have to consider space - each flier needs a good bit of room to fly safely in. Just as an example - each flier is using 75' lines - that means if someone is downwind, they would need to be, say 90' away! 3 people deep and you are already at the length of a football field! And that's only length! Each flier has an arc around them of 75' to each side! Even if that arc is say 130-140* around the flier, that means an almost 100' area!  So totaling that all up gives you a 1000 sq' area per person! Now that's just a rough figuring for this purpose, you might use less room in reality. But it does show you need room!! And wind! Many a time I've gone out only to find either no wind or a hurricane! So you need to have all ends covered!

As far as organizing - I'm not sure how to best get a message across to the students. What is their normal way to get school news? Maybe include something in it about forming a club, based on interest (numbers)? Are you, the school, or the students going to be financially responsible for the gear? Insurance? That needs settled! A lot will express interest as long as it's your stuff being used, things can change when they have "skin in the game"!

Not a lot of time left in this year to get all the details ironed out, but it could be a start towards the next year, if you get some of these preliminaries squared away now! Maybe even start an informal get together on a weekend a month this summer? 

PS: I lived in East Texas (Tyler area) - darn hot in the summer!!

Good luck!!

 

 

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Talk to the local who flies sport kites. Kiters are a friendly bunch, and usually quite eager to help anyone wishing to learn. Plan a field trip to a kite festival near you, or go by yourself, and tell people flying there about what you want to accomplish. You will probably get offers to help you.

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Don't let Wayne scare you away! He only flies quad-line kites (and maybe a dualie occasionally) and hasn't heard about Single-Line Kites yet. People fly SLKs in closer proximity than three to a football field all the time! Small kites and cotton string are not dangerous, so testing coffee stirrer tetrahedrals should not require extra insurance. If school admin insists on it, take your fly private— just meet somewhere, invite parents, have fun and let it grow! If the school allows, you could make other kinds of inexpensive kites and fly them. There are plans all over the Internet. Get your Art Dept. involved! Have fun!

I'm a member of several "big-time kite clubs" and organizations, and our big-time problems are always (1) good wind, (2) an open space, and (3) showing up! It seems you have two items whipped— you just need steady winds of 7–15 mph, and that you cannot control. However, with experience and a variety of kites, you can eventually expand that wind window to 0–20+ mph.

Import some experience. Ask your dualie friend. KiteLife has a larger audience, but only a few hundred subscribers, so try a Facebook search on "kite" and your location to find new kiter friends. Contact your AKA Regional Director for suggestions; he/she is there to help all kiters, not just AKA members. Once you get started, your kites in the air may act as beacons to draw interested local people to your club. Good luck!

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Do you have a kite store in your area? The proprietor probably knows most kiters, clubs, and fields in your area, and definitely wants you to succeed. You and your students are future business!

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