Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Last Week at the Space Education Center

Hello Troops,
We are on the downhill slope of the summer season of 2008. Last week began with a 48 hour EdVenture Camp. The campers were fun. The flights went well. It was overall a good camp.
The camp was overwhelmingly male. We had 61 boys and 5 girls! It was difficult finding sleeping areas for that many boys. I slept 30 in the Voyager (thank goodness the bunks were in place in the Captain’s Quarters). I slept 31 in the Gym. We used our cots
and 11 of the new Coleman Air Beds purchased from WalMart. The Air Beds are superior to cots in many ways.

1. They don’t squeak every time you turn around.
2. They are more comfortable.
3. They give you more sleeping area.

The downside to the air bed is the set up time. You must inflate each bed separately. It’s OK for summer because we inflate them once at the start of the season. During the school year inflating and deflating them after each weekend overnight camp could prove to be a hassle.
Several of the campers on this camp were repeating from previous weeks. They were good about repeating missions and the class session.

THE NAUSEATING FUMES
Every morning at 6:00 A.M. the overhead pounding begins. The roofers are back. The sound is something you can live with. The smell is something you're forced to live with. Sitting right outside the Voyager’s back door is the large tar boiler. It looks like a small locomotive from an old western movie. All day tar bubbles inside it. All day the fume of boiling tar fills the surrounding area. The fumes are captured by the rooftop air conditioners and brought into the building. The tar is pumped from the playground to the Voyager’s roof. This gives the Voyager the distinction of being our smelliest ship. It's so bad your eyes taste it! We could shut off the air conditioning system but then you deal with the heat of a 95 degree day. You’re trapped. The air conditioning system is left on and the smell because a permanent part of the Voyager’s summer mission.
You know the smell is bad when the Voyager staff walk into the ship from the Briefing Room with their shirts drawn up over their mouths and noses.
I suppose their own body's smells are better than tar.
I told the kids the tar boiler was there for annoying campers. Funny enough we didn’t have problems with the younger campers for the entire camp. Being boiled in tar as a punishment for misbehavior didn’t seem to have an effect on the older campers.
This summer will go down as the Summer of Tar. I keep reminding the staff that we have two weeks left. You can endure anything for two weeks - can’t you?

THE PHONE SYSTEM
The Space Center’s internet phone system has been giving up grief over the last couple of days. We had another power hick up during the last day of the EdVenture Camp. The brief outage fried the phone server in the wiring closet. Luckily we had a back up server ready to drop in. Brent talked me through installation over the phone. When it was all said and done we discovered the Magellan phones worked fine but not the Voyagers. Brent and Todd both stopped by after their meetings at Technology. After a few hours Brent discovered the problem. The newer IP phones didn’t work. The older phones did. It is a software problem. He sent an email to the phone’s manufacturer. We are waiting for the response.

THE DAY CAMP
We ran a Day Camp on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The campers came every day from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Everything went well. On the third day (Saturday) I took the campers to Clark Planetarium for their field trip and class session. We saw the new IMAX on the Swiss Alps. It was very good. We finished the field trip with the Ultimate Universe Star Theater Show. It was OK but the writing was over the kids heads.
I want to thank Metta Smith, Bracken Funk, and Stacy Carroll for helping me with the kids on the field trip. The three of them were operating on no sleep. They were up all night long with our second Super Overnight Camp. What troopers. The Super Overnighter ended giving them just enough time to run out to the bus for Clark Planetarium.
Brady Young is back from his mission to Florida. We stopped by to visit during the EdVenture Camp. His homecoming was today. Brady is considering coming back to the Space Center on a part time basis while he goes to school. It will be good to have Brady back with us in the Voyager. We will need him when Bracken leaves on his mission next month
This will be a strange week at the Space Center. We have a one night overnight camp on Monday evening. Our EdVenture Camp will run Thursday to Saturday. This will be out combined camp with the kids from Astrocamp in Ogden. I’ll create a new working and rotation schedule because the Astrocamp kids will arrive at 4:30 P.M. while the rest of the local campers will arrive at 7:00 P.M. Im good at schedule so I look forward to the challenge.

Well Troops, That wraps up the highlights from last week. Nothing that interesting or important. It is just another week at the Space Center.

Mr. Williamson
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