Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Couple Stories, Your Comments and Questions, The Imaginarium.

Hello Troops,

I'm sending this update to the blog from my warm trailer on Central School's playground.  I like being in control of the trailer's heat and air conditioning.  If I see the students getting a bit groggy, I'll turn the heat down and cool the room.  That usually perks them up.  If I see them shivering, I'll turn the heat up just enough to get them to focus on me and not trying to fight off frost bite.  The school's heating and cooling is centrally controlled from the school district's maintenance headquarters.  It is yet another advantage for working out of a trailer instead of the main school building.

Yesterday I enjoyed watching a scene from "A Christmas Story" played out right in front of me as I stood in front of Shelley Elementary monitoring the students at the end of the school day.  It was snowing.  I had my red and white Campbell's Soup umbrella out protecting me and a few other of the small humans gathered around me, from the snow.

"I dare you to put your tongue on the flagpole," one young 2nd grader said to another.

I wondered if I should stop him from taking the dare.  A small group of spectators had gathered and the drop off zone was full of cars.

"Stop, don't," I whispered under my breath loud enough to be heard by nothing other than the dozen or so snowflakes swirling around my face.

I watched as the young man's tongue got closer and closer to the aluminum flagpole.  I knew it wasn't cold enough for his tongue to stick; I could have told him his tongue wouldn't stick but that would have ruined the fun.

"You know I'll have to call the fire department to peal your tongue off the flagpole don't you?"  I said.  The boy looked at me in disbelief.

"Do It!" a few in the small crowd urged him on.

Inches shrunk to centimeters which in turn shrunk to millimeters.  It was like watching a rocket lift off.  10,  9,  8,  7,  6,  5,  4,  3,  2,  1,  and CONTACT!
I SO wanted that tongue to stick.  It didn't of course, but the entire experience was awesome to witness.

Never a day goes by without some kid telling me or doing something that makes me laugh.  Today a young 1st grader came up to me on the playground; his face was all soured up.  I could tell he was about to tattle on someone for some terrible offense that he or she had committed against him.

He tugged on my orange pumpkin vest.  "My friend won't play with me because he says he wants to play with his girl friend and I don't think its right!"   I thought for a moment and decided to reinforce a lesson I knew his teachers taught in the first grade.

"I guess you're going to have to learn to share your friend, aren't you?"  He looked puzzled, like he couldn't comprehend how someone could share a person.  He ran off.  I turned and saw another first grader standing on a large square metal grate covering one of the playground's drainage culverts.  He was memorized by the snow run off.

"Don't move.  Stay still!" I said in my best teacher voice.  He froze.  "That metal grate could give way.  You'll end up in the well."  The boy's face turned white.  A young girl walked up to him, careful to stay on the black top.  She looked down into the drainage.

"That's deep.  You'll drown in there."  She spoke in a rather matter of fact tone, then ran off to play with her friends.

"On the count of three I want you to jump off the grate and onto the playground," I said.  He nodded.  "One, Two, Three!"

He jumped.  He was saved!  I told him the truth.  He thought it was funny.

Your Comments and Questions         
Adam P. Wrote
I love the new design! I can't wait for it to open. But I'm also heartbroken that we have to tear down my two favorite ships. R.I.P Odyssey.
1: do you have an estimated time on when the new building will be done?
2: if not, when will the three ships you don't have to tear down be up and running?
Thank you for the comment and questions.  
1.  The new building is at least 18 months away if not longer.  
2.  The Magellan, Phoenix and Galileo will reopen sometime in January or

Nolan Wrote:
I have a few comments and questions for the dream center. My first comment is that the ships can't be the same. imagine being a camper but only being able to do the Phoenix, Galileo, and the Magellan. It would not be the same. The only advantage would be that if a group of friends all wanted to go on the same ship they would have two chances of not getting outranked. At school I hear people  who talk about the space center and share experiences from different ships and most of them end in "I can't wait to go on the voyager" (or some other ship). Having only three different kinds of ships would kill the anticipation. Another problem would be in the summer there would only be three new missions. All of the Order of the Federations would only go three times in the year, it would lose lots of campers. On a recent post it said that if we only had three different kinds of ships it would be easy to train on. Another two-and-half hour observation is not going to kill you.
Now for the questions 1. What is the deal with overnights? 2. What is left to do to get it open? 3. When will there be a schedule so the volunteers and campers can sign up?
Thank you for the comments and questions.
1.  Overnight Camps are not possible because the fire marshall said that
     schools cannot have overnight camps.  We also lost the Voyager's 
     sleeping quarters.  Overnight camps would be possible if the Space 
     Center was in its own building.
2.  A working schedule won't be up until we have ships open.

