|Bracken in his native habitat, a Starship Control Room|
He never likes to see me with my camera.
Bracken Funk Hired as Renaissance Space Academy's Full Time Assistant Director and Teacher on Special Assignment
Mark Ursic, Director of Renaissance Academy in Lehi, wanted his school to have a state of the art simulator with the best experiential simulation curriculum on the market. And if the curriculum wasn't there, he wanted it created. With that goal in mind, he hired me to come in from my rocking chair retirement to direct the school's new Voyager Program. That was back in 2013. I took a sixth grade teaching position while the ship was designed and constructed.
|Bracken has been a Space Center devotee since he was 13.|
Running the starship program was part time. Working part time with me was Alex DeBirk and Isaac Ostler. It became apparent over the last two years that a small team of part timers didn't have the time to create the program envisioned for the school. A talented, driven, enthusiastic, gifted, full timer was needed. I spoke to Mr. Ursic about the need. Without hesitation he endorsed the proposal of creating a full time simulator position.
|A very young Bracken on the original Starship Voyager|
|Bracken back in the day with the Red Blemish (Wyatt Lenhart)|
This summer, knowing our sixth grade was going to be inundated with nearly 100 sixth graders and knowing the time it would take to run the Young Astronauts and Voyager Clubs, I considered who we could hire to become my full time assistant. It needed to be someone who could wear many hats and effectively run the day to day operations of the Voyager.
I hired Bracken Funk at the start of the summer to work as a part time evening Voyager flight director. From our many conversations, I knew he was open to the idea of making a career change. An idea came to mind. I discussed it with Mr. Ursic. He gave the green light to talk to Bracken. I spoke to Bracken and the rest is history.
|Bracken hard at work training a new young flight directors at RSA (Renaissance Space Academy)|
"People rise to the level of their training"
Bracken is in his second week at Renaissance. Remarkable changes are afoot; new furniture for the ship, new lighting, a new server and special effects editing computer, new missions, new animations, an emphasis on Flight Director training, the adoption of Thorium controls along with Isaac Ostler's Interstellar controls, a new website, and new Thorium control features designed by Bracken and Alex Anderson: Rail Guns, Jump Engines. etc. Bracken is in and out of my classroom daily with new ideas, improvements, and best of all - accomplishments.
|Bracken has played basketball his whole life|
To top everything off, Bracken was also hired to be the public address game announcer at the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah for all Utah basketball games. Life is good for Bracken, for the Renaissance Space Academy, and for the Space Centering world as the full potential of Bracken is unleashed. Watch for tremendous things coming soon at the Renaissance Space Academy.
|Bracken has been unleashed. Watch out Space Centering World.....|
Bracken's first suggestion was to rename the center. Farpoint is the name of the science fiction universe created by myself and Ryan Anderson at Telos. Bracken thought it best to separate the name of the center from the universe name. With the success of the Center's Young Astronaut and Voyager program, and it's emphasis on academics and starship missions, the word "Academy" was more descriptive of our mission - hence the new name Renaissance Space Academy.
With the Center's new name comes a new website. Give it a look SpaceCampUtah.org.
In Today's Post:
The School Year is Off to a Great Start. The Worst Times of the Year to be a Space Center Director. Working to Have an Outstanding Curriculum for the Year. The Lesson is In The Groove. Out Dedicated Field Trip Staff. Lorraine Receives Her 10 Year Pin. James and Stephen Porter Resign. Alex DeBirk Becomes First 5 Bar Ranger. First Green Shirts Make an Appearance. Rio Downs Becomes a Holder of the Silver Chalice of Zod. The School Year's Overnight Camp Missions.
Josh Webb Retires. Brady Young Promoted.
September 9, 2002
A few weeks have passed since an entry to our Space Center Journal was posted. That, regrettably, was my fault. There are two times a year being the Director of the Space Center is a 24/7 occupation. The first is April to June and the second falls between August and October. The first "rush" is due to the upcoming summer camp season. Registrations, mission writing, scheduling, etc causes hours of lost sleep. The second is the beginning of
the school year. Lessons, flights, staffing, are once again the cause. I'm currently in the second season. The past few weeks have been busy a word that doesn't adequately define the state the Center has been in. Things are coming together and an end to the "busy" season is drawing nigh. Several people must be thanked for their contribution.
