Dweeb, A Friend to All
We've finished a busy second week of camps at the Space Education Center. The week started with a one night overnight camp followed by our first Ultimate Camp of the summer season.
I believe we have the Dream Team of staff and volunteers working this summer. They are all talented, dedicated and driven to provide the best experience possible for our campers. They are so good there are times I feel unneeded.
Mrs. Clegg is in the cafeteria taking care of the food. The only thing she needs me for is to offer a helping hand to unburden her minivan from the week's groceries and be there to give her the Space Center's credit card whenever she wants it.
Jennifer Remy and Lorraine Houston are running the classroom experience for the longer camps. They have it completely under control. I'm needed once a camp to unlock the storage room where they keep the large flask holding the liquid nitrogen.
Lorraine Houston and Metta Smith are in charge of chaperoning the girls. I'm only needed to unlock the air handing closet so they can override the central control system to turn on the air conditioning in their section of the school during the overnight camps.
Jon Parker, Bracken Funk, Devin Sudwicks and Zac Hirschi chaperon the boys in the Voyager. They have several years of chaperoning experience between them and only need me if one of the boys becomes a serious behavior problem. Other than that, I chaperon the boys assigned to sleep in the gym. Some camps have far more boys than the Voyager's sleeping quarters can accommodate. I get the youngest boys - they are easily intimated by my penetrating teacher's look when they misbehave. One stern warning from the stage (where the staff sleep) will quiet the boys down on the gym floor.
Jon, Bracken, Emily, Dave, Megan, Stacy, Zac and Nicole along with several other well trained flight directors run the ships. They rarely need my assistance. I am on hand to unlock doors. I'm also the one who turns on the hallway music system for their landing parties. Occasionally they disturb my meditations for a band aid.
Matt Long and Matt Ricks take care of the ship's computer needs. I'm needed to authorize work and purchase replacement equipment when necessary. To be honest, everything they talk about is Greek to me. Their Technogeek is a different language to most of us.
Kyle Jones and Spencer Robinson do an excellent job maintaining the simulators. They need me from time to time to tell them what project to do and when, other than that, they find me when they need the credit card.
So, what do I do? I Supervise, pay bills, book missions, do staffing schedules, register campers for camp, transfer campers from camp to camp, book private missions, change private mission bookings, field dozens of phone calls daily, answer scores of emails daily, clean bathrooms and school hallways when needed, help Aleta from time to time in cleaning the cafeteria after meals, sooth a troubled camper's nerves, clean up vomit, repair pin holes in the airbeds, turn off the fire alarm when the staff trigger the school's fire alarm system by taking hot showers, call the fire department and tell them not to send the fire trucks when the staff trigger the school's fire alarm system by taking hot showers, call Mt. Alarm and tell them to ignore the fire alarms when the staff trigger the school's fire alarm system by taking hot showers, monitor the staff and volunteers, work on development - both simulator and story, type the camper's Rank Advancement Certificates, act as the buffer between Space Center operations and the normal day to day operations of Central School, plead 'no contest' to every complaint the school principal and custodians throw our way, then work even harder to keep our operations from impacting the normal day to day running of the school, work to keep our camp's operations from becoming a distraction to the many students attending the school's summer school, work with the three cafeteria ladies in charge of the government's Summer Food Program to ensure our camp food program doesn't conflict or impact the government operation, walk the campers to Pleasant Grove's pool and chaperon while they swim, set up and run the video after swimming, clean up the mess left behind by the campers after video night, run to Walmart at least twice a day for emergency items forgotten in the normal weekly shopping, deal with emergencies like downed computers, injured campers, injured staff, downed sound systems, downed projectors, downed networks, complaints as they come in, refunds when needed, and so on and so forth.
OK, I guess I'm still needed for a few of the small things. Other than that, my staff and volunteers have my back on most things and thus - we have a smoothly running summer season.
My patience has been known to wear thin on the second and third days of the longer camps. The staff and volunteers know not to bother me with small things late at night. During the day - not a problem. Yes a problem late at night.
Just last camp I was walking by the cafeteria and found the large plastic barriers built to separate the Galileo side of the school's cafeteria from the school side had been used as props. Several of the frames were disconnected, one had collapsed to the floor. I expressed my dissatisfaction to the Galileo's Set Director. Stacy defended her flight director.
She explained that Erin was unaware of the rule I'd made about not using the barriers as props. Our discussion got heated. Stacy went home. Later I acknowledged my error. I had neglected to tell Erin not to use the barriers as props. The fault was mine.
I hate it when the staff are right and I'm wrong. I really irks me.
And so, we move along.....
This is Tori. Tori received her Odyssey Pin on Saturday from the Odyssey's new Set Director, Emily Paxman. Emily tooks the reigns of the Odyssey after Christine Grosland, the simulator's former Set Director, left the world to serve an LDS mission to Japan. This is Emily's first presentation as new Set Director. She is very pleased with herself. Tori is pleased with her accomplishment.
This is Michaela. Michaela received her Odyssey pin from none other than Emily Paxman on that same Saturday! Emily is a very busy Set Director who demonstrated great skill and fortitude in the pinning of the pin to both girl's lanyards.
This is Sam. Sam is receiving her Galileo Pin from Erin. Erin is the Galileo's newest flight director.
I suppose I should congratulate the young and newly experienced Erin on the occasion of her awarding her first Galileo pin. Look at Erin's enthusiastic expression of disbelief that the honor of making this presentation went to her (Stacy was no where to be found). Later that morning I cautioned Erin on the inappropriate use of facial exaggerations and excited emotion at the Space Center. Erin promised to do better in adopting our stoic and more measured approach to staff and volunteer emotional discharges. We know better than to waste precious emotional reserves on self promoting awards. Instead, we reserve the bulk of our emotions for the campers during the missions.
This is Annika. I'm congratulating Annika. Annika has been a dedicated volunteer for one year and was therefore awarded her silver one year pin.
This is Joseph. I'm congratulating Joseph. Joseph has been a dedicated volunteer for one year and was therefore awarded his silver one year pin. Please notice the reserved smile and firm grip we are both displaying. Let it be known that I always set the example of cautious reserve in the displaying of emotions. I hold my full range of emotions in reserve to be used when appropriate (like the time Jon set off a couple of real smoke bombs in the Voyager thinking that real smoke would be cooler than the fake smoke our smoke machines pump out on a daily basis).
A Few Staff Pictures...
from Morgan's Facebook Photo Album.
Ben is a Galileo Flight Director. He knows my rules concerning staff and volunteer lounging in the school's main entrance, yet he couldn't resist the call of several plush cushions from the faculty lounge (aka.. canteena). Ben can fall asleep anywhere. He's even been known to fall asleep in mid stride and walk into door frames.
Matt - The Borg made a visit to the Space Center to assimilate Daniel, Connor and Jorden. The assimilation process was unsuccessful as shown in the photograph above. Instead, Matt - The Borg made several guest appearances during the Voyager's new mission Much Ado About Horace. Matt has resisted the call to return to the collective and relishes his new found celebrity. He will be available for autographs after every three day EdVenture Camp. Just look for him near the fish tank.
Morgan is one of our long distance volunteers hailing from Park City, Utah. I'm concerned about Morgan. There are times she asks to leave her assigned station. This is what she looks like when she returns. She has a fear of sunlight, preferring to work in the darkest simulators. She insists on sleeping alone, in the Borg crypt used for the Phoenix mission "Dark Origins". Morgan never looks you in the eye during a conversation. Instead, her eyes lock onto your neck. As I said earlier, I'm concerned about Morgan and why she asks to work Overnight Camps only.
Fortuna and Bracken Tango
Bracken tempted the Goddess Fortuna last week and it came back to bite him. The Troubadour's regular readers know all too well that the Space Center and the Goddess of Fortune have a long standing love - hate relationship. We do all we can not to draw her attention. So far, this strategy has worked. Fortuna has curtailed her monthly visits to the Space Center, preferring to spend time tormenting the depressed people of Greece and Spain instead.
All that came to an end last week when Bracken uttered this challenge to the Gods of Olympus.
"I challenge Fortuna to strike. I spit in her eye. I dare her to cause the fire alarm to sound. Fortuna has no power over me. I curse the Gods of Olympus!"
Let me back up and fill you in on a few missing facts. The Voyager's shower has a tendency to trigger the school's fire alarm if the shower is too hot. The steam condenses on the heat register and the alarm rings. We called for a repair and I banned all showers until the repair was complete. Bracken convinced me that he could take a cold shower and not set off the alarm. I reminded him that I didn't want to tempt Fate and denied his request. He insisted. I hesitated, then thought it wise not to tempt Fortuna and denied his request again. That is when Bracken utter his fateful words.
The words were spoken and there was no way to bring them back. What did I have to lose? I gave permission. Bracken took his cold shower. The alarm didn't ring. All was well, until Saturday morning.
The four day Ultimate Camp was coming to an end. The campers were assembling in the gym to collect their new Rank Papers.
"My rank is wrong," one of the campers said.
"So is mine," another chimed in.
"Mine too," said a third.
It was a disaster. Bracken had messed up everyone's rank certificate. He had the wrong names and the wrong hours. The camp was to end at 10:00 A.M. It was 9:45 A.M. when the problem was discovered. Fortuna had her revenge. Bracken had a look of shock and disbelief on his face. He knew my entire emotional reserve was bubbling to the surface. He knew the explosion would be directed toward him.
To make a long story short, we resolved the problem and sent the campers on their way. It took the combined effort of most of the staff and an additional 30 minutes of my time but all was well in the end.
"I'll never tempt Fortuna again," Bracken promised.
"I'm holding you to that," I answered.
Fortuna is not to be tempted. She hears all and sees all. Bracken learned a hard lesson on Saturday. There were reasons the Greeks feared their Gods.
Now, we prepare for another week of camps. I'll see you soon in the trenches.