Friday, October 14, 2011

NKA in Wildwood, NJ

What is NKA? Let's let Steve Santos describe NKA. The following is from his post to the AKA Kite Talk Forum.

The NKA idea evolved during a gathering of close kite friends from RI and MA. Robert and Joan Woods, Art St.Pierre, Beth Bowen, Pauly Berard, Susan Moskowitz and yours truly. In discussions with many of our long term kite friends there was a sentiment that the Convention simply no longer met our needs. Between us, having been active competitors, event organizers, clinic attendees, donors of gifts to AKA, and signing up hundreds of members (High Flyers was one of the most active retailers in new member signups during its years), we all felt the convention had become too much "about us". The organization was always asking members to sign up as many new members as possible. However, at the one (and only) event it runs all year, this was not a priority.

I wrote a letter to the board expressing our idea that the convention could experience more registrants if they considered "enthusiastic" spectators, who sought only to fly kites, watch the competitions occasionally, maybe attend the fly mart - no clinics, no banquets, no competitions - just an opportunity to be a small part of the convention. We proposed paying a basic registration fee of $125. This was the starting proposal. Other NKA founders suggested fees for a 1 day attendance to only compete for 1 day, etc. Bottom line, there were no negotiations, no thanking for our suggestions to help grow the number of registrants, etc. The basic response was, "it can't be done".

Note we have many avid kite flying friends who have young families. For the family to attend, even if 3 of 4 are not involved in any activity, the only way to bring your kids to the fly mart or indoor fly ( it eventually became open to the public), was to pay a full registration fee. Sue and I can easily afford this but many of our friends could not. There were many reasons to seek "change". In the end we got together, decided to form NKA, order Tshirts, etc. In fact our good friend, former AKA Prez, Gary Engvall, joined up soon thereafter and agreed to make us some banners. Thanks a bunch to Gary and Maggie for their ongoing support of NKA and Kiting!

We are all AKA members, will support the AKA, but in the former capacity of RDs, and serving on the board, we have heard suggestions for altering the Convention for many years. It was time for someone to make a stand. Working from within wasn't working. We decided to take action even if we were deemed to be "parasites" taking advantage of AKA. In our hearts, we knew we were not.

The NKA was born.

Here are some pictures of NKA flying on the south end of Wildwood Beach. About half the people flying with NKA were full registrants to the AKA Convention happening just to the north of NKA. There were 2 AKA Past Presidents and 4 current or Past AKA Regional Directors among the NKA fliers.
The first 2 days I had AKA Sport Kite Grand National volunteer assignments and competitions
so I set up by the Boardwalk near Field 2

Later in the week the weather improved and it was safer to bring stuff farther down the beach.
The buildings behind the kites are in the next town south, Wildwood Crest.

We set up right next to the tracks that the trucks were using.
What trucks? Oh, um, er. Didja notice the water?
Two things: (1) Payloaders were trying to keep run-off channels open.
(2) Dump trucks were making a track for the Monster Trucks that would be performing when AKA left.
Between the kites in the foreground and the building in the distance is the entire AKA Convention.
That beautiful Peter Lynn Manta Ray belongs to a guy from NH. He took my "Big Kite" workshop on this beach twice. Now he is a Big Kite Flier! Steve, Mike and Dianne are a real pleasure to share sky with.
We were on Field 1.1. For people who get the point...
Our kites, our sky. We welcomed everyone, excluded no one.
Looking north from the same spot, the entire AKA Convention.

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