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Wild and unruly kids

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#101 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

I have a public Sidewalk event monthly at the local Community Center. I set up a 17.5 Discovery PDHQ, and all of my EP's are TV. Yes at times the kids get a bit excited. By reminding them to always keep two hands on the ladder they don't seem to bother the scope. yes I do have to remind some kid's more often than other's. In my advertisment it states that small children must be accompanied by an adult. I have been doing this for going on two years and have had zero problems. I have had many repeat viewers over the years and that is rewarding in itself. It is a VERY rewarding experiance for me.

#102 Taylor

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

I have a public Sidewalk event monthly at the local Community Center. I set up a 17.5 Discovery PDHQ, and all of my EP's are TV. Yes at times the kids get a bit excited. By reminding them to always keep two hands on the ladder they don't seem to bother the scope. yes I do have to remind some kid's more often than other's. In my advertisment it states that small children must be accompanied by an adult. I have been doing this for going on two years and have had zero problems. I have had many repeat viewers over the years and that is rewarding in itself. It is a VERY rewarding experiance for me.


I just noticed you're in Sand Springs, how is it?
My wife and I are moving to Owasso next week from Washington DC, I predict we're in for a culture shock.
(I grew up in Chelsea so I know what to expect)

#103 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:33 AM

I have a public Sidewalk event monthly at the local Community Center. I set up a 17.5 Discovery PDHQ, and all of my EP's are TV. Yes at times the kids get a bit excited. By reminding them to always keep two hands on the ladder they don't seem to bother the scope. yes I do have to remind some kid's more often than other's. In my advertisment it states that small children must be accompanied by an adult. I have been doing this for going on two years and have had zero problems. I have had many repeat viewers over the years and that is rewarding in itself. It is a VERY rewarding experiance for me.


I just noticed you're in Sand Springs, how is it?
My wife and I are moving to Owasso next week from Washington DC, I predict we're in for a culture shock.
(I grew up in Chelsea so I know what to expect)


I have family in Fredricksburg that I have visited many times. It amazes me how similar it is. Probably the primary differance is the traffic and LP. Both being much more bearable in the Tulsa area. Another great advantage is with a couple hour drive you can get to grey sky's. When you get here look us up on the Case Community Center's web site. They don't post the dates but if you call them they will let you know the next scheduled Sidewalk event. Oh, and Owasso has grown dramatically in the last few years. Sand Springs, not so much.

#104 Taylor

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

I have family in Fredricksburg that I have visited many times. It amazes me how similar it is. Probably the primary differance is the traffic and LP. Both being much more bearable in the Tulsa area. Another great advantage is with a couple hour drive you can get to grey sky's. When you get here look us up on the Case Community Center's web site. They don't post the dates but if you call them they will let you know the next scheduled Sidewalk event. Oh, and Owasso has grown dramatically in the last few years. Sand Springs, not so much.


We'll only be in Owasso for a short period of time. Living with my parents for a month or two as my job doesn't start for a little while, have to wait on those pesky licenses.
We'll be buying a house in the next 12-14 months though, so we'll have plenty of time to get to know the area and see what town we like best.
I'm kind of liking the idea of some of the subdivisions being built by Keystone Lake Park, like Golden Shores Estates and The Bluffs. Some nice looking houses with water frontage and dark skies, can't beat that.

#105 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:05 PM


I have family in Fredricksburg that I have visited many times. It amazes me how similar it is. Probably the primary differance is the traffic and LP. Both being much more bearable in the Tulsa area. Another great advantage is with a couple hour drive you can get to grey sky's. When you get here look us up on the Case Community Center's web site. They don't post the dates but if you call them they will let you know the next scheduled Sidewalk event. Oh, and Owasso has grown dramatically in the last few years. Sand Springs, not so much.


We'll only be in Owasso for a short period of time. Living with my parents for a month or two as my job doesn't start for a little while, have to wait on those pesky licenses.
We'll be buying a house in the next 12-14 months though, so we'll have plenty of time to get to know the area and see what town we like best.
I'm kind of liking the idea of some of the subdivisions being built by Keystone Lake Park, like Golden Shores Estates and The Bluffs. Some nice looking houses with water frontage and dark skies, can't beat that.


