All of the work of construction and flying of kites is interesting and profitable for development yet there is opportunity for furthering this interest by bringing about yearly tournaments for the exhibition of the many efforts in construction and design that are undertaken. The tournaments have a further usefulness in the bringing of our schools together in a great outdoor social event. The spirit of such an event is excellent and the day is a joyful one to the children and parents. Thousands attend these yearly gatherings.
The Director. It is necessary for a good tournament that some interested and competent person take general charge of the whole affair and not leave the planning and arranging to others. Helpers are necessary at the tournament, but preparation should be directed by some one person. In so doing, we do not overlook the helpful cooperation of the principals at the various schools, but seek to interest them as to possibilities of undertakings by their children. Instructions should be sent out from time to time as to new things to be constructed and three or four weeks before the tournament, quite complete instructions regarding the different events that may be entered, and rules pertaining to each should be posted in each school.
It is well to organize a little in the schools that are interested. Some boy may be recognized as a leader and a good kite maker. He can round up the team, get the boys interested and encourage them to enter events not yet taken so as to cover as many events as possible and fewer in the same. The preparation for the tournament gives a great opportunity to the teachers and principals to get in touch with boys. Many boys have come to know their teachers with just such an introduction, and it has been the means of starting a good many boys to work in the schoolrooms on their studies. Some boys seem to get out of gear with their schoolroom environment and need a little touch of play, a tramp, or some form of sport to get them back to their real school life. This kind of undertaking is one of the great opportunities for the teacher to get near to the boys. Some teachers are enthusiastic enough to send out for a good sized bundle of sticks and have some one retail them out to the boys at cost. The boys appreciate a little effort of this kind even if there is no prospect of a tournament. A discussion of design in the drawing work will also be a practical departure from the regular work, and will again arouse the lazy boy to do his best. Now if the teacher will take some interest in the making, even if she doesn't know very much about it, and especially in the flying of the kites, she will be progressing, and there are but few teachers who cannot learn a good deal about kite making and flying, if they are willing to try.
The manual training teacher and the shop are very able assistants to the kite construction projects. In some schools, a week some time previous to the tournament is allowed for the special construction of kites in the shop. The boys will waste valuable lumber if allowed to rip up thin boards, so it will pay to encourage the buying of spruce sticks. There is much adjustment in attaching string and covering, and putting on of the bridle; as much as possible of this should be reserved for home work, but some might be done at school.