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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Help a Space Center Volunteer. Apollo 13 at the CMSEC's Ultimate Camp. The Imaginarium.

Get your Fireworks and Help a Fellow Volunteer

Hello Space Center Fans,
     Jace B. is one of our top volunteers at both of Pleasant Grove's space education centers - volunteering between ten and fifteen hours per month. His favorite ship is the Magellan. He's hard working, follows directions, and can act - which is a good thing :)    Jace is a great volunteer and now we have a chance to say thank you and do something for him. 
     Jace is a nationally ranked horse vaulter.  Horse vaulting is gymnastics on the back of a horse. I don't have a video of Jake in action, but I found a video of one of his competitors so you can see what this sport is all about.

     Jace is good at what he does and wants to go to the national competition.  This is where we can help.  Jace's family is operating the TNT Fireworks stand at Macy's Grocery Store in Pleasant Grove as a fundraiser for Jace.  Please support them by purchasing ALL your fireworks from their family stand. He's there all day every day so stop by, say hello, and ask him to do a trick or two for you.  You'll be impressed. Then empty that wallet and buy the good stuff to rock your neighborhood on July 4th and July 24th!

Mr. Williamson

The Christa McAuliffe Space Education's Ultimate Camp.

     Alpine School District's Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center ( the one I started in 1990) is in full summer mode with a slew of summer camp offerings for you, the discerning camper.  Their Ultimate Camp was the calendar this week.  Who can resist a camp carrying the adjective Ultimate in its title?  I had to stop by and see what was up.

      Day two of the Ultimate Camp is packed with fun and learning.  I found the campers in the school's commons area working their way through a challenging simulation Mrs. Houston, the CMSEC's summer camp teacher, called "Apollo 13".  

      The campers are divided into teams of three and shut away in small dark cubicles.  The only light they have is flashlight.  They are the crew of the unlucky Apollo 13 on their way to the moon when all of a sudden disaster strikes and their spacecraft is crippled.  Now, with flashlight in hand, each astronaut team rifles through a box of this and that scavenged from all parts of their small spacecraft.  If they are to live and make it back to earth, they must build the necessary equipment necessary to keep their capsule operational until splashdown.  

     "The kids really like this activity," said Mrs. Houston.  "We can keep them engaged and challenged for several hours.  It's an excellent team building, imagination draining experience."   

     Mrs. Houston was assisted by Isaac, Lissa, and Harrison -  members of our Farpoint Voyagers Club.   

     Of course, what's a CMSEC camp edventure without a stash of sugar to keep the younglings motivated and happy.  I happened on the Apollo 13 activity just as Mrs. Houston was ready to give them a quick restroom break.  Those who really had to go made a dash for the restrooms.  Those not in a dire need made a beeline for the sugar :)

     I was able to coax them into stopping long enough for a group photo before reentering their space capsules.  By the way, what do you think of the new Space Center t-shirts?  Gone are the days of basic black (my decision and I'm proud to stand by it) and hello to the days of vivid color (Megan Warner's doing).

     With the campers unsafely back aboard their doomed spacecrafts I went in search for other Space Center news.  
     Safely tucked away in the Space Center office were Jon and Megan, the right and left hand assistant directors to Mr. James Porter, the Space Center's new director.  I caught them in the middle of their second lunch (they both follow a Hobbit diet plan).  
     "We're not on the clock right now," Jon choked out, not wanting the new director to think their afternoon siesta wasn't warranted.  I told them their secret was safe with me and I kept my word.  I didn't mention their second lunch to Mr. Porter; who by the way, I found neck deep in what some might refer to as junk. 

     I found the CMSEC's new director in the Discovery Classroom wading his way through a storage closet full of old space center equipment and spares.  
     "I couldn't handle it anymore," Mr. Porter explained with a thumbs up.  "It's my OCD getting the better of me today." 


     Mr. Porter had the entire contents of the emergency stand by equipment room spread out on the tables waiting for either discarding or reshelving with proper identification and catalogization.  "I blame the previous administration for this travesty," he spoke with a tsk tsk in his voice.  Of course he was referring to me. 
     "The Emergency Stand By Equipment Room was organized and cataloged several times during my twenty-one years." I needed to give this new director, and good friend of mine a Space Center history lesson.  I also needed to deflect the blame to staff who were long gone and unable to defend themselves. "It's the staff who always mess things up after they're organized.  I suggest you put a lock on the door and only you carry the key."  
     James thought for a moment.  "And what if someone needs a piece of emergency stand by equipment - hence the name of the room - and I'm not here with the key to open it for them?  What then?" 
     Ah, Mr. Porter had found a hole in my logic and took delight in pointing it out.  I responded with a shrug of the shoulders.  Mrs. Houston provided my reason for excusing myself back into the hallway.        

     I found her wheeling one of the school's big trash cans up the hall and on to the commons area where her students were waiting.  "I know of two people sitting in a room you're about to pass who could do that for you," I suggested.  
     "I don't want to bother them," Mr. Houston replied.  "They're in the middle of planning their first supper.  Besides I do this every day for the field trips AND it lets the staff and volunteers know that I'm one of them.  Nobody is too big and important at the Space Center not to take a turn moving the trash around.  We're all for one and one for all around here."

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium


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