That will nearly make you next door. I am just across the lake from that. If it is where I am thinking on keystone rd off of 51.

#106 Larry10

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:42 AM

I found having a walker for kids to grab onto helped a lot.

The use of a walker is truly a terrific, effective, and inexpensive help.
For those few whose hands cannot be controlled by this simple method:
http://tinyurl.com/bdmq9t5

#107 tomnjulie

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:00 AM

Great posts and ideas. I do enjoy when I can point out the bright young kids are more informed than the kmow it all dads. I'm still very much a novice so I carry a small note pad to write down the questions asked by the kids which I don't have an answer for. I sure do appreciate the more knowledgable folks in the club I can send them to for answers.

#108 darthwyll

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:47 PM

This is an issue that I think every astronomer faces at some point. A lot of these comments are dead on while others seem to be highly negative for reasons that, to me, seem trivial and sound more narrowminded. Outreach is VERY important to our hobby as I have seen. I don't have nearly the amount of time that some of you guys do. I have about 28 events, 97.5 hours of SP time, and have let approx 9,100 people look thru my scope. Out of those 9 thousand plus people, only a handful of kids (3 or 4) have been "problems". No damage to my scope. I will say that I've had to inform some kids and parents about how to use the scope and that has helped big time. The no touch rule is repeated about 600 times a night along with a description and explination of what they will see. I agree with the statements about a cut off age. There seems to be a range of kids who just cant understand how to look. I'd say a good age to begin telescope observing would be around 7-9. The parents do get a lot out of it as well and its always fun giving them a deeper understanding than I think the kids would understand.

All in all, outreach is astronomy's future. The meeting are "greying" and yes, there are younger generations like myself (29) who are deeply involved but there needs to be more. We're about to enter an age where space travel will be quite common so we need these kids now to get interested and begin taking steps to be those next to fly. I understand the frustration but the benefits out number the risks, in my experience. I don't have kids but I still have no issue guiding these little ones and helping them understand something that all of us take for granted. To a kid, the cost of a scope means nothing, so perhaps put yourself in their shoes and try to explain things in ways they can understand. That includes how to use a telescope. Great discussion BTW. I visit the George Observatory frequently and enjoy helping with the public.

#109 csrlice12

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:02 PM

It could just be evolution of the hobby as well:

Early on we looked at the sky with our eyes;
Then we developed telescopes to help us see better'
Then we put telescopes in space to give us views we could not hope to see under our envelope of protective air;
Then, no longer content with just looking, we took our first steps off planet.......the rest is, well, the future.....

#110 tnranger

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

I've read this thread with interest. I just volunteered to do a small outreach for my son's 5th and 6th grade Royal Ambassador group at our church. I only have 1 10 inch Dob for what may be 10-15, 12 year old boys (gulp).

I have tried to pre-plan as much as I can, easily accessible site, moon less than 1rst or last quarter, on a non-school night so we can stay up a little later. I think if I get them all to see the Orion nebula, Jupiter, and maybe the moon, I'll be doing well.

#111 dpwoos

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:36 PM

I think that you have a good plan - don't try for a lot of targets. In fact, if all they see is Jupiter you will have hit a home run. Have fun, and chat it up. Do some wikipedia reading so that you can talk about Jupiter, e.g. how far away Jupiter is (in light minutes - compare to Mars Rover and Moon Apollo communication times), how big compared to the Earth and Sun, how what we see is gas as opposed to rock (compare to Earth, Mars), etc. Also, I like to say something about Galileo and the Galilean Moons, and how seeing them provided evidence for the heliocentric model of the solar system. Go for it!

#112 skyguy88

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:03 AM

Get the moon into view and point out how fast it moves. That leads to a good discussion of how fast the earth is rotating and the fact that they are moving at almost a thousand miles an hour.

Make sure that they notice Jupiter's moons and point out that those moons provided Galileo with solid evidence that the earth wasn't the center of everything.

Point out that M42 is illuminated by super hot newly formed stars and that it's a hotbed of star formation.

That should give them plenty of food for thought.

You might also print up a handout with a few good websites like APOD.

Have fun.

Bill

#113 Skylook123

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:25 PM

www.skymaps.com allows you to download a PDF sky map for the month, and you are permitted to print it as a handout for free public use. That's a nice thing to hand out as well.

