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, August 24, 2008

Comings and Goings. An Update

We have goodbyes and hellos for this post.
Bracken Funk directed his last Overnight Camp on Friday. He ran his signature story ‘Silhouette’. His final scores were good enough to take first place in the post camp surveys.
Bracken leaves on Wednesday for the MTC in Provo. A few weeks later he will leave Utah. Houston Texas is his final destination.
The Overnight Camp was picture perfect. The scores were good (not great) and the kids were excellent in both behavior and performance. The Happy Bucket was given out but not used - a mark of another great camp. Equipment problems were fixed without delay. There was one small incident that stained the tranquility of an almost perfect camp. At 11:10 P.M. we were in the cafeteria giving the campers ice cream. Lorraine and I stood there in a semi conscious state staring, but not really seeing, the kids as they ate. You know how your mind drifts when tired. My half slumber was disturbed by a staff member telling me the police were outside and wanting to see me about an incident reported by the neighbors. I was busy with the campers and sent Mr. Schuler out instead. With ice cream consumed I walked the boys to the gym. They picked up their gear. Our final stop was the lobby. The boys dropped their things and headed to the restrooms for a final break before bed. I had a minute so I walked outside, behind the Voyager, and found several policeman along with Mr. Schuler, Bracken and a few other volunteers standing near the gym wall. Bill told me the police drew a gun on him when he went outside.
“That’s ‘over the top’ for a noise complaint,” I said looking at the approaching officers.
“It was more than a noise,” he said. “Someone was throwing dry ice bombs and one went off next to a policeman,” he responded.
Sure enough, the story was repeated by the officer. He added another fact omitted by Bill. The policeman was moving around the back of the school toward the large outside air conditioner used by the school’s new addition. Near the cooling unit he saw something with red flashing lights. It looked like a bomb! He moved closer to the black object with blinking lights apprehensive as to its purpose. Just then, another dry ice bomb dropped behind the officer and exploded. Needless to say, the police were in a very bad mood and determined to catch the delinquents.
The bomb was actually one of our Space Center props set outside by the Voyager staff for their landing party. It was innocent but easily misunderstood. The police wanted to get on the school’s roof to find the culprits. I let them up through the ladder in the custodian’s closet. They found nothing. Whoever it was got away. I wouldn’t want to be them if the police ever find out. I’m sure it would be a minimum of ten years community service and a fine so large they would finally get out of debt to the Pleasant Grove City on their eighty-sixth birthday. I was relieved the Space Center wasn't blamed for the officer’s thrilling night out. The experience was added spice to Bracken’s last mission!
On Saturday afternoon the Programming Guild met at the Space Center for Brent Anderson’s last meeting and official resignation. Brent officially turned the reigns of the Guild to Bridger Maxwell. Brent will be attending BYU this fall, followed by an LDS mission. He hopes to enter the MTC in December. Brent came to me years ago as a youngling with a dream to build his own simulator at his home. He was in the process of raising money. One of his mentors told him to come to the Space Center and learn how I got the place started. I remember that meeting. Brent and his friend stood in front of me with grand ideas. I listened politely. A thought dawned on me as they spoke. If I could take that drive and enthusiasm and redirect it to the Space Center we would have a fantastic new and talented volunteer.
I asked Brent to come on board as a volunteer. He eagerly accepted and the rest is history. The Space Center thrived under Brent’s administration of the Programming Guild. Brent took us out of the dark ages in many respects by streamlining my work and making everything he touched work more efficiently. Brent was awesome. There is nothing more to be said. Both Brent and Bracken will be missed. Wait...... that is worded to weakly. They will be missed greatly!
We held a goodbye open house for both of them at my home Saturday night. It was well attended. We shared stories and memories and laughed for hours.
I went to listen to Bracken’s Farewell speech in Sacrament Meeting this morning. He did well. He overflows with self confidence which was evident to anyone listening to his talk.
I was impressed. I know he will be an unstoppable missionary. Watch out Texas - the Funkman is coming your way.

Brady’s Return

We are loosing two of our best. The clouds gathering over the Center appear dark and foreboding. Luckily a silver lining has been spotted. Brady Young has returned from his mission to Florida and is back at the Space Education Center eager and ready to resume his position as Voyager Flight / Set Director. Instead of crawling into a corner and rocking for weeks in fits of depression I’m sitting at my desk thinking we will all survive this hurricane roaring around us. Brady is back - one of our best.
For some reason, and always when we need the help, the right person seems to walk in the Briefing Room Door and say “Here I Am. You’ve been looking for me”. The Fates are with us again my friends and we dare not tempt them. We continue our lives happily knowing that someone or something in the vacuum of space has us under a watchful eye.

Now it is time to stop. Work hard and make each day better than the last.
Remember, the success to life is imagination, education and hard work. Take time each day to sharpen each of those legs on successe’s stool and you to will be unstoppable and nearly irreplaceable.

Mr. Williamson
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