On Thursday night, August 25, three RCA Outreach Volunteers (Alison, Pearl, and Jim) ventured to Camp Blue Spruce, A Camp For Kids With Food Allergies near Dallas, Oregon. We were rewarded by having an opportunity to meet children who every day deal with the complications of being allergic to dairy, nuts, or an assortment of other common foods. These children can't attend a "regular outdoor camp" because of life threatening reactions that could occur.
We held a class on astronomy that emphasized the sun in the afternoon and later we set up telescopes. Our audience was popping with enthusiasm and one question after another followed in quick order. At night, the 80 kids and 20 or so staff members were treated to a great show because aside from the "wow factor" of Saturn and Mars, the Milky Way was particularly brilliant. We showed the kids (and adults) star clusters, nebulae, and binary stars. When it was over, the three of us (the RCA volunteers) were satisfied with what we'd been able to share... but we all felt it was the children who were the real stars of the evening!
The kids enjoyed our RCA star party show and they look forward to again visiting their Camp Blue Spruce next year. This is particularly true because the first day of their Camp in 2017 just happens to conveniently land on the date of August 21st, and the location of their Camp is happily aligned within the path of totality for the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017! A solar eclipse, stars, and kids--what a great combination that will be!
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