#114 tnranger

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

Great tips all. I'll try to remember to premedicate with ibuprofen. ;)

#115 dpwoos

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:36 PM

Honestly, its one of the most enjoyable things I do. I hope it is for you, too.

#116 csrlice12

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:07 AM

I hear Rebel Yell is the proper POST-medication of choice.....

#117 Kraus

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:33 AM

That's what happens when you let those types near you. They are not worth the effort. Keep them away.

#118 faackanders2

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

This is an issue that I think every astronomer faces at some point. A lot of these comments are dead on while others seem to be highly negative for reasons that, to me, seem trivial and sound more narrowminded. Outreach is VERY important to our hobby as I have seen. I don't have nearly the amount of time that some of you guys do. I have about 28 events, 97.5 hours of SP time, and have let approx 9,100 people look thru my scope. Out of those 9 thousand plus people, only a handful of kids (3 or 4) have been "problems". No damage to my scope. I will say that I've had to inform some kids and parents about how to use the scope and that has helped big time. The no touch rule is repeated about 600 times a night along with a description and explination of what they will see. I agree with the statements about a cut off age. There seems to be a range of kids who just cant understand how to look. I'd say a good age to begin telescope observing would be around 7-9. The parents do get a lot out of it as well and its always fun giving them a deeper understanding than I think the kids would understand.

All in all, outreach is astronomy's future. The meeting are "greying" and yes, there are younger generations like myself (29) who are deeply involved but there needs to be more. We're about to enter an age where space travel will be quite common so we need these kids now to get interested and begin taking steps to be those next to fly. I understand the frustration but the benefits out number the risks, in my experience. I don't have kids but I still have no issue guiding these little ones and helping them understand something that all of us take for granted. To a kid, the cost of a scope means nothing, so perhaps put yourself in their shoes and try to explain things in ways they can understand. That includes how to use a telescope. Great discussion BTW. I visit the George Observatory frequently and enjoy helping with the public.


+1

I have really only had one major issue with one kid with my binos locke on an object. Before they go up I tell them just to look, but this one kid was one of the few who wanted to pan and he did before I unlocked them.
The next time in line, I reminded him to just look and not touch, and he said he would do that; but once again he immediately started to pan before I unlocked it. I asked him why he did that when he said he wouldn't and he just repield, "he didn't think I was serious and he wanted to pan". I would have gladly unlocked it, if he advised me beforehand." Conclusion some just don't want to follow instructions and will do what they want.

I use my public eyepiece to prevent mascara, eyemakeup, facepaint, noseprints, and fingerprints; or grabbing the eyepiece like a handle to pull to their eye, to be a major upsetting issue for me at public star parties.

#119 skinnyonce

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:47 PM

Not to far off topic,, but this happened to me several years ago at a detroit area car museum..
Im standing looking at a car display hands in pockets when all of a sudden a large cardboard type heavy free standing sign comes crashing down hits me in the face knocks my glasses off and when the smoke settles the adult who knocked it over leaves and I am their standing looking like I did it ,,luckily my friend saw who did it and we fixed the sign and just left that section,,,so adults can be wieners also,,,,,

#120 Ptarmigan

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:49 PM

In 2009 I started volunteering at the Super Star Party at a park by where I live, the whole night is tailored towards children and getting them into astronomy. I didn't own a telescope at the time but came and helped people set up, break down, clean up...whatever they needed, and in return I had a lot of 1 on 1 time with the guys who brought their scopes and got to hear what they had to say and learn a bit on a more personal level. One of the guys had a real nice 12" solid-tube dob, a DIY project with some exceptional optics...I was lucky enough to spend a good hour looking through it until it was attacked. Attacked you say? One of the kids (probably 4th or 5th grade) picked up a handful of rocks off the walkway and hurled it right into the end of the tube, right in front of me, the owner, AND his parents. Then when confronted the parents told him that "kids will be kids" and refused to offer compensation saying that in the dark his telescope looked like a trash can and it's not their fault that their kid mistook it for one. The whole argument went on for about 15 minutes with the dad actually threatening the guy a few times (the first after being told the price of the mirror the kid broke!) before park rangers called the police to come settle things. The family tried to bolt after the cops were called but the rangers were having none of it and parked their SUV behind their car. Not sure exactly what ended up happening. After the whole ordeal went down they ended the event for the night and we were all asked to go home.