Seven of Nine wrote:
I just wanted to say thank you for what you did 22 years ago and turned a dream into a reality and created the Space Center. This is why:When I was in 5th grade, I had no idea who I was or what I loved doing in life.  I was the shy girl who didn't fit in. I was terrible at sports, was struggling with piano and was just the smart nerdy bookworm. I had just started commuting to my elementary school in Utah County from my house an hour away. I had been teased constantly since I was in second grade. I had friend troubles, and was trying my hardest to be accepted, which wasn't working. So basically my self-esteem wasn't the greatest. Then our class came to the Space Center. It was amazing walking up the spiral stairs into Voyager. I was awestruck. Then something happened and a group of us were moved to the Phoenix. We were in the turbo-lift and our FD asked who wanted to be captain. And to this day I have no idea why, but my hand shot into the air. I ended up being chosen as first officer by the captain. I was in an important role and a leader, for once in my life.  
We did Intolerance. At a point during the debate with the Peanou, the captain turned to me and asked "what should I say?" I told her what I thought and she told that to the Peanou. I was the girl that hated confrontation, never spoke out: and there I was helping with a debate. The mission ended all too fast. I never wanted to leave. The Space Center left it's mark on me and gave me a taste of something I never thought I'd ever do: stand out, make a difference, become something. It gave me a look at who I was. And I wanted more. I did many other missions that year and found some of my best friends and best memories. I started watching Star Trek  and I knew I had found something to fall in love with.

Sixth grade rolled along and I transferred schools. I was back to being my shy, secluded self. I was still a geek, now brought out by my love for Star Trek. I hardly had friends. I just tagged along with two of my now friends, feeling like a third wheel and all alone. My bright spot was going back to the Space Center. My teacher handed us our boarding passes and I was startled to see that I was Captain of the Galileo. I made the decisions...I was in charge...I had to think fast and trust myself even when no one else did. Big shock to my system. I had to stretch my comfort zone to fill this job. The day came and I was nervous. We were doing Midnight Rescue and I became even more anxious when my crew and I were informed we had a special mission to accomplish. It didn't help much that we were a crew of 5, instead of 6. We made it through the mission in the nick of time. I had to push myself to not be timid, to not be afraid of what others thought, to listen to myself and trust myself. I grew so much from that mission. I was given a bigger taste of who I was and I took off with it.

 Seventh grade I was more confident. I was reunited with one of my friends from fifth grade and we decided to do band together. We both found our instruments, our love for music that still exists to this day, many many best friends and I finally found something I was genuinely good at.
I started volunteering that year and had to embrace a whole different part of myself. I became an actor, I experienced working with others, I made friends, I tried new things. I had to break my little comfort zone and timid shell and become the person I experienced when I was in the Captains chair. I had finally found how I fit in to the universe.

Now I am the Trekkie Whovian geek girl musician, who's no longer afraid of what others think, who is surrounded by wonderful friends she's met along the way, who has found herself in life, who dares to imagine, dream and create: who dares to be different.

I know this is kind of (really) long :) but it has to be this long to express how grateful I am for you, the Space Center, your staff and volunteers, and what you do that changes lives everyday.

You truly helped me find myself.

Seven of Nine

Lauren and Michaela wrote:
Hi Mr W!
I edited my comments and so we are officially sending them now.
The main idea that I would like to share is that we should keep the space center as close to the same as possible. Why make something new when we can just recreate it all as close as possible. From what I’ve read and heard most people feel the need that with the prospect of a new building you have to start all over again and make everything new and bigger and better but honestly (now there is nothing wrong with that) but I think we should just try and recreate it in a new building. It’s less money and less planning. Why destroy and forget something that was totally fine except for wiring and safety hazards that are small and can be fixed without destroying the whole ship.I just love the space center as it is and don’t want to see it go and think a simple solution is to keep the same space center but move it into a new building add a couple things here and there and just generally improve. Upgrade not start over.

First of all we don’t agree with the magnet school idea at all. Here are our reasons for no magnet school. (We are also concerned as to what will happen to current and future volunteers and staff that are minors.)

  1. We like how the space center attracts kids of all ages, interests...etc. I’ve had jocks, nerds, drama geeks...etc on my ship. It was cool how they set those differences aside and worked together. They’ve even become good friends. What other place is there where kids forget stereotypes?!
  2. The volunteers are also filled with kids of different interests and personalities, I think it’s neat how they also get along well and even become really good friends.
  3. With a magnet school, you will only attract the kids that like math and science and you won’t get that rare opportunity of kids of different interests to become friends.
We are probably misunderstanding the whole magnet school thing, but we kind of did some research on what a magnet school is, and it doesn’t seem like it would be good for the space center... However, we do like your farpoint academy stories on the blog. If it was like that, we wouldn’t mind it. ;)

Second off we’ll start with money.
I think for money problems we should do sponsors. Sports teams have sponsors and so do small organizations. I think we could lots of restaurant sponsors and small businesses. If there was a new space center with a cafeteria we could totally put up signs for businesses because there are tons of students and staff and adults who go through the space center every day so they would see the signs. I’m sure lots of businesses would sponsor and maybe even donate. Like food and shirts and stuff like that. So many people would be willing to donate.

