The best part of my job as Director of the 'Old' Space Center, was getting to work with thousands and thousands of wonderful volunteers and staff over the Space Center's twenty-two year history. That volunteer corps was sadly disbanded when the Space Center closed for repairs and reorganization last summer.
Over the past several months, many of those former volunteers kept in touch by email and through this blog, waiting anxiously for news on whether or not they would get to come back and continue their volunteering.
"I had just finished my observations when the Space Center closed," one young volunteer wrote last week in an email. "It wasn't fair. Will I ever get to volunteer?"
Up until this weekend, I didn't know how to answer that question; today I have an answer that will make all our former volunteers very happy campers indeed.
Space Center volunteers WILL have the opportunity to volunteer through a new non-profit organization recently incorporated called The Space EdVentures Foundation (SEF).
Volunteering with the Space EdVentures Foundation
Over the past few months, several long time supporters of the Space Center met to create the Space EdVentures Foundation (SEF). This non-profit organization's mission is to enlighten minds, young and old, as to what awaits us in the stars and how to apply life's values in real-life situations.
The SEF has four primary objectives:
- Educational Simulations: SEF is seeking to return the Space Center experience to the community as a whole by renting the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center at Central School for after school, Saturday and Summer private parties, classes and day camps. The SEF will support other organizations that use educational simulations in their STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Two such SEF supported projects are the Discovery Space Center in Pleasant Grove and the Space Center in Logan.
- Volunteerism: SEF will reestablish a vibrant volunteer program at educational institutions which support the Foundation's goals and objects.
- Curriculum: SEF will author curriculum to support our believe in Experiential Education. The SEF STEAM curriculum will be made available to teachers to use in their classrooms to supplement their instruction through our believe in substantive, hands on, experiential learning ie. the Discipline of Wonder.
- The Programming Guild: The SEF will continue the old Space Center's Programming Guild. This will include free classes in computer programming offered either at the Space Center or the Discovery Space Center.
Space EdVentures Foundation Volunteers will soon be able to volunteer at the following two organizations (with others to come):
- The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. People may volunteer for the field trip program. You must be able to come in between the hours of 10:00 A.M. to 11:45 A.M. and / or 12:30 P.M. to 1:30 P.M. on a weekday. Volunteers may choose to play roles in the simulation and/or work behind the scenes to produce the magic of the simulation in the Magellan, Phoenix and Galileo simulators. Volunteers will also be given the opportunity to help in the classroom and Starlab Planetarium if they wish.
- The Discovery Space Center. SEF volunteers will be given the opportunity to volunteer at Pleasant Grove's new Discovery Space Center located at the Stonegate Center for the Arts. Volunteers will be allowed to work in the simulators, learning both the performance and technical aspects of simulations.
Two Decades of Volunteering. A Short Slideshow.
I spent a few hours this weekend looking at pictures of the 'old' Space Center staff and volunteers - a dangerous endeavor if you are easily afflicted by fits of nostalgia. As I looked through the pictures, the thought came to mind that many of you readers ARE the old volunteers and staff I was seeing in the photos.
"They'd like to see these old pictures," I thought to myself.
"So why not make an iPhoto slideshow of them and share them," I also thought to myself.
"Great Idea Victor. You do that!" I continued to think to myself. Offering praise to oneself for outstanding self generated ideas is a good way to keep all those little voices you hear in your head happy; don't you agree?
I know what you're thinking. "The old duck has finally cracked". Perhaps we have, but that's our business, isn't it :)
So, without laboring the point to death, may I present a small collection of old staff and volunteer pictures, accompanied by a piece of music that reminds me of my old days in the backwoods of South Dakota.