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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

What is it Like Running a 48 Hour Camp for 64 Campers? Taking the Campers Swimming on the 48 Hour Camps. Campers Saved from Cafeteria Food by Bill and Aleta. Chris Call Praised. Black Plastic Everywhere in the Cafeteria. So Much More with Pictures. The Imaginarium.

Swimming and Movie Night on the second night of a 48 Hour Camp.
This is a favorite picture of mine. It captures the essence of the camp. We're all tired. Its the second day of the camp. It's getting dark at PG Pool. We still have the movie part of the camp ahead with another full day of missions tomorrow.
The campers are having fun. The staff are having fun. Mr. Williamson is so tired but happy he can relax by the pool and just chill for an hour or so (or at least until the next bloody nose)

A Camper Thanks the Staff for a Great 48 Hour Camp.

People Mentioned:  Metta Smith Bryson Lystrup, Ryan Parsons,  Richard Orcutt, Lorraine Houston, Jennifer Remy,

June 17, 2002

Kylee H sent the following...
Dear Mr. Willms,
Thank you so much for making space camp so wonderful! I had a blast!  The Voyager mission was great. I would like to thank you and Metta Smith for making the Voyager mission a memorable one.

I would also like to thank the Magellan staff for making the Magellan such an 
awesome experience. I would also like to thank Bryson Lystrup ( Captain Chamberlain) and Ryan Parsons (Captain Deverol) for making this mission funny, fun, exciting, and just wonderful! Also for all of the help that they gave me! Richard Orcutt was a great staff member. He was very helpful and made the mission fun and exciting! So thanks Richard.

Mrs. Houston and Mrs. Remy were great teachers. I loved the activities that we did. 

I would like some feed back on how I did as Admiral in the Magellan. If someone who was on the Magellan with me would please let me know that would be great. I would like to also know some more about volunteering. I would really like to volunteer and I need to know who to volunteer. I would really love to hear back from you as soon as possible. Again, 
thanks for a great summer!

Yours Truly,
Kylee H, Captain (Rank)

Mr. Williamson. Summer 48 Hour Overnight Camp. June 2007.
At the Pleasant Grove Pool for Swimming and Movie Night

Space Center Journal.  
What it was Like Running a 3 Day Overnight Space Camp with 64 Campers. Squeezing the Falcon, Galileo, and Starlab in the Cafeteria.  The New Summer Missions for 2002. Bill Schuler and Aleta Clegg are the New Camp Cooks.  Cafeteria was Inspiring. Camp Rotations Extended to 7 Hours Instead of 4.  The 7 Hour Astronaut Training Class is a Big Hit.  Hard to Do with 22 Campers per Rotation. Staff Burnout. Orem Recreation Center of Swimming. Black Plastic Everywhere in the Cafeteria. A Former Favorite Student Dies.

People Mentioned:  Bill Schuler, Aleta Clegg, Lorraine Houston, Jennifer Remy, Kyler Herring, Alex DeBirk. Ryan Tingey, Scott Tingey.

June 22, 2002

Hello Troops,
A very busy couple of weeks for the Summer Season of 2002! We started the season with Day Camp 1. It started at 9:00 A.M. sharp. We had to use the cafeteria because the gym was being used by the carpet layers. Several classrooms were being recarpeted. Lucky for us the carpeting was scheduled to last 1 week. They were true to their word and finished the building by last weekend's overnight mission. 

64 excited kids showed up for the Camp. Ten to 14 was the age range. Each carried a sack lunch. We signed them in as we do overnights (in the briefing room). We used our new name tags (lanyards) for the first time. Don't they all look official with computer generated name tags placed in their Lanyards with the words "Space Center" printed along the neckbands. 

Trying to squeeze the Falcon, the Starlab, and the Galileo all in the cafeteria was a bit of an engineering challenge but we were up to the task. The reviews for the camps were very, very good. The Voyager told Canada. The Odyssey debuted its new mission "Masquerade". The Magellan ran "Fail Safe". The Galileo continued with Maximus. The Falcon ....... I don't remember its new mission name. 

Excellent new missions for the season. I'm excited to see the quality.  Well, I guess not all new. The Voyager's new mission "Mercy Strikes" will be our overnight mission. The Canada is too long for an overnight telling so I switched it to the Camp mission. 

