Making it on the fly

These past few weeks have been a bit of mental break as I look ahead to the next year and look back on the past year. I know folks usually wait until December, maybe even January, to have these thoughts and conversations with themselves; but, I like to look ahead early. It kind of gives me a little bit of a boost and leaves me feeling ready to jump into action with the new year!

That being said, I wasn't just sitting around the old office these past two weeks doing nothing kite related. There was working out some details regarding an upcoming collaboration, hammering out more details of a possible competition, refining some long overdue sketches, building kites at a Girl Powered STEM classroom, and going to the Pierce County Maker Fest. Up ahead there is planning for the next challenge, a gift giving guide, tutorials, master class series, e-books, resources, and all of the necessary planning needed to slot that into my regular routine of non-kite related work, coaching/playing roller derby, running a business, fulfilling my duties to the Marine Search and Rescue team, training for ultra marathons, and friends and family obligations. Every now and then I have to drop off the radar a little bit to re-align all of my priorities, and make sure that my efforts are being best spent in the right places.

When I am not fully paying attention, then things slip through the cracks, and I make mistakes. Usually small ones, but sometimes big ones. :( One of those little mistakes happened this weekend, and while it was not catastrophic, it reminded me that I need to dig deeper and make sure things are properly aligned before moving forward. Having done 10+ Maker events, I thought I had my numbers for materials down pat. With a given predicted attendance number I could safely assume a certain number of kites that would be made, and then would add a few more depending on size.

The Pierce County Maker fest was at the Washington State Fairgrounds from 10 am to 3 pm. So it would be a small event by all accounts, and I figured the kits I had already made up and stocked away in my 'go box' was more than enough. So on a frosty Saturday morning, I left the warmth of our bed and drove two hours to the event. Setting up just in time for people to start coming in the door. Doing it myself meant I was working double, triple, even quadruple time; but.... it was a blast and I had fun! Till... about 1:45, when I noticed something troubling. My careful counted stack of kites was dwindling, and the line of people out the door assured me that I was going to run out very soon. By 2:05 I handed out my last one. EEP! boy did I misjudge the number of attendees and budding kite builders for this one!

In all of the events I have done, I have always done two things. Brought more kites than I thought we needed (nice to have stacks you can hand out to teachers etc) and brought a small bin with a bunch of kite feathers. The feathers are not super fancy, some are blank tyvek. But, they come in great in a pinch. Be it a kid doesn't want to build a kite but wants to do something, or as a fun extra activity. That trusty box came in handy, and I must have handed out another 50 or so feathers for kids to draw on, adorn their backpacks with, or write 'secret messages' to their friends. (Yep, one kid decided that it would be a cool way to pass notes to their friends in school, because they could tell the teacher 'I was just giving him a feather' :) )

I just flowed seamlessly from the one activity into the other without too much difficulty. Something I have been able to refine thanks to kite flying; the ability to adapt on the fly. It also made an appearance at the STEM presentation as participants asked me questions about some of my experiences. It wasn't that I had to make up things then and there, but the answers to some of the questions were a nice reminder that some of those experiences were because of actions 'in the moment' or from adapting on the fly.

This is all a rather round about way of talking about something that has been rattling around in the back of my mind. If I were to write a book, or give a talk about 'lessons learned through kite flying', what would be the big take-aways? What are the lessons that I learned specifically because of kite flying (are there any?) and what are the lessons that I better understood because of kites? I would love to know what you think, or if you have any insight into lessons learned or refined through kites in your own life. Drop me a message here on the page or shoot me an email. ( )

So yeah... that is another thing added to my list of things to sort out over the next few months. But hey, here are some more photos from the Girl Powered STEM Kite making!

Washington, USA

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