Editor's Desk - April 2007
Find a printable version here

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Spring has officially (finally!) arrived. To celebrate the warming weather, we all like to get outside and take advantage of the open spaces around us, whether it's on ballfields and in formal gardens or in more open fields and trails.

One way to encourage everyone to get outside and have some fun is taking place at community centers and parks around the world as people celebrate National Kite Month.

Until recently, I never would have imagined such a thing. I've always been content with flying a kite once a year during our beach vacation, getting a new kite at the colorful seaside shop just for that purpose. I have a whole stockpile of old kites and string in the basement, and never even considered trotting them out for a little local fun.

But apparently, there's a formal recognition of kite-flying with the annual monthlong celebration founded by the American Kitefliers Association and the Kite Trade Association International.

To celebrate, you might consider holding a kite-flying event at your own facility. It doesn't have to be a big festival with professional kite flyers. Fun flies, kite-making workshops, even kite displays and school demonstrations are all ways to get people out into the spring weather for some high-flying fun.

If you'd like to get involved, the National Kite Month Headquarters, online at www.nationalkitemonth.org, can provide all kinds of ideas about organizing an event. You can also register your kiting event up until April 27, so it's not too late to get involved.

There were 125 events registered in the United States as of March 16, and others taking place internationally in countries like New Zealand, Canada, The Netherlands and Indonesia, among others. For example, in Flagstaff, Arizona's Foxglenn Park, the Soar Into Spring Kite Festival will include kite-making workshops, professional demonstrations, live entertainment and more. In Louisville, Ky., they kicked off National Kite Month at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park with a Family Fun Fly, with prizes for the most unique kite, youngest flyer, oldest flyer and crowd favorite.

As for me, there are no events close to home, so I'll probably just head out to the open fields on my own—though I haven't decided if I'd rather fly the yin-yang or the alien this year.

Happy Flying!

Emily Tipping, Editor

Feel free to drop us a line. Any feedback is great; establishing an industry forum for the open exchange of ideas is even better. So don't be shy with your thoughts, opinions and questions. Any topic is fair game, and no query is too big or too little.

Bridging Faith and Recreation

While I was flipping through the pages of your magazine, I was surprised to find a topic under your Facility Profile that introduced the controversial association between religion and sport. I've often read the articles in your issues about recreation management, aquatics, durable equipment and marketing concepts going on in the world today. Stopping to read the last article in your February issue caught my interest more than any other I have read in the past.

Interestingly enough, my hometown also has a place called "The Bridge" where young teens can go to hang out and participate in small forms of recreation, though not nearly to the heights nor the appeal of the one in Joplin, Mo.

It's often been brought to the attention of educators, parents and community leaders that religion may not have a place outside the church. I disagree.

I found in reading the article that there is more to the facility than trying to preach to teenagers or force one belief over another. It establishes a safe place for them to go in order to jump, climb and reach their full potential recreationally, socially and personally. The foundation may be based on religion, but the mission comes out much broader and clearer than that.

Having a place like this is only one example of several where present-day youth can meet up in a non-judgmental environment and speak about their faith, while also having a common mission to have fun. I have a high respect for the staff, volunteers and administrators who take concepts similar to the familiar and traditional YMCA and put them into action. Many teens get into trouble when they are on the streets. This facility, its goals and the team who helps run The Bridge have combined their possession of property and resources with the creativity and ambitions of a select minority to create a service and chance for those who do not have the opportunity or do not understand organized sport.

Although not knowing or having experienced the place for myself, reading this article demonstrated that by presenting these surroundings, The Bridge may not only serve those who use it, but also the general community providing faith spiritually as well as personally in the people who want to continue the challenge. The growth and support this place has earned, starting at a small scale and building to what it is now, prove there is something right about the purpose and role it has for other youth centers.

Melanie Taggart
Charleston, Ill.