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Monday, June 16, 2008

The First Week of Summer Camps

A New Simulator for the Space Center?!

The Space Center completed its first week of camps. Here are the highlights.

Monday, June 9th.
We had missions most of the day. At 6:15 P.M. staff assignments were given out.
We opened the doors at 6:40 P.M. I positioned myself in the gym. The campers picked up their name tags then stopped at my station to have them filled out. I didn’t think about the logistics of taking 66 campers so i short staffed my station. I was falling behind and the line in front of me was growing. Right in the heat of battle I head the sound of someone’s gut wrenching. Yes, we all know the sound of someone's meal being reintroduced into world of the seeing and smelling. That sound was followed by the sound of something different It sounded like someone was pouring partially set pudding onto the wood floor.
The splatters were accompanied by the gasps of scores of children - creating a chorus of sounds no audience would pay to hear.
I rushed over to Nicole, instructing her to take my station. I ran to the custodial office, donned my rubber gloves, grabed the mop and sprinted into action. I cleaned up the accident in the center of the gym and continued following it with the mop to the wall where it surrounded the trash can. From the trash can, the trail of partially digested matter led me to the girls rest room. It took a few minutes but we got it taken care of. Sign ins continued rather unconventionally. Later that evening I was cleaning up more of the delightful stuff in the hallway and girls rest room.
The summer season got off to a start with a baptism of vomit. We were later told by the child’s mother the cause of the outburst was food poisoning (not by our food but by something she ate before coming to camp). The camper went home and returned on day 2 feeling much better.

Tuesday, June 10th.
This day started normally. It was cold and a storm was moving toward the Wasatch Front. I was concerned because Tuesday evening are reserved for swimming at Pleasant Grove’s pool. I spent part of the day looking out the window and watching the weather radar on the internet. Later in the afternoon the clouds transformed from peaceful to ominous.
The wind decided to give the valley a good scouring. Temperatures dropped rapidly.
I need to do the responsible thing - I called PG pool and canceled swimming. That left a gigantic hole in our schedule. What was I going to fill it with?
I talked to the staff and a plan was hatched. After supper we took the kids into the gym and let them play the staff in dodgeball. That gave me time to help clean the cafeteria and put up the tables. I set up for Bingo. We brought them in from the gym and played a few games of Bingo, afterwards came the video (Titan AE) and then bed! We got through
Day 2!

Wednesday, June 11th
Up early, breakfast for the campers and right into their last rotation. I changed the mini-rotations by redividing the campers by age. The youngest campers were given two small missions of 2.25 hours each. The older campers were given another 5 hour rotation.
The camp ended at 5:45 P.M. We were dead tired.

I decided not to record the rotation scores for this camp. Each simulator surveyed their campers so the Set Directors could track their improvements but I felt it best to leave it at that. We will publish the survey results for the remaining camps.

Overall the first camp was successful. The staff performed very well giving the campers their best. Sheila and her husband, with help from Metta, gave the kids a truly unique and fun class experience. This year the kids are building things. I’ll write more about the class session in another post.
The rest of the week included many private missions and another overnight camp on Thursday evening. I’m trying to keep Friday nights open. We don’t get many Friday nights off because of the school year overnight camps. Giving the staff Friday nights during the summer is a nice change.
The Programming Guild held a Day Camp on Saturday. Brent, Bridger and Alex are teaching Revolution and Apple’s programming language. The turn out was better than I thought.
It is Sunday and I’m still feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. I’ve got to get more sleep before the next camp on Monday or I’ll be a walking zombie.
I want to close this update by thanking the staff of the Center for always going the extra mile. I’m rarely disappointed and often times surprised by what they will do on their own time, to ensure our camps are the best they can be. The Space Center is a magical place because of the people that work here. You’ll not find a better bunch anywhere.

Mr. Williamson
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