The real test of the summer was our first 48 hour camp. It started on Monday evening at 4:30 P.M. That was a glitch in itself. I scheduled the 48 hour camps to start at 4:30 P.M. instead of 5:00 P.M. as in years past so we could be better prepared for the Astrocamp kids. They usually arrive at 4:30 P.M. on our joint camps so why not start then? The only problem was I forgot that. It wasn't until a camper at the door showed me the starting time on their confirmation did I remember. It was just a bit of a panic as we shifted gears and got everyone in their loading stations 15 minutes early. Bill Schuler and Aleta Clegg were down in the cafeteria cooking away. I was worried about that. For the last three years I had Central's cafeteria staff do the cooking. The first year was excellent. The last two were not so good. Every camp review had cutting remarks and criticism against the food. The staff didn't even like to eat it. I had to do something. Change cooks with Space Center people that understand the importance of providing a quality product to our campers. 

Leaving Central with suits and towels in hand for swimming night.
Day 2 of the 48 hour camp.

Monday evening's dinner was ready at 6:00 P.M. Spaghetti was on the menu. I crossed my fingers hoping my decision to let Bill take charge down there was the correct one. I sent the first groups down. I walked slowly toward the cafeteria and entered near the opposite side 
of the serving line near the Galileo. What I saw was inspiring!

The tables had decoration. Cantina music from Star Wars was playing and the line was moving smoothly. There was a hilarious Starfleet Kitchen menu poster up by the plates. Bill and Aleta were in their red aprons and most impressive of all - the kids were eating and so were the staff. The rest of the camp was destined to flow - the cafeteria set the tone for the entire thing. I want to personally thank Bill and Aleta for all their hard work and extra effort for our campers and staff. A special mention for Aleta who is doing this all as a volunteer!
The spirit of what we do and the service we provide children does bring out that "I want to get involved" spirit and I'm honored and humbled by the amount of time all of our volunteers and staff give the Center. 

I had three excellent rotations. Our rotations, by the way, are a bit different than in years past. This year we are going with longer programs. Each rotation lasts seven hours. Last year they were four hours. I went with seven hour rotations from feedback received from 
last year's campers. The advantage is a longer, more involved mission. The disadvantage is instead of getting four of the five simulators you only get two. 

Walking to PG's pool. Nearly 60 of us. We could block an intersection for a good minute or two :)

The comments from the campers was positive. They voted overwhelmingly to keep the longer rotations. The campers also spoke positively about the new Astronaut Training Program Mrs. Remy created for the class session. Jennifer and Lorraine work with all the campers. The only staff at the Center that do now. They are set up in a trailer. Imagine taking 22 students for seven hours! Remember, these kids can be rough because most of them just come to camp for the simulators. Excellent work Jennifer and Lorraine. 

Now that the camp is over I can look back and see another drawback to seven hour rotations - staff burnout. It was hard enough for me on that last rotation to stay awake and energetic. We all work so hard at making the missions fun, educational, and exciting that we forget sometimes to take breaks and more important give our staff breaks. I've decided the quality of our missions will not diminish if we take a few 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. 

We did the Orem Rec swimming again as usual but ate dinner at the school instead of taking a sack supper with us. I've decided to take the kids out of the pool at 8:30 P.M. instead of 9:00 P.M. They are mostly out of the water anyway by that time running around the Center. It also gives all of us a chance to get to bed earlier on the second night. 
An old tradition was reinstated. We went back to the usual chicken dinner for supper before swimming. That brought back some old memories. 

We sent the first campers home on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday was a business day for me. Updating volunteers hours and doing the books, emails, phone calls, and mail.

Friday was the overnight camp. I arranged for the Voyager to be closed for this overnight. I was there but working on other things. Kyle Herring really, really went the second mile on this overnighter! He, along with help from Alex DeBirk, created a large black plastic curtain 
separating the cafeteria into two sections. In addition they built a network of tunnels with plastic plumbing tubing and large sheets of black plastic. This network connects the Galileo's door to other parts of the hall and cafeteria. It is amazing and just tooooo cool for the kids. He opened his version of Mercy Strikes. His five campers, once assigned to the ship, were there the entire camp. They didn't mix with the other campers at all. He had them sleep in one of the Starlab domes in the cafeteria and fed them on their own. From what I read they enjoyed it. My question is whether Kyle can keep up that kind of set up and take down for every overnighter? We shall see but what an experience for those kids and all for only $39.00 per person. What a bargain!!!!!

The days are long and summer has started. We did pass the summer solstice. That means the days will slowly start to shorten. That means it will get darker earlier. We like that for the overnighters. 