|The Galileo Crew|
3 Day Overnight Camp
July 6, 2007
Jennifer Remy has been instrumental in writing the curriculum. The lessons and briefings will be placed on a CD-Rom, a first for the Center. Jennifer's goal is to take our curriculum and create a professional presentation. I'm determined our Center will make a name for itself both in our outstanding missions and in our curriculum. My goal, along with our teachers, is to strengthen our commitment to the sciences without loosing our specialty of
folding science fiction and the humanities together, drawing on the strengths of both to motivate students to study space and science.
|The Phoenix First Officer. The First Officer Station had a real telephone.|
July 6, 2007
Lorraine Houston, Fred Olsen, and Aleta Clegg are preparing to teach the curriculum. Lorraine taught the lesson a few times last week and reported "success". Success is defined as the afternoon class giving her 80% of their attention while at the same time being distracted by the sounds from the Odyssey. Aleta starts teaching on Monday. Lorraine gave me the good news on Friday that she has officially "dropped into the groove". That means the Lesson is done, taught to the point that she can do it easily, and flows smoothly. I love to hear that things are "in the groove".
|In the Original Galileo. July 6, 2007.|
Yes, that is an old Mac Clamshell laptop. Lightweight and reliable
A special thanks to Matt Long, Soren Seibach, and David Merrell for their Stazi Hypercard stacks.
Thank you to our OUTSTANDING interns and employees. Rio Downs joins us this year on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Chris Call is running the Odyssey's version of Stazi. The Galileo will be directed by Matt Long, Alex DeBirk, and Julie Collette. They, as always, will be under the supervision of the Galileo Set Director, Kyle Herring. Our other Interns are: A.J. , Landon, Metta, Josh Babb.
|A second generation IMac.|
Galileo. July 6, 2007
A Thank You to Bill Schuler and Chris Call for the videotapes that accompany the mission stories. And of course, the maintenance of the simulators and technology are covered by Kyle Herring.
|The Odyssey Captain Readies for Launch|
3 Day Camp. July 2007
Well Troops, we have opened. The year is off to a good start. We started the flights with our very own Central Elementary School's fifth and sixth graders. They always come first so we can correct any problems in the lesson and missions. This week we continue with Sharon and Sunset View Elementary Schools.
|The Odyssey's lighting Control Panel inside the ship to the left of the Captain's chair.|
Since the last Journal we celebrated our staff during the Honor's Night of September 14. Several volunteers were advanced. Lorraine Houston received her ten-year service pin. James Porter officially retired. Steven Porter was presented a gift from the staff and officially placed on leave for his mission. We also created our first Five Bar Ranger Alex DeBirk. He has been certified a Flight Director for the Galileo. All first year flight directors are
automatically promoted to that level. Green Shirts are reserved for Set Directors and Space Center teachers. Rio Downs was awarded the Silver Chalice of Zod for her dedication to our customers and her team building spirit with the staff.
|The Magellan's Admiral|
We are finally finished with all summer programs with the completion of this last overnight camp. The first overnight camp of October starts the school year season with the gifted class from Lindon Elementary School. We are running the following missions this season:
1. Voyager: Mercy Strike, Shadows, Greenpeace, and Canada. (I'll be mixing
them up a bit so I don't forget them.
2. Magellan: Battleship Potempkin.
3. Odyssey: Masquerade.
4. Galileo: Mercy Strike and Maximus.
5. Falcon: The Helix Nebula.
|One of the three Magellan crews on the 3 day camp.|
Josh Webb completed his last overnight mission on Saturday. Josh is retired from the Space Center. He is preparing to leave for an LDS mission on October 30th. Josh just started his ninth year at the Center. He began as a fifth grader in September 1993. Josh did an outstanding job as my Supervisor in the Voyager for the last couple of years. Brady Young will be taking his place as Supervisor.
|The Odyssey Captain issuing orders from the front section.|
Josh will be "officially" retired during Honor's Night on October 24th. Please mark your calendar and plan on attending. Always check the YahooGroup calendar for any changes and updates. I'll have more to say about Josh at Honor's Night.
|The Odyssey in Flight|
We are in my favorite time of year. I enjoy the cool temperatures and the fall colors. I enjoy football season and the feel in the air as a new school year starts. I want to wish all of you a good year. Work hard in your studies. Make the right decisions always without regard to whether they are the popular ones or not.
|The Odyssey's Engineer Peering Out from the Engineering Pod|