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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Old Posts from the Space Center's First Blog. The Imaginarium and the Children of New Zealand Finishing your Day with the Christmas Story. Merry Christmas!

Old Posts of Interest from the SpaceEdVentures 

YahooGroup.  The Space Center's First Online Blog

Hello Troops,
     Two posts of interest today taken from my first blog, a YahooGroup called SpaceEdVentures.  The first was written by then Odyssey Set Director Chris Call.  The second written by Megan Warner detailing the first Leadership Camp ever run at the Space Center in the summer of 2004 (I believe).  Have a wonderful Christmas Eve and I'll see you tomorrow.

Mr. W.

Chris's Post on the Odyssey's Brief Blog from 2004.  Emily as a 

Training Flight Director.  The Construction of the Phoenix. A 

Funny Story About a Mission.  

December 8, 2004


Here I am, sitting down to write the blog, and I have left my notes... elsewhere. Usually I  keep notes to remember all the funny and interesting things that happen throughout the  week. Ah well. It happens. 

You may have been wondering what happened to the semi-weekly blog. A new game  came out recently: World of Warcraft. Very enjoyable. Enjoyable enough that I came to work Friday morning with only about an hour of sleep behind me. Yup, it's that good. The day went okay, and I FELT like I had enough energy to go around... but the bags under my  eyes gave me away. (Curse you bags!!!) Needless to say, the blog is back. 

My crew surprised me this week. What I thought would be a horrendous and annoying crew turned out to be great! They flew through the mission at fantastic pace, and had a lot of fun. Sam played Dr. Tarkis, and the Gelf, and did a great job doing both. 

Emily continues to surprise and amaze me in her training to be a flight director. She ran one mission where Josh and I just sat, and watched and wrote things down. We both had long talks with her afterward about things that could be improved. She's becoming EXTREMELY versatile though. (When you can answer complex questions as the computer, at the same time you are changing tracks to fit the next part in the story means you are getting good.) Becoming a Flight Director is learning how to multitask in your mind. Emily is doing great. Even Mr. Babb agrees... and as everyone knows: " In Josh we trust. "

Oh. I almost forgot. Metta. She must be mentioned. Sometimes, I, and others, are at the space center a LONG time. Josh knows what I'm talking about. It's being at the center for 32+ hours straight sometimes. Metta is awesome because she gets us food. She gets us fast food and brings it to us when we don't have time to do so ourselves! There is more than one time I would not have survived without that rescue. THANK-YOU Metta Smith!

A funny note: 1... or was it 2 weeks ago?.... I ran Bug Hunt. In that mission, the Klingons show up at a very inopportune moment promising to wreak havoc, and just ruin a good guy's day. The mission was typical, and Klingons showed up right on schedule. I could really tell that the pilot understood what was going on when he looked up at the main viewer, and saw the Klingon ships bearing down on them. His face blanched, and he said, "Oh $@*#!" 

I've never had quite that reaction before. Usually I stop the mission when certain choice words come out of a young man's mouth. On this occasion, I would have done the same, if I could have stopped laughing. It surprised and disarmed me. Maybe you had to be there, but it was EXACTLY the line that would have been said in a movie. Just like in Generations when the Enterprise is plummeting towards the planet and you KNOW they're in trouble, Data let out a few choice words too. It was just like that. Especially because the kid looked around nervously, as if to say, "Did anyone here me? Is my mom here?" But no, no one on the ship heard him because they were busy panicking themselves... At least, 
he thought no one heard. Beware the things we say when we think people are not listening... 

Phoenix Devolopment: Marty and Jeff are doing greet building the new simulator. Every day that I come in, it seems like there's something new. They're very hard workers who bend over backward to make sure that things aren't just functional, but that they look cool too. Not that I would know, but I think it's hard to find the right kind of people to help the space center grow like those 2 have. They do great work, and are both pleasant to be around.

RealBasic: Sounds good, but I have not seen anything yet. I see Flash everyday on the internet and I say to myself: "wow. wouldn't it be great to have controls that looked that good? But it's too hard to learn, and I don't know if young programmers could learn it fast enough. Had a dad come in this week that works in Flash. Had a long conversation with him. He said that everything we do, Flash could do, that it would be funner, be better, and that he knows some people who probably do it for us for free. Hmm... I should probably tell Mr. Williamson." 

Christmas Program: We're running an insane 18 hour long mission on December 28-29th. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Whoa. I'm planning on running Masquerade. There is much work to be done. Both video and tactical must be done. The story must be streamlined. I better finish this now... 


Megan's Post on the Leadership Camp.

By Megan Warner

Hey guys! It's Megan. This is a little report on the leadership camp. If you're curious about what happened in general or want to know what was going on in the ships you weren't working, this is the thing to read. If you don't care at all, I suggest not continuing. It's up to you.

Mr. Williamson told a bit about the origins of the camp, but I wanted to expound a little. This whole thing came about one day after a bunch of people came over to my house to watch Stargate. (Which is an amazing show, by the way.) We went up to our kitchen and talked for a while, with people slowly trickling out. Taylor and I were the last ones there, and he started telling me about this cool concept he had where we would have a campaign of missions to bring back repeat customers. We ended up talking for what, 2 hours?, and came up with the idea to run a camp with one of these campaigns. And hey, why not make it ridiculously hard and call it a leadership camp? Over the next couple of days, we came up with an extremely detailed proposal for Mr. Williamson and, after quite the battle, got a green light.

For the next several months, we worked our tails off to get this camp put together. Unfortunately, we weren't ready as of two weeks ago. We had a HUGE scramble to get things finished. At the start of the camp, though, we still weren't done. We opened the doors with only a vague sense of what was supposed to happen that night. At some point, Taylor and I strongly felt that we needed some... higher help... and so we went and asked for it. Then, it began.

