|Maeson, Sydney and team for Maeson's last Mission|
A sad and happy day for our space edventuring friends at DSC Canyon Grove. Director Maeson Busk performed his last duties and flew his last mission as a center director before leaving Utah for a seven month sabbatical at Disney World Orlando as part of the Disney College Program. He will take classes and best of all, work at one or more of the Disney parks. Wouldn't it be great if he ended up at Space Mountain! I can also see him directing his own Jungle Cruise boat!
Sydney Brown is Maeson's co-director and will continue at the helm at DSC Canyon Grove. The program is in great hands. Sydney is the best!
Maeson did what I use to do, he took a moment at the end of his last mission to sit on the Everest's empty bridge and contemplate the magic and wonder of the place. I use to do that on the Voyager back in the day.
Occasionally, after everyone was gone, I'd turn on the background effects, dim the Voyager's lights and sit on the bridge in the captain's chair thinking about the tens of thousands of children who participated in the program over the years. I'd think of staff and volunteers long gone and the contributions they made and feel grateful that I was blessed to get to work with such fine people. I wished the walls could talk and tell me the stories I missed from the other side in the control room. There has never been a ship more wished for and loved than that first simulator, the Voyager. I wish there was a way it could be saved from the wrecking ball.
Maeson will miss the magic of our simulators, but he leaves knowing the positive impact he had in directing his own little magical kingdom and how his endeavors influenced the lives of those he was privileged to teach.
I asked Maeson to send pictures and regular updates of his exploits for The Troubadour's readers. Stay tuned....
Good Luck Maeson
Who Is the Ghostly Apparition Photographed by the Lions Gate Center's Security Cameras at Lakeview Academy? Your Help is Needed.
Lions Gate Center directors Nathan and Pariss King sent the following photos to The Troubadour asking for the Space EdVenturing community's help. Can you identify the person spotted in the security camera feeds?
Who ever it is seems to know the business. Nothing is disturbed. In fact, he has made a few improvements here and there.
Is it a ghost? Is it a diehard fan who won't leave the ships because the real world is just too boring? Is it a time traveller from earth's future coming back to visit the people and places that made a positive impact on the planet's future in the cosmos?
Nathan and Pariss will discover the truth even if it means imagining, designing, and 3D printing a time flux field capacitor to capture the visitor. Answers will be forthcoming. Watch The Troubadour for updates.
The Space Academy Announces its "Volunteer of the Month"
|Livy with her 'victims'|
Troubadour Staff Reporter and Self-proclaimed God of Flight Directing
Being in the trenches with the troops has been incredible. I get to be a part of the action every day, and see amazing forms of volunteerism and creativity. And it's not just a sometime thing - it's an all the time thing. The people that surround the various experiential programs in the state have often caught the vision, and are willing to put in the time to help each of our programs grow and become something special.
Because of this, I have decided to start a "Volunteer of the Month" award program (at least for our location at the Renaissance Space Academy). I would invite all locations to do the same. Let's highlight some of these amazing young people who invest their time to ensure our programs' success and to help influence young minds by using the discipline of wonder. Our missions would suffer without this incredible collection of young minds.
Livy Charles is the Space Academy's Volunteer of the Month. She is a Space Academy dual citizen. She is both a volunteer and member of staff. In her paid capacity, Livy is a Space Academy Computer Guru for the Academy's two Young Coder's Clubs. She is awesome and patient with our nearly 50 young coders every Saturday morning.
|Livy helping one of the Space Academy's Young Coders in the Advanced Coding Class|
Her volunteering takes her deep into space aboard the Terran Space Command Jump Carrier Voyager. Livy is actually who got me thinking about this volunteer of the month thing, because she literally ALWAYS goes above and beyond. She volunteers for our missions regularly, and never shows up to just sit in the control room and shoot the breeze. Livy will walk in the door and, for example, reorganized our costumes and hang them in the same direction so they looked clean and organized. She once scrubbed down (with help) all the tables in our briefing room - they are the white plastic kind that stain easily. She takes initiative and is a world class self starter. I've never known Livy to take a shortcut, and I'm amazed at the things she finds to help with without being asked.
Livy recently found herself playing the role of a blackmailed and coerced officer who's job it was to remove the person in charge from duty. Her character's family had been threatened by a villain; in order to protect them she began finding ways to get the lure the bridge commanding officers into sickbay for stunning and interrogation. She performed this act to perfection. She took out 4 of their leaders, taking them one by one as they assumed command of the ship when the previous officer failed to return from sickbay all the while convincing security it was a medical emergency and that they must leave their phasers on the bridge.
After capturing four, the six remaining crew members finally caught. The crew was shamed by the fact that they had given up their captain and first officer so easily. Livy was a master of the persuasive arts demonstrated by her ability to talk security out of bringing a phaser. She shut the bridge down for a time. It was incredible.
|During the flight, her 4 victims lay stunned in the sickbay|
Livy also volunteers to help with our Young Astronaut and Voyager Club Long Duration Mission rotations. She always finds a place where she can help take the load off my back which frees me up to finish my projects. So much to do, so little time..... right?