I lost a favorite student from years past in an accident this last week. Ryan Tingey was killed in a motorcycle accident on Monday. He was hit by a new 16 year old driver. He wasn't wearing his helmet. Ryan was only 26 years old. He was a boy full of energy and excitement as a sixth grader. Sadness has run its course in his family. His younger brother Scott, also one of my students, committed suicide several years ago. 

You grow close to your students as a teacher and really enjoy seeing them grow up and take on life's responsibilities. Then there are the sad moments when you find their lives were cut short. I saw Ryan a month ago at Harts while I was getting a drink. He told me about his wife and new baby. His smile was still there along with the glow of a parent talking about his child.

"Ryan, you come and see me. You know where Central is." were my last 
words to him.

"I will Mr. Williamson. I will." were his last to me. 

Be Safe Troops and be good.

Mr. Williamson

Casey Voeks with a Young Camper at PG Pool.
June 2007

A Parent Has Nothing But Praise for Chris Call

People Mentioned:  Chris Call.

June 24, 2002

Kim Running sent the following...
My mother and I dropped my two children off at the space center last night and asked if we could just peek into one of the simulators for a second. My mother is from Idaho and hadn't heard of the space center and wanted to know more about it. We were directed to Chris Call who very enthusiastically showed us more than a second's worth of all of the simulators, and explained what would happen that night and answered all our questions. I just wanted to let you know how great we think Chris is and how much we appreciated him giving us his time. As a mother with children in your overnight camp, I felt good leaving them in hands as capable as Chris'. Thanks for an excellent program and for employing people such as Chris Call. You can guarantee that we'll sign our children up for more Edventure Camps in the future.


Kim Running

Mr. Williamson with Tyler and campers on the way to the pool.
June 2007.  Around 7:55 P.M.

Survival Policies for the 48 Hour Camps.  Staff Breaks Authorized. Longer Lunch Time Authorized.  Dress Code. Use the Voyager's Shower, PLEASE.

June 26, 2002

Hello Troops,
We are ready for camp 482 - our second 48 hour camp. All Workers should arrive at the Center at 3:45 P.M. Please do not be late! The 48 Hour Camp begins at 4:30 P.M. Doors will open at 4:15 P.M.

The Camp ends Saturday evening at 5:00 P.M.

Staff: Please remember the dress code. T-shirt, black or navy blue pants, Please bring a change of clothes if you are not going home on Friday evening.

You are welcome to use the Voyager's shower anytime during the camp (even during the missions if you have a break) You will need to bring your own soap, shampoo, and Towel. 

The campers waiting for me to come out of the pool's entrance and say "Let's Go!"

You are welcome to leave Friday evening at 6:00 P.M. as long as you are planning on coming back Saturday morning at 7:30 A.M. You are also welcome to stay and go swimming with the campers and then stay for video night and sleep at the Center. Your choice.

There are a few new policies for this camp and future camps:

1. Our staff need a bit more time off so we have decided to take the full 30 minute lunch breaks and feed all the kids in the cafeteria.  So..... All Voyager and Magellan staff will have a 30 minute duty free lunch so you can take a break and relax - recharge your batteries. 

2. We realize that 7 hours is a long time for all camp volunteers and workers. Labor rules state that employees deserve a 15 minute break every 4 hours. All flight directors will try to
give their staffs breaks when they can in their stories.
I know there was some burn out on the last camp. It isn't easy telling 3, seven hour stories. Be honest with your flight directors and tell us if you need a break. 

3. Please use the camps to get your passes. Tell your flight directors that you are interested in going for a pass. Lots of opportunities during the summer rotations. 

4. Camp surveys will be taken as usual after each camp but the results will be private and no longer posted. I'll tally the results and votes. Each flight director will meet with me
to get their results and feedback. Staff votes will be tallied and only the total amounts will be announced during the staff post camp meeting. I will read camper comments and  suggestions during the final camp meetings. 

I hope that these changes will make the long 48 hour camps less stressful and more relaxed and enjoyable for our fantastic flight directors, teachers, and volunteers! We need to enjoy 
these camps or the summer will start to drag and enthusiasm suffer. I'm also open to other ideas from any of you on other things we can do to make the long rotations easier for the 

So let's get all hyped up for this 48 hour camp. The kids coming are excited - I'm excited (wishing I was feeling better - still under the weather) and look forward to working with all of you again.

See you all tomorrow! I'm going to bed.

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium