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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Space Camp Weekly Update. The Summer Carries On

News from the Front.
It is Sunday the 23rd of June. All is quiet along the front. The troops lay exhausted in the bunkers. A quiet, like the calm of a windless night, reaches across No Man’s Land to the position of our adversary. The sun rests on a blanket of red and orange clouds near the horizon. It falls slowly towards the peak of the mountains. Darkness seeps along the eastern sky. The temperatures drop with the sun, giving relief from the heat of a summer’s day. The darkening air is soundless.

One day ago the valley echoed the roar of battle. The Space Center troops engaged the enemy. The battle stretched through the night and into morning. It ended with the enemy’s retreat to its lines. The day was won thanks to the leadership of our Flight Directors and our Army of Immortals.

I look over the earthen wall into the darkness marking the enemy’s position. A darkness, feeding off ignorance,  bleeding hope and imagination out of the human soul. I think about Monday and the upcoming battle. We will be ready,  but until then we rest. Our evening meal is cooking, sending the smell of beans and pork to mix with the odor of earth. I climb down the wall and stretch out on our rich homeland soil. I watch clouds drift by in formation and think of home, and the battles left to fight before we sleep.

The week started with an EdVenture Camp. The crew arrived Monday night. It was a good group of 66 ranging in age from 10 to 14. Many of the kids I recognized from previous camps. The highlights of the camp:

1. Our scores are stabilizing. Every new story takes several tellings before it settles into a routine. I feel good about the stories we are telling this summer. Bracken is concerned about the Voyager mission. It has plenty of action but no monsters. His post mission conversations with his crews are causing him to loose faith in his mission. His crews say the story is missing the ‘scary’ element. Bracken feels he is being graded down because his mission doesn’t have a monster. He asked me if I felt he should change his mission to include a haunted house aspect.
I told him to continue telling the story the way it was written. Not every story needs a monster or alien. it works as long as the ‘alien’ plays a real role in the mission. It doesn’t work if the ‘alien’ is thrown in for a cheap scare. I’ve written many missions without the scary element. They did fine. We will see how things go this week.

2. The Phoenix, Odyssey, and Galileo are doing fine. The Magellan fluctuates from good scores to OK. Its new story is still gelling.

3. The meals are fantastic. Aleta has done well. This year we replaced the chicken dinner on the second night with Chinese food. A success according to the campers.

4. The classroom experience is in flux. It can take several sessions before we can get the classroom activities to perfectly match the camp’s crazy schedule. Lorraine helped Sheila and her husband with the class this camp. Lorraine will be our substitute teacher.

5. I’m still amazed at what gets lost during a camp. On night two a boy lost his sleeping bag. We looked everywhere and could never find it. Where do these things go?

The camp ended Wednesday night. We were exhausted.

Thursday was filled with private missions and another overnight camp. The one night overnighters are easy compared to the 3 day camps.

I left the Center to spend a few hours home on Thursday. Later in the day I returned to the Center to find the staff and private mission campers standing out on the lawn. I got out of my car and heard the reason - power outage. One of the power feeds into the school was down. Half the school’s power was on - the other half was off. The only ships still running were the Galileo and the Voyager. The crews and staff waited. Mark had come down to help. Roger, our custodian, was on hand as well. I knew the cause was out of our control. I sent Brent on a quest to find a Rocky Mountain Power truck to tell them of our dilemma. He returned fifteen minutes later. He found a power truck. Apparently one of the main circuits feeding electricity into the school had blown.

A few minutes later the power came back on. The missions resumed. Over the next few hours the damaged caused by the outage became apparent. The school’s walk in freezer’s compressor was blown. That was called in. I discovered the gym was getting warm. I got up on the roof and discovered the air-condition wasn’t working. That was called in. Just before the overnight camp I noticed the school’s new addition was warming up. I went into the compressor room and found the transformer was blown. That was called in.
The overnight camp came and went. we got through it without full air conditioning. On Friday morning the distict’s repairmen came to the school. Within a few hours everything was repaired and we were good as new. .

The Super Overnighter went well.

Now we ready for another week. We will have another 3 day camp and two 1 night overnighters. I’ll be sleeping at home Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Why do I need a home?   I might as well sell the house and move into the Center!
My Friends, Our Army of Immortals, there is something stirring in the dark out across the fields.  Ignorance is waking.  Rest a bit longer for soon the summer's battles will continue.  Onwards...........

Mr. Williamson
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