Thursday night saw the campers rotating through classes on communication, problem solving, and leadership. We gave them all notebooks to facilitate note taking and retention, and I was personally disquieted about how little the kids used them, but it was their call.

After the classes, we brought the campers into the gym to give them their overall briefing on the campaign. Taylor and I had a vague sense of what we were going to tell them, but that was it. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I do remember the feeling it left saturated throughout the room. All our inspired and inspiring talk of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs really gave them a sense of foreboding. I could see them all, to one extent or another, thinking 'what did we get ourselves into?' When we were finished, they were sent to bed and, from what I know, gave us very little trouble.

Friday morning, we got the kids up at 6:45 with reveille and whistles. It was fun. A quick breakfast was served, and the crews were taken back to the gym for their briefings. All five ships heard all five briefings, for the sake of knowing where everyone else was going. The point of this camp was to make them work together to complete one single, overall objective. They were supposed to beat the Dominion War. Each rotation was intermingled, at least with information and clues being found and supposedly sent to the other ships. Between each mission, the crews debriefed each other, letting the others know what happened. Then it was off again for the next part of the war.

The crews went through two five hour rotations on Friday. During training for one of them, Mr. Williamson came up to me and said we didn't have a pool for that evening. I knew we could easily fill the space, but we needed the time to get set up. Luckily, our wonderful Bossman worked his magic and came back ten minutes later to let me know he'd gotten a pool reservation at Orem and a bus to get us there. Yay! So, after dinner, the kids were off and the scramble began.

We had scheduled for Friday night what we called the ASA, or After Swimming Activity. The time they were gone saw the entire staff rushing around the school setting up, well, a Dominion base. When the campers got back, Jon told them they were now on a mission to gather some vital information about the Dominion's plans for the next stage of the war. They were given several objectives and sent off, with a warning that a ship was coming to get them at midnight and only whatever and whoever was at the pick up point- the lobby- would get back. A couple crazy hours later, the crew failed. They completed a few of their objectives and found a couple of the bonus goodies we left for them, but they didn't get back until fifteen minutes after the ship left them. None of what they'd found- weapons, plans, and schematics- would have any bearing on the outcome of the war. Too bad for them.

Reveille Saturday morning was at 6. The kids got up, slower than they should have, and shuffled into the gym. They were given half an hour to eat and get ready for the inspection they had on their bunks. We'd scheduled more time than that, but they took too long getting ready. The campers scrambled through their cereal to run back and get their barracks ready. From what I heard of the boys and saw of the girls, they did better than any of us thought they were. After they all passed, it was back to the gym and their briefings.

Rotation 3, the campers experienced some problems. They were all tired and starting to lose focus, but that had been our goal. The 'war' had been going on for a year and a half at this point, and we wanted them to feel it. Because of this, most of them didn't complete their objectives like they were supposed to. Oh yeah, we also had our Big Incident. I was in the middle of my flight, trying to get the Phoenix crew to destroy some weapons platforms (instead they got the entire Third Fleet blown up. Whoops.) when someone came in and said we had an issue. I went out to the hall and saw Jon, holding his head with quite a bit of blood coming from behind a paper towel. Yes, real blood. Not something you see too often here. We got Emily to take a look at him, and after a bit of a scare involving pupils and a dead pen light, Jon was rushed off to the Urgent Care center by Mr. Williamson and we all went back to our missions.

At the beginning of the fourth rotation, the campers were told, to put it shortly, that they were in a lot of trouble. They'd done a lot throughout the camp that was stacking against them. They'd have to be really careful if they wanted to succeed. The first half of the mission was pretty much a disaster, and before they were sent off to their lunch of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat- military meals. I think they're quite yummy if you get the right ones) it was reiterated to them that they were behind in their objectives. By a lot. This rotation was the only one split up at all. We'd done it this way because they were supposed to trade information and basically decide that all five ships were going to be needed to finish this war in a good way. Unfortunately, they were all so far behind, they weren't able to trade said data. We started up again with the staff understanding that if the Magellan didn't get into the battle by 3:30, the campers were going
to fail and the war would be lost. Guess what? It didn't happen. There were a lot of factors that added up to become an almost impenetrable wall of defeat, and they were unable to find the chink in the Dominion's armor. We took the crews out to the gym and told them they had lost the war, there was a giant super weapon on its way to destroy Earth, and they all would have died. (We blew the Phoenix up. It was AWESOME! Much cooler than it ever was in the joint Greenpeace Bracken and I flew.)

A good way to describe how the kids did for this camp is 'epic fail'. Thanks Brady for that term. They failed, but it was their fault, they knew it, and it was glorious. Woot.

I wanted to say thanks to all the staff. It was them that really made this thing come together. This may seem really obvious, but Taylor and I couldn't have done this without you. We really appreciated it, and I know the campers did too.

Well, there ya have it. If you actually made it through all this, kudos to you. That was quite the feat. I tried to keep it short, but it obviously didn't work out that way.

Thanks again to our staff, and to Mr. Williamson for having the faith in us to let us try. We're so glad we didn't let you down.


The Imaginarium on Christmas Eve

The Ordinary to Extraordinary


One way to track a wandering turtle

Just in case you are one of the many who misunderstand the definition of Hero.

And finally troops,
As you get ready for bed, let these young people from St. Paul's Church is Auckland New Zealand tell you the Christmas Story in five short minutes......

Good night.....
And may your Christmas be filled with love and happiness.

Mr. W. 

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