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

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Katie Brings Her Emotional Support Tree. The Christa McAuliffe Space Center Yearly Attendance Report. What To Do With a Bored Field Trip Cadet - Wow the Socks Off Them. Imaginarium Theater.

Your Christa McAuliffe Space Center Staff: Unique, Talented, and Beautifully Weird in a Good Way!


      If you hang around the good people at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove you soon come to realize they are a broad mix of some of the brightest, creative, and dedicated people you'll ever meet.  Now take those aforementioned qualities, and add it a touch of beautifully weird, and you'll know why the Space Center is the best place to work and play in Utah.
     Pictured above is Katie.  Katie is an Odyssey flight director and Cassini supervisor.  I've had the honor and privilege of working with Katy on many occasion.  It wasn't until the Cassini's summer flight planning meeting a couple weeks ago that I got to see the 'other' side of Katy.  She came in, sat down, and took out a small Christmas tree.  It sat there through the meeting for all to enjoy.  It wasn't until afterwards that I put two and two together and realized that the tree was Katy's support tree.  Some have emotional support animals. Katy has an emotional support tree.  It gets her through the tough times - like an extended summer flight planning meeting with me in attendance.  I'm the one actively seeking out every mission plot hole and boring the room with trivial details on why a make belief ship shouldn't be in a make belief country doing scientifically impossible things.  I need to do what Star Trek does, put a technobabble bandage on the wound and call it healed.  


The Space Center's 2021 Yearly Attendance Numbers.


2021 has been quite the year as we have settled into our new facility. Wanted to share some fun insights as we look at the impact of our ever growing program.

    2.5 hour flights = 972
    5 hour flights = 152
    5,138 planetarium visitors
    126 Field trip groups registered (school year)
    1,372 campers
    85 Active volunteers (too many hours to calculate)
    30 Part time employees
    2 Wedding ceremonies
    1 Lost admiral, anyone seen Tagus?

There is still a lot of work as we continue to advance toward making all of our simulators available more regularly. New planetarium shows are in development. Lots of staff training, internships, and volunteer opportunities for growth. It is amazing to look back and see all that is available for our community at our unique little program. It is possible thanks to so many wonderful people who contribute so much of their talents and time.
We look forward to this next year and enjoying it with all of you.

James Porter

From The Troubadour Archives. What To Do With a Bored Field Trip Cadet? Wow the Socks Off Them, That's What

February 24, 2008

Hello All,
     I want to thank our staff and volunteers for another successful week at the Space Center. March is upon us. I want to remind our volunteers and staff that the March Call for Volunteers is posted. Please look over the working schedule and send your requests by email. I’d like to get the working schedule out to everyone by week’s end. March is looking to be a busy month so we will need All Hands on Deck!
     I’m trying to put two supervisors on every Voyager and Magellan mission. Our Central School volunteers are filling many positions left open during the week. It seems our older volunteers are having a difficult time getting here on weekdays. I’m guessing the cause is two fold: busy schedules and the ever rising cost of gasoline. Our local Central School volunteers all live within walking distance of the Space Center. They enjoy working but are young and need supervision. Two supervisors on the larger simulators will help provide them with the supervision and training they require to become better volunteers.
     You’ll notice an increase in the number of schools coming for after school field trips. March, April and May are full of school’s arriving at 2:00 P.M. and leaving at 6:00 P.M. They are sending two classes each day. This means an addition ‘full’ field trip of classes, Starlabs, and missions.
     Our daytime staff will need your full support. It isn’t easy teaching four of everything each day. The repetition can be mind numbing. I’m confident we will do exceptionally well because we have high standards and an awesome staff who always do their best to give our visitors the best field trip in Utah. Hats off to Sheila, Aleta, Lorraine, Metta, Megan, Stacy, Bracken, Jordan, Jon P., Brooklyn, Christine, Marc, Kim, and all the Central School 5th and 6th grade volunteers.
     I’m reminded of something I heard from a young lady last week. A sixth grade class was finishing their training on the Voyager Bridge. The Right Wing Flight Officer was looking around the Bridge impatiently. She had mastered the look of a bored teenager - not bad for a 12 year old. She raised her hand.
     “Is this all we’re going to do is sit here?” she asked. “I’m getting bored.”
     “Yes, all you’re going to do is sit here so I’ll guess your going to be bored.” I answered. I wanted to say much more. You can’t imagine the will power required not to. The words were at the tip of my tongue already formed, fueled, and waiting for launch. A couple consonants and a vowel hissed out between my clenched teeth but quickly retracted and were swallowed.
     Her face collapsed into a production of distortions carefully rehearsed to convey extreme frustration at not being entertained. I could tell she needed something. My guess was her ipod - the pacifier of a new generation. This new generation goes from the baby bottle in the mouth to headphones into the ears. I see ‘the young’ everywhere with wires running from their belts to their ears. Their brains seem to need constant noise and entertainment. The sounds of human voices and nature are no longer satisfying.
     Some teens have such a distant look on their faces it makes me wonder what they are listening to. I can only guess; “Breath in and Breath out. Walk. Stop. Breath in and Breath out. Walk. Stop. Breath in and breath out. Walk Stop. Chew gum. Breath in and Breath out. Walk Stop. Chew Gum.”
     I turned from the young lady and continued to work with the other children that had real questions. In the back of my head I wondered what her opinion would be of the mission.
     I started the mission. Her face was square in the center of one of my TV monitor. I watched her reactions as the mission progressed. Tex’s speech did nothing for her. Her head rested on her hand. Her elbow was firmly planted on the desk. Her eyes were fixed upon the black ceiling. I wondered if she was praying for deliverance.
     Soon I was lost in the mission and lost interest in tracking her reactions. At the end of the mission I remembered to look at her again.
     “That was awesome!” I heard her telling her friend from across the room.
     “Did you see...........? I saved the ship by............ My heart was beating so fast.........” She went on and on as she left the bridge. I sat back in my chair and began shutting off equipment. You know you’ve done a good job when you can change a teenagers opinion from “This is stupid” to “This was awesome!”
     So..... several days late and in the quiet of my own home I stand and take a bow to the four walls of my living room. I’ve conquered a teacher’s Mount Everest. 
     Another week starts. Hundreds of kids are getting ready for the ultimate field trip. If you are one of those kids I want you to know that we are ready for you. We’ve been here 17 years training and preparing for you - just you.
     My thanks to the students and teachers that visit us weekly. My thanks to a great staff and volunteers that make the Space Center the magical place it is.

Mr. Williamson

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

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