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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Emails from a Current Camper and Former Camper with News of a Sister Center in Pittsburgh.

Hello Troops,

It has been another day in the trenches for you and for me.  

The air in Utah is thick with Idaho smoke and ragweed pollen.  This atmospheric combination makes breathing difficult for people with allergies and asthma.  Speaking on behalf of myself and all other playground supervisors, I protest our current working conditions and want something done about it. I believe the government should do everything possible to forward the season's first frost.  Is that too much to ask?  

No news to report on the renovation of the Space Center.  I did hear a rumor the Maintenance Department has an architect looking at the project.  The question is, will the school district find it reasonable to spend thousands and thousands of dollars renovating the old Space Center when a new Space Center building is a few years down the road?  Our district's administrators will make that very difficult decision.  I'm glad it is their call and not mine. 

I received the following email the other day from one of the Space Center's biggest fans.
Thank you!          

Hi Mr. Williamson,

Ever since Space Center closed for repairs my life hasn't been the same. I discovered the Space Center 1 year ago and have been there 17 times ever since. So is it possible for you to tell the electrician people, that little kids are suffering from not being on the Voyager, and seeing the Romulans and the Borg, and getting in a phaser fight? Like, can I start paying these guys $2.25 (which is my weekly allowance) because I am starting to go insane! Anyway, I hope the Space Center can open again soon, because I am DESPERATE.
Hope to see you guys open again soon, and if there is anything I can do to help,
then i'm you're guy! :)

                                                - A Happy but partly crazy camper,
                                                               (Name withheld due to his age)
Thank you for offering your weekly allowance.  It is good to know we have great fans like you supporting us.

I also received the following email from Gary Gardiner, a former camper who has since grown up, graduated from university, and lives a normal life with his wife and child in Pennsylvania.   

Dear Mr. Williamson,
I first attended the Space Center almost twenty years ago as a fifth grader in the Jordan School District.  I had no idea that it was the Center's second year of operation—all I knew was that I was in heaven!  There was something truly magical about my experience there that caught my imagination and never let go.
I returned several times over the next two or three years, but eventually I grew too old to attend.  Even so, the Space Center continued to make an impression on me.  I was surprised to see other kids—not much older than I was—volunteering there, learning storytelling, drama, customer service, responsibility, creative writing, and all sorts of interesting facts about the universe.
I was jealous, but I didn't have the opportunity to join them because I lived 45 minutes north in Sandy.  Still, I did join them in spirit.  Knowing that they were making captivating productions inspired me to learn many important skills myself—including computer programming, graphic design, creative writing, and advanced math—that continue to enrich my life and career today.
I did have the opportunity to volunteer briefly at the Space Center while I attended BYU, but before long my LDS mission, schooling, family life, and career whisked me away.  I've worked at Goldman Sachs, received my MBA, and now work in Pittsburgh, PA helping launch startup technology companies.  And through it all I've never shaken the feeling of wonder that was instilled upon me at the Space Center.  It has enriched my life, inspired me to learn, and driven me to push myself to new heights.  And for that, I'm deeply grateful!  I'm so thankful to the Alpine School District for supporting a program that was so inspirational and monumental in my life.  Thank you for boldly being a standard bearer for educators nationwide.
I'm pleased to say that the impact the Space Center has had on my life is not all in the past tense.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I've long had the goal of making the Space Center's magic accessible to more children, including my own.  That goal and determination has led to action, and I'm currently deep in the process of replicating the Space Center experience here in Pittsburgh.
I've partnered with the Grable Foundation and a local school district in Pittsburgh as a beachhead.  I've built a technology platform—called Dream Flight Adventures (—to bring the Space Center's interdisciplinary magic to Pennsylvania.  We're still in the early stages, but I'm so excited to share the unbelievable experience that the Space Center provides with the next generation.
Here's to many more years of magic!
So there you have it Troops.  A new program for the children of Pittsburgh inspired by our little Space Center in Pleasant Grove.   Thank you Gary for the kind words and please keep me and our Troubadour readers updated.

Today's  Stop at Wonderland's Imaginarium

A unique profile

Creativity:  A

Inspired Advertising

They need a book like this for the child who dreams of a career in professional sports.
What a dream killer!

What is it then?  Ahhh, another portal to a school of witchcraft and wizardry.

A new door sign to remind your guests of things left behind.
Creativity: A

I know we have several Space Center employees looking for work to hold them over until the
Space Center reopens.
This sounds like it could be right up their alley.
I'd risk the messy death to get my hands on that laser death ray gun.  Wouldn't you?

Lada was the piece of junk car built in the USSR (communist Russia).
I visited communist Russia three times in the 1980's and 90's.  I had the distinct horror of riding in a Lada several time during my stays and swore never to do it again unless I had no other choice.   I would also bring my plastic St. Christopher statue and a lucky rabbit's foot. 

Meanwhile, Somewhere on an English Motorway.

Something you don't see out the office window everyday.

 Imagination: A
For the couple with a great sense of humor.
A wedding cake never to be forgotten.

For Mr. Schuler and Dave Daymont.  Space Center workers and 
school district computer techs.

Imagination Overload at the Texas Children's Hospital

And Finally,
A Street Child sings Whitney Houston.  Never judge someone because of their circumstances.

Thanks Troops,
Mr. Williamson
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