I also really enjoyed it being at Central because it lacked "futuristic space like hallways" and what not it required more imagination and acting on the staff and campers part and I really loved that. As a camper it stretched my imagination and made me really get into the part. 
So, I personally think we can use more money towards the actual simulators and that stuff than to making it feel more space-like, I think it would be cool to be space like but I think that's one area that doesn't need a ton of money and can be left plain to make the campers use their imaginations more. Plus, imagination is one thing not really taught in school. Imagination is so important to have and so it’s good for kids to get to use it at the Space Center

Now I personally think we should break off from the district when we get a new building. One problem I heard (I’m sure there are many) is copyright issues (like how we are able to use star trek because of school purposes). Now I have a way we can solve it. Why not contact the people for star trek and ask. I personally think they would be happy to let us once they heard what we were doing. Why might you ask? Because I think we are great publicity for them. Who doesn’t go to space camp and then want to see Star Trek and buy stuff. Plus they might give us permission for much more and possibly costumes and merchandise and what not. Who knows?

We should keep the overnighters. The overnighters are what makes the space center unique. Plus if Clear Creek can have overnighters, I don’t see what’s wrong with the space center having overnighters. Personally, I think it’s safer to have overnighters at the space center. The staff does a great job supervising and there has never been a problem. Sure there has been a few kids waking up in the middle of the night needing to throw up or whatever, but there hasn’t been anything bad! The overnighters are really fun and the scores are always amazing. The kids prefer doing space camp over lagoon or movies! That’s saying something!

Now for my ideas for a space center building. This is for if it was two stories to save space.

Level One
So have Mr W’s office and gift shop at the front on either side. Then I thought you could have all the ships in the middle. And the doors (triangles) are super rough. This was mostly all rough to be honest. But I was thinking having control room doors opposite from other control rooms so less traffic and less chance of campers seeing control room doors. Again, needs to be worked out but you get the idea. I always liked having the Galileo apart from everything so I did that on the left. There is lots of empty/extra space for storage and away missions and stuff like that (you could have a room for security training that is like mazes for example) you can work with. Then I put a cafeteria next to Mr W’s office.  Then the gym right above it. This can have steps for when you start out a mission with Mr W and also can be used for away missions and games during longer camps. The gym at central was really helpful to the space center and it would also benefit the new one.

Level Two
I’ll start with the classrooms. I put three because then each teacher could have one. Ms Clegg, Ms Houston and Mr Williamson where they could have their own class to teach what they want. Now for the briefing rooms. If you would notice there are five. One for each ship. These would solve the problem of trying to find a room to brief in. Now this makes it so the flight directors if they want can decorate the room how they like for their ship. Then the staff room would be like the teachers lounge kind of at Central. It is where the staff can put their stuff, hang out in between missions and eat. It can also be like where news are put (pictures, bulletin boards, Imaginarium, etc). The bedrooms, there are three: boys, girls and staff. The staff can be split for boys and girls. This is if they are all not on the ships or if some are on some are off. You can fill these with bunk beds, beds or even mattresses. I also think there should be a staff bathroom separate so that you can let staff get ready for bed later and after campers and for traffic and crowding issues. The girl staff bathroom should have a big mirror, counters, paper towels and a locker room in it. Just kidding. That’s not that important..but would be nice! Haha oh and showers. The boys....can just have a normal bathroom. :) The rest is extra space...again.

We should also have a room/arena type thing for security missions. It could kind of be maze like and almost like a laser tag arena (but it wouldn’t be like laser tag, cuz we don’t think laser tag would work too well at the Space Center, plus that would be a lot of money). It would be great for away missions and it would be cool if you can close off certain section so that each time there is an away mission the kids are in a whole new place. Also by doing that the other ships can have away missions at the same time without running into each other.

Well these are just rough ideas and I hope you enjoy them and they come possibly in handy. Thanks for your time!
Lauren and Michaela

The Imaginarium

 A futuristic desk.  Stretching out may be a problem, but cool nevertheless.

A Subtle hint to a passing pedestrian.

A blessed Christmas

 He keeps a record of every one he and his truck encounter :)

Bacon makes everything better.

A confused story


Another Black Shirt said...

How can we thank the people pushing for our side on the district committee? It's because of them we have what we have scheduled to be open.

Stephen Done said...

Ooh, I like the battery idea... My kids, not so much.