The Space Academy has many amazing volunteers, but this month Livy was chosen to showcase her can do attitude, self-starter mentality, and her ability to act to exact specifications. She is a great volunteer and example to everyone. If you want to be the best volunteer, watch what Livy does and copy it.
One last thing. I've never seen Livy without a smile. She could be asked to clean up a vile pile of vomit and still smile (only after giving me a quick look of "ew, that's gross"). That kind of positive can-do attitude puts smiles on our guests and students.
Congratulations to Livy for being our February volunteer of the month. She'll take home this wickedly expensive travelling trophy (for me $1.50 at DI is wickedly expensive). Next month the trophy will be returned and given to our next volunteer of the month.
If you see Livy - please treat her like the celebrity she is. Become a fanboy/girl - scream in her presence (just don't vomit with excitement) get her autograph, grab a selfie, post it and tag me. A) that's kind of fun, and B) I think it's hilarious if you do it in really public places and make her feel like a huge celebrity! It could become a thing - you should do it :)
So say we all.
Mr. Williamson Named Citizen of the Year for Utah County and Awarded the Medal of Honor
I want to thank everyone for the kind words said about me over the last few days in response to the newest addition to the Love Me Wall.
The Love Me Wall first appeared at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in the early 1990's. The bulletin board making up the 'wall' displayed the awards and trophies I'd received over the years for both my work in the classroom and my founding of the CMSEC. I hung the awards as a way of showing CMSEC visitors that I wasn't some crazy sci-fi geek who created the program so kids could play in a real life video game. I wanted people to see take the program seriously. The Love Me Wall was one way to drive that point home - and it worked.
|The Original Love Me Wall from the CMSEC Briefing Room.|
The Best Picture I Could Find on Short Notice
After retiring from the Space Center and moving to Renaissance Academy to finish off my career in the classroom and to reestablish the Young Astronauts program, I rehung the Love Me Wall around my desk. Again, people needed to see that I knew what I was talking about when it came to experiential education. It is so easy for people to dismiss this business as just play.
Several weeks ago a student asked about the "Love Me Wall". He said, "Mr. Williamson, you won a lot of awards." He noticed the dates and asked if there was anything newer. "Nope," I answered. The last one was over a decade old.
"Well, you're the best teacher I've ever had," he replied. I looked at the wall and was grateful for the milage it had given the Space Center and me and wondered if it was time to take it down. It had served its purpose.
|The New Love Me Wall|
Two weeks ago, toward the end of a long day in the trenches with my 93 sixth graders, Casey Voeks stepped into my classroom during my after school math double dosing program. He knew what to expect. We laughed about it just the other day. He knew he'd find me looking haggard at the front of my room surrounded by students all wanting help with this or that. "I knew you'd give me that look of 'What are you doing here? Don't you know my work day doesn't end until 6:30?'" he said. I did just what Casey prophecies. He got that look.
He walked up to me, careful not to get too close, before speaking his business. "When can you take a call. I need an exact time."
I thought what an odd question. "6:45 PM," I replied. At 6:45 P.M. a call came through from Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee. He told me I was to be awarded the Utah County Citizen of the Year award at the yearly State of the County program. I was stunned. Casey called next to provide a few other details.
I've never been one who enjoys the whole awards thing. I'm a good speaker and can deliver a real knee slapper if needed, but mixing socially in a room of non-educators puts me out of my comfort zone. I can fake it pretty good but would rather not if given a choice.
But after talking to Casey, I became excited for the honor because it the event would give me an opportunity to highlight all the Space EdVenture programs in Utah.
Highlighting our programs is what I did. I had a captive audience and took advantage of the open mic. I believe there isn't a person in that audience who can now claim ignorance of the fantastic things we are doing for space education.
I want to thank those who came to the event. I want to thank Brian Voeks (Casey's brother) for his year after year persistence in driving the space center story home to the commissioners and in organizing the event. He, more than anyone, is responsible for this recognition. I want to thank Casey for his behind the scenes help and cheerleading. I want to thank Kyle Herring for organizing the banquet end of things and doing a lot of PR work on site and online. A special thank you to James Porter and Mark Ursic for attending and giving me people to point out in the audience. I like the way presidents do that during their state of the union addresses. I wanted to do the same.
I'll sum up this post by restating what I said in my closing remarks at the event. "Christa McAuliffe said, "I touch the future, I teach." Those of us in the Space EdVentures movement want to do more than touch the future. We want to change the future and we do it one student and one experience at a time."
PS. The Love Me Wall stays. I've got a nice new addition so it is gassed up for another ten years or so....
The Best Videos of the Week From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience