A NEW YEAR, A NEW SITE, and, SOME QUESTIONS

Happy New Year, everyone!

Welcome to 2014.

 

I hope that everyone's 2013 will be remembered fondly, and that you are all looking forward to another fantastic year.

 

I know the moderators have already planned all sorts of exciting new challenges and activities for the new year. It won't be long now before the first distributions of 2014 start happening in South Africa, which I'm sure we're all looking forward to. The new year is always an exciting time!

 

A New Website

 

Speaking of exciting times, I'm delighted to announce that the knit-a-square.com website has had a massive overhaul, and all of these changes will become visible to everyone at some point over the next six hours. Depending on which Internet company you use, you might even be able to see the changes now:

http://www.knit-a-square.com/

 

(If you are computer savvy, you might like to clear your browser cache to make sure that everything is showing up correctly. If you have no idea what that means, don't worry. Your computer will catch up by itself, you just might need to wait a little while.)

 

The rework to the site has been a monumental effort, starting back in September of 2012. The project has taken fifteen months to get right, and we're all really excited to see it working!

 

Special thanks must go to Pam Antink, Laurie Fortier, Linda Maltby, Anne Powell and Sandy McDonald for going through every single page on the site, checking its content, and updating it to be completely up to date. Thanks too to Ronda Lowrie and Wendy Hardy for writing several new pieces of content relating to the South Africa project, which have now been added.

 

Over the next few weeks there will be a few more changes. We'll be migrating Laurie's wonderful 'one square at a time' blog over into the new KasBlog section of the website, which also includes the South Africa Reports from Ronda and Wendy, the KasSnippets from Pam, and an archive of all our eZines and articles.

 

We hope you love everything on the new site. If you notice anything on there which isn't working, or anything on the forum which doesn't look quite right any more, please let me know. It could be that we missed something during the switch over, and it will probably be an easy fix.

 

Some numbers

 

At this 'end of year' time, I thought it might be great to share a couple of unofficial numbers. Most of these are not officially confirmed yet, and I'm sure more will be coming out in the next few weeks, but if you're like me then you'll probably be keen to see them anyway.

 

Squares

Anne has gone through the square lists from January through to November (the December list has not yet been finalized) and confirmed that this year we received at least 145,848 squares! That's enough to make blankets for at least 4109 children. Once the December numbers come in, we'll publish the full breakdown of all the wonderful goodies which have arrived over the year.

 

I also have to make a special shout out to the forum members participating in the "Great Heights" challenge. Together, you have already managed to make so many squares that, if they were all stacked one on top of another, they would be tall enough to reach the top of the Sydney Opera House. Inspirational!

 

 

The KAS Operations Shop

The KAS Ops Support items first started to appear in the shop this year, and your support of them has been fantastic. Since they first appeared, you have sponsored:

  • 20 months worth of Mobile Phone Subscriptions! That allows our volunteers to call creches and other distribution centers and plan ahead, to communicate with our financial sponsors in South Africa, and to coordinate all of the activity that goes on constantly in South Africa. 20 months' worth is enough to keep two of our volunteers connected for almost a full year each.
  • Fuel to get the KasMobile to at least 28 distributions! That means picking up squares from the post office, taking them to be sewn up, and then driving them all over to place to be given to the kids. Fuel is absolutely vital to our ability to get your squares where they can do the most good.
  • Snacks for 44 creche distributions! Nothing makes a distribution into a party more than delicious snacks for the kids to enjoy while they wait for their blankets and toys to be handed out.
  • 97 Reams of Paper! Along with the pencils and crayons which make their way into our packages, paper enables kids to express themselves through drawing, and to learn vital elementary skills like writing and mathematics. The beautiful illustrations and cut-outs that the kids make are also perfect for brightening up otherwise dull walls in their creches and day care centers.

It's worth remembering too, that if we are ever lucky enough to get more support for one Ops item than we need, those funds will go to fill a shortfall in some other operational activity. That way, we can keep everything running at peak efficiency!

We've also seen sales of 28 Teachers' Guides, which only goes to show how powerful the idea of KAS is in primary and secondary schools all around the world!

 

 

The Forum

Pam has done some analysis on the forum itself, and discovered that over the year we have gained 1,503 new members. Hi new members!

  • 254 new members discovered us through the Internet
  • 112 new members found us through family and friends. Well done to everyone who has been sharing KAS by word of mouth, your efforts have been successful!
  • 124 new members found the forum through other avenues, including Facebook, Ravelry, and print media.

If you are one of these new members who hasn't yet introduced yourself, it would be quite wonderful to hear from you. If you've just joined in the new year, welcome to the cause! We look forward to sharing this experience with each and every one of you.

 

And finally, some questions

 

Most of you probably don't know, but when I'm not knitting or crocheting, I work in IT. One of the things IT folk like to do at the end of and important project or milestone is to hold a 'retrospective' meeting.

 

We review everything we've done, identify things that went well, things that we can do better in the future, and come up with ideas for things we might like to try. I'd love it if you would share your thoughts with us around those things.

 

If you would like some specific prompts, here are some questions to think about. Be as creative as you like, especially if you have new ideas! If you're not comfortable answering publicly here, you're also welcome to send me a private message. If you have any other thoughts or ideas which don't match one of those questions, share it anyway.

  • What moment(s) stood out most for you during the last year in KAS? What about it made it stand out?
  • What do you think KAS does really well?
  • What do you think KAS should focus on doing more of, or doing better in the future?
  • Is there anything you would like us to do less of, or to stop doing entirely?
  • If there was exactly one thing that KasCare could do to make your KAS experience more engaging, easier, or more fun in 2014, what would that thing be?
  • Do you have any brilliant ideas for things we might try in 2014?

 

Treat this is a huge sharing and brainstorming thread if you'd like. How do we make 2014 the best KAS year yet?

 

Happy New Year everyone!