I love flying kites, It isn’t just flying them that I love, I also love building them, watching them, and I REALLY love giving kites away. Last year it was the subject of a TED talk I gave. My talk was centered around why kite flying is important, and why it is something that we should look at as more than just some silly toy.
I honestly believe that kites serve different purposes for different people. For a kid they can be the tool that allows them to be creative, or to help them learn about flying, or perhaps their gateway into engineering. For others it can help them create new connections between their creative and physical self. Still others may find that they are the platform for greater engineering feats to solve our worlds problems, or part of a living history that spans all cultures and ethnicites.
You can call it luck, or opportunity - or what I call Fortuna- that we travel the world connecting with humanity and exploring our world via kites. We do this by flying, getting others to fly, hosting workshops, and more.
Almost all of the workshops I host are for free. In a given year, it is not unlikely that I will give away around a thousand kites. That is a thousand kids of all ages (adults too!!) that will have taken to the skies with a kite that they built themselves.
Since January of this year, I have already given away somewhere around 300-400 kites, expecting that the biggest events would be this summer. Well, things took a turn… a turn for the better. Fortuna struck again, and as the saying goes "fortis Fortuna adiuvat". Or, fortune favors the bold. Many people might think this only applies to actual financial fortune, but it doesn't. It is deeper than that, more complex. If anything it is a 'lifestyle', or a personal motto I took on some time ago. It means that if I want to see something happen, I have to be willing to take risks, I have to be ready and accepting of opportunities. So, If say, I want to see 1,000 kites in the air made by new kite fliers, then, I have to take the risk and step out there. I have to step up and take the opportunity to showcase at Makers Faire's when they are presented.
Apparently, when you spread so much love and joy, others take notice and new opportunities arise. In a two week time frame I have been invited to do this kite workshop at not only 2 regional makers faire's, but also host a few independent workshops, and… well.. Here is the big one…. I have been invited to participate in the World Maker Faire in New York!
With the additional events added, my previous 1,000 kites mark is not going to be adequate enough. By best estimates, (after 4 years of doing Makers Faire's) I am looking at anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 to be handed out in the next 2.5 months.
Which... presents me with a new dilemma. This far exceeds my budget for what I typically set aside every year. I hate to admit this... it feels strange to ask... but I need help. I would hate to turn down this opportunity because of my ‘kite give-away budget’.
With all of the materials purchase, these kites work out to around $.45-$1 a piece. My budget is usually set to provide for roughly 1,000 of them, plus my travel expenses associated with the workshops per year. Sometimes I am able to get discounts on bulk items, or can find donations of materials. Sometimes, folks chip in a meal or gas money for an event.
In order to pull this off, I am projecting out for the extra materials, and travel expenses, that I will need roughly $2,500 to pull this off. That feels like a lot of money to raise in such a short amount of time. That feels like I would be asking a lot of my friends and network to believe in this.
I want to do this right. I want to give those that donate a thank you gift for being so bold. I also want to pass on the knowledge and share what I can to anyone and everyone that could use it.
As I go through this project I am creating a FREE e-book about how to make the kite, and how to host the workshop. I want every teacher, every maker, every Scout troop, every Boys & Girls Club, every Senior Center, everyone to have access to building this kite, and the tools to do so with no experience as a kite flier or kite-builder. That is my gift to everyone, without restriction. For those that opt to donate at certain levels, I will print out a copy of this book for you and sign it. You can give it away or keep it for yourself. Another level will mean that I send this book along with a pack of materials for making the kites to a place of your choosing.
(By the way, this is just a draft cover of what the e-book will look like, not the finished product)
For other levels, I will have various other thank you gifts.
I wish I could offer more, but I am mainly focused on giving away the kites
If you would like to donate, please go to our Gofundme page:
Or you can donate directly via PayPal at: paypal.me/Fortunafound
Full disclosure, I am currently serving as the President of the American Kitefliers Association, a nationwide non-profit that is focused on spreading the love and joy of kite flying. I will not be taking any funds from the AKA in order to accomplish this, nor am I showcasing as the AKA at any of these events. I will be sharing information about the AKA for interested parties, just as I do with all of the various information materials I have on hand, but for ethical reasons I feel it is important to note that any donations to this cause are to me and for this purpose, not for any AKA business, or for promotion of the AKA.