Scout night at Broemmelsiek park - 5/22/2010, 8:00 pm

posted May 23, 2010, 8:09 PM by Jim Twellman
The event went very well. I arrived at Broemmelsiek Park at 7:30PM and found
Brad, Marvin, Chuck, Dennis Scalion, John Furlong and Larry already setting up
under perfectly clear skies. The temperature was about 80 degrees and a slight
wind was present - a great start.

The first wave of Scouts showed up at about 10 after 8.  There were about 10
scouts with siblings for a total of nearly 18, 7-9 year old girls – all talking very fast
and at the same time! Along with them were about 10 of their parents – all
apparently relieved to turn the brood over to someone else for a while.

John offered some advice regarding crowd control at the telescopes: "Divide the
crowd into groups of 4 yoots and one adult. The adults will be briefed on
telescope courtesy and etiquette and then responsible for their charges." That
was great advice which worked extremely well! Thanks a bunch John.

While John was briefing the adults, I took the kids over to the parking lot and
we "talked" about the solar system and astronomy in general as we walked a
quarter of the 1000 yd solar system. Several of the kids had a really good grasp
of astronomy! I felt a bit like the victim on that TV show "Are you smarter than
a Fifth grader"!

After that, everyone put together a planisphere and we went about learning how
to use it.

As it got dark, I unleashed the horde into the hands of the other volunteers and
chaos was averted thanks to Johns counseling and firm supervision.

At about 9PM a second group of Scouts showed up. These were the Cub scouts from
pack 972 looking to get belt loops by learning how to operate a small telescope.
There were 10 boys from about age 7 to 10. They were accompanied by 7 more
adults. They were as enthusiastic as the girls but the adults were in a bit more
of a control mode.

We lined the scouts up in height order, tallest first, and one by one I showed
them how to use a 4" f4 StarBlast: Move the axis, use the finder and then focus
on the Moon.

That took about 20 minutes and they all learned pretty fast. Most of `em seemed
to get a real kick out of it.

As I foisted this bunch on the volunteers, the park seemed like a madhouse on
the verge of chaos. Groups of kids with parents in tow were moving from scope to
scope and having a pretty good time with the ASEM members (I can only imagine
what it must have been like up at CRSP!).

The park returned to normal by about 10:30 and we closed the park at midnight as
the clouds rolled in.

I think we had a bit more than 50 individuals in the park – some locals had come
by and there were two people who showed up with scopes on their own.

I want to thank Brad, Marvin, Chuck, Dennis, John and Larry for coming out and
helping. This would have been a real experience without their help!

-Grant Martin