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.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Doggie Droppings. Hanne and Bridger at the Park and the Art of Sitting Quietly


The One Thing in Life We Can Truly Rely On

Have you ever stopped to wonder what one Space Center Overnight Camp is worth in doggie droppings? It's not the typical topic one would hear discussed at supper. The query has never been brought up at the Space Center, not even once in all our twenty-one years. A university economics class might be able to come up with answer - albeit doubtful.

Let's put our best thinking to the solution. One Overnight Camp carries a value of $43.00 United States dollars. That number is easily understood. The number is also understood in foreign currencies; for example:

Euro: 32.06
Russian Ruble: 1256.30
Japanese Yen: 3243.24

These numbers allow parents to budget. With $43.00 they could fill their gas tank or send a child to an overnight camp. But, back to the question at hand, how many doggie droppings equal $43.00? A full zip lock bag? A full garbage bag? Perhaps a full pickup truck? I wouldn't give you a bright shiny nickle for any of it. I don't think you could gather enough doggie droppings to balance the scales at $43.00.

You're asking where this is heading? Let me set the stage. It's 10:00 A.M. Saturday morning. I've dismissed the campers. I'm standing in the gym near the exit thanking the campers as they leave. A boy approaches with sleeping bag and pillow in tow.

"Mr. Williamson, I want you to know that this camp was worth 3 HOURS OF DOG POOP!"

I've been here for every overnight camp held at the Space Center since it opened in November 1990. That's 21 years worth if you're trying to do the math. His statement comparing our camp to dog poop was a first.

"What do you mean?" I asked. He stopped in the gym's doorway.

"I had to scoop up dog poop for 3 hours to earn enough money to come to this camp, and I'D DO IT AGAIN. It was worth it!"

I thanked the young man and up the hall he went, unaware of the smile he left sprawled across my face.

Troops, I could retire from the Space Center right now completely satisfied, because for the first time in my Space Center career I finally understand the true value of what we've created. The next time a parent asks me about our camp experience I'll say, "It's worth three hours of poop scooping."

Hanne and Bridger
at the Technology Fair


See Hanne at the Technology Fair?
See Bridger at the Technology Fair?
See Hanne and Bridger both at the Technology Fair?
Hanne and Bridger like science and technology.
Hanne and Bridger like the Space Center.

"Can we like them both at the same time?" Bridger asked one day while they were swinging at the park.

"Sure we can Bridger!" Hanne replied as she pumped her swing higher and ever so higher.

"But we live so far away in Boston and the Space Center is in Utah. How is it possible?" Bridger was confused. Bridger gets confused sometimes. His mother told him not to think so much. Bridger tired. It confused him.

"How can't I think so much?" Bridger shouted back to his mother one day while standing in the middle of the road wondering if the strips of paint painted down the center were equal distant from both curbs. "My brain has a brain of its own and it won't cooperate."

"God give me strength." Bridger's mother mumbled under her breath. Everyone standing on the curb heard her. Bridger's mother is a good church going woman who believes God can work miracles. She is often heard saying things like, "It will be a miracle if........" when she talks to her friends about Bridger.

"Come back to us Bridger!" Hanne shouted from high above. She knew when Bridger was lost in his thoughts. "Let's bring the Space Center here." Hanne pumped her swing higher and ever so higher.

"Stop confusing me Hanne. We can't bring the Space Center here." Bridger got off the swing to go off and pout. Besides, Hanne was too high and seeing high things scares him.

"Don't go pout and don't get confused. We won't bring the whole Space Center here. Let's show what the Space Center does. You see, that isn't so hard is it?" Hanne prepared to jump.

Bridger stopped and thought. He understood what she meant.

"Hanne you're so smart," he shouted. "We show what the Space Center does!"

"Hanne is smart and brave!" Hanne screamed before launching herself into the air and landing in the wood chips.

Hanne and Bridger laid down in the grass and thought and thought. Hanne talked. Bridger asked for a turn to talk. Hanne agreed. Bridger got to talk as well.




This is Hanne and Bridger at the MIT Techfair with their Space Center display.


Hanne did so much work setting up the display. Hanne likes to work. Hanne is a good worker. Ask her yourself if you don't believe me.


Bridger was distracted. Cool things distract Bridger. Hanne scolded Bridger for not helping. Bridger said he was sorry and promised to be a better boy. Hanne gritted her teeth. She does that a lot when she is with Bridger.


Hanne and Bridger's brilliant display at the MIT Technology Fair. Hanne and Bridger did good. Hanne and Bridger are good friends of the Space Center.

(Note: Thanks to Bridger and Hanne for highlighting the Space Center's work at the MIT Techfair. Bridger and Hanne were both outstanding volunteers at the Space Center through their high school years. It is good to keep in touch as they continue following their dreams)

The Art of Sitting Quietly
Lessons offered upon request


I was asked once what I do when I get home from a full day at the Space Center.
"I like to sit quietly," I replied. I do it professionally.

There are very few people who do it better than me. Sitting Quietly practitioners can be found in all parts of the world. You see us on park benches, in restaurants, at church, at the mall and in schools. We may look asleep, but don't let that fool you. Experts in the field have developed techniques to trick the mind into staying partly awake while still being able to transcend time and space into the imaginarium of dreams and inspirations.

I invite all to join us. Learn the benefits of Sitting Quietly. Free yourselves from the modern world. Find a bench. Sit down. Close your eyes and see where your mind takes you. I offer free lessons to anyone with a serious interest.

Have a Great Weekend!
Mr. Williamson




P.S. Bridger found a friend. One of his mother's miracles came true!
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