I've never done outreach with my scope because of this night, I'd love to...believe me I would, but I don't know how I'd handle that situation if placed in it. I would be more then happy to set up for a older audience but I don't think I could handle kids :(. It's unfortunate that the possible actions of 1 overly rambunctious kid are responsible for my way of thinking but it's a risk I'm just not willing to take.

Now I'm just 31 so I really can't say "back in my day" because it wasn't that long ago lol, but, back in my day I remember my parents taking me to a star party when I was no older then 11. I remember standing in a single-file line of other children patiently and quietly waiting for our turn to look through the eyepiece while we listened to the instructor (for lack of a better term) talk. Times have changed, even though not a great deal of years have passed. I hate to say it also but it's usually my generation I see not being able to control their kids in public.


That's really awful. I have done star parties myself and I did not have any trouble with children. Of course they were older. Nowadays, I see more unruly children with inattentive parents in public places.

I remember one time at a star party some adult threw a cup with some liquid into a telescope. They were told to leave as a result by the staff. The telescope owner was understandably very angry.

#121 csrlice12

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:44 AM

Hmmm, who knew you could stuff a 235lb person into a 4.5" dob ota.......and have room left over...

#122 Kraus

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:37 PM


That's funny Lice. I can see the cartoon now.

#123 RogueGazer

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:35 PM

I was going to suggest handcuffs but that walker idea is almost as good.
My wife and I do foster care and the kids are never easy and dealing with their parents is even worse. The 4 sibling kids we are fostering now had addict parents who have be raising them to be thugs. One child we discovered needed glasses. He started wearing them and liked them until his mom said she hated him wearing them so he stopped. She also doesn't like how we dress her kids. They don't look gangster enough. Since being in our home over 1 year their behavior has greatly improved. They now have rules and there are always consequences for breaking them. Now they are starting to prefer our lifestyle over their parents lifestyle. The oldest now refuses to even visit her parents and the next oldest is also saying he doesn't want to see them despite our encouraging him to do so. I guess they are lucky their parents rarely show up to the scheduled visits so that decision is made for them.
I think deep down inside these bratty kids want to be better but they don't know any different. Kids usually idolize their parents until about 10 years old. That's when they start thinking their parents are actully stupid. Unfortunately the bratty kids at these events are the ones that need inspired the most. I applaud anyone who does any kind of outreach service. I would freak out if anyone put their slimy hands on my scope. :bawling:

#124 Achernar

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:24 PM

I bet he was fighting mad, I would be in his shoes in more ways than one. That is one reason why I wouldn't bring an expensive telescope. The other thing I have noticed that most parents will watch their kids, it's when there's lots of kids and few adults to supervise them the potential for problems arises. But throwing something into someone's telescope is the worst outrage I've ever heard of someone doing at an outreach event.

Taras

#125 Skylook123

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

I was going to suggest handcuffs but that walker idea is almost as good.
My wife and I do foster care and the kids are never easy and dealing with their parents is even worse. The 4 sibling kids we are fostering now had addict parents who have be raising them to be thugs. One child we discovered needed glasses. He started wearing them and liked them until his mom said she hated him wearing them so he stopped. She also doesn't like how we dress her kids. They don't look gangster enough. Since being in our home over 1 year their behavior has greatly improved. They now have rules and there are always consequences for breaking them. Now they are starting to prefer our lifestyle over their parents lifestyle. The oldest now refuses to even visit her parents and the next oldest is also saying he doesn't want to see them despite our encouraging him to do so. I guess they are lucky their parents rarely show up to the scheduled visits so that decision is made for them.
I think deep down inside these bratty kids want to be better but they don't know any different. Kids usually idolize their parents until about 10 years old. That's when they start thinking their parents are actully stupid. Unfortunately the bratty kids at these events are the ones that need inspired the most. I applaud anyone who does any kind of outreach service. I would freak out if anyone put their slimy hands on my scope. :bawling:


And we must applaud what your efforts are bringing to four precious lives. Your story made my day.






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