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Greetings everyone! Hope your 2018 is already kicking off with a flourish. Most folks are chomping at the bit and planning their ‘kite year’ ahead, are you one of them? 

For myself I am lucky to live in an area that has a very active indoor kite flying scene, so my winters are packed with kite flying and kite building. In fact, next weekend I am headed to Windless in Long Beach, Washington. For those that haven’t heard about this event, it is worth paying attention to!  While it is a qualifying competition for sport kite fliers, they also focus on outreach to the community. For the past few years they have been having a ‘pro-am competition’ in tandem with the regular competition. Experienced competitors are paired with new fliers, locals, kids, and people from the audience. The Pro’s have a limited amount of time to teach their Amateurs how to fly and pick some music. At the end of the day the Amateurs show off their new skills in their own special competition!

Watching over the past few years, I have seen several of the Amateurs go on to become Pro’s in their own right and continue the cycle of growth and teaching. Not only are they growing the sport, but they are opening it up to the community and making it more accessible to people.  By the way, there will be some Facebook Live Feeds from the event on the AKA Facebook Page. We will do our best to also post videos on the AKA Youtube Channel:

This is only one of several of the different approaches that clubs and members are using to reach new people in their areas.  Do you know of something that is different? Is it working? What have you or your club learned from doing it?  Mind sharing that with me so we can gather all of these ideas in one location and keep spreading the word and helping each other grow?  This is the time to really strengthen our grassroots approach to reaching out to kite fliers, and we have to do it in completely new ways. Lets use the power of crowd-sourcing and collectively we can probably come up with more ideas than we can handle! There are a few ‘AKA think tank groups’ on Facebook if you would like to be added to one, please let me know. These are groups for discussions like this one. 

While we are talking about helping each other grow, do you have a second to answer some questions that could help the AKA Social Media team better serve you and what you like?  It is an anonymous survey that helps to shape how things look in the coming year and your input is greatly appreciated.  2018 AKA SM Survey

The Social Media Team is also looking for people that have a story to tell, and would be willing to share it on the AKA News Blog. Would you be willing to write a story, share a memory, or do you have something you think should get more attention? Let us know now!  We also want to hear from those of you that would be interested in writing something, but don’t know what to write about. Boy do we have a ton of great ideas … we just need a few more hands to help with writing. 🙂

Oh, and guess what…. Time for another t-shirt fundraiser! Why not grab this shirt for your favorite valentine. You have two weeks left to order, so… Order now!

One last thing before I sign off. The AKA Convention Committee is openly accepting submissions for the 2018 Convention in Shreveport, Louisiana. Deadline is February 15th, 2018. For more information about guidelines, how to submit etc… go to:

Alright everyone, I hope to be writing more in the coming months. Most of it will be on the AKA Blog, and the Members Only Blog, so keep checking in to see whats new. As always, it will be cross-posted to our various online platforms, so you should hear about it. 
Thanks for all that you do, this organization wouldn’t exist without you. 

Remember that We Fly Higher Together

Nic O’Neill
President – American Kitefliers Association

Link to my TED Talk about The Power of Kite Flying
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