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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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Joe F Gafford
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/15/06

Loc: Denver, Colorado, US
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5615535 - 01/10/13 01:26 PM

My club did a shopping mall only once at the mall manager's request. This was a daytime display with club info, general astronomy and various type of scopes. The kids wanted to ride the Dobbie. A mall is a drop off place to keep the kids out of their parent's hair. These kids were unruly to say the least. This was in the 1980's, We hadn't done a mall since.
My club does external outreach to schools, national parks, and corporate. We do give a lecture beforehand to the teachers and kids. They all know to what to expect.
The internal outreach open house at the observatory is a different matter. Inside the observatory, we can have good crowd control. Outside on the lawn it is a city park which we have little crowd control. Kids are running around, tripping over accessory boxes that are not close to the scope mounts.
The more troublesome were the adults! The college students from frats nearby sometimes bring their beer over. Imagine a looped frat boy holding a glass of beer trying to look into the eyepiece on an open frame Newtonian with the mirror visible.
The park is for dog walking as well. One night a fellow was walking his two large German shepherds, lets say the dogs were walking him. One of the dogs looped a scope tripod and knocked it over with an expensive refractor on it. The owner of the scope went down as well as the scope fell on top of him. He had hip surgery and there was a slight sprain elsewhere and the scope had light damage and the mount, moderate. The fellow with the dogs was confronted and the fellow was very defensive about it being a public park an "I can walk anywhere". We had to let him go. We were over 60 vs. a 30 something with two large, loyal dogs.

Joe


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Mr. Bill
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Joe F Gafford]
      #5615573 - 01/10/13 01:43 PM

I think a general comment would be a definite decline in public behavior the last 20-30 years.

Stopped going to sports events and music festivals years ago after witnessing some pretty ugly scenes.



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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5616997 - 01/11/13 10:39 AM

yup. Pretty much gotten to the point that I've given up on public venues (except plays, I still go to plays). Probably why I like astronomy....nothing like being alone with the universe...it brings me peace.

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dpwoos
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/18/06

Loc: United States
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5617086 - 01/11/13 11:29 AM

Quote:

I think a general comment would be a definite decline in public behavior the last 20-30 years.

Stopped going to sports events and music festivals years ago after witnessing some pretty ugly scenes.






I have to disagree 100%, and am uncomfortable with this kind of negative generalization. I think that, for some reason, some folks in every generation engage in criticizing young folks en mass, and I don't buy into that at all. My grandparents did it, and my parents did it, but that doesn't resonate with me at all. The behavior that I see is generally better than when I was a kid, and so I find it easy to be upbeat. I look forward to doing as much public observing and outreach as I can find time for. I am sorry that not everybody shares in this attitude, as it enriches my enjoyment of astronomy immensely. Maybe I am just a happy idiot?!


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tedbnh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5617133 - 01/11/13 11:51 AM

Quote:

Maybe I am just a happy idiot?!




If so, then there are at least two of us! :-) I enjoy public outreach every chance I get. Kids need to be told the rules, then they generally follow them. If not, I remind them. For sidewalk astronomy there is never a problem. When we set up at at night at a school near their normal daytime playground, it's understandable that they are likely to run around more, that's what they do there every day. We just have to remind them not to run around near the scopes. It works out fine.


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Mr. Bill
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/09/05

Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5617515 - 01/11/13 04:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think a general comment would be a definite decline in public behavior the last 20-30 years.

Stopped going to sports events and music festivals years ago after witnessing some pretty ugly scenes.






I have to disagree 100%, and am uncomfortable with this kind of negative generalization. I think that, for some reason, some folks in every generation engage in criticizing young folks en mass, and I don't buy into that at all. My grandparents did it, and my parents did it, but that doesn't resonate with me at all. The behavior that I see is generally better than when I was a kid, and so I find it easy to be upbeat. I look forward to doing as much public observing and outreach as I can find time for. I am sorry that not everybody shares in this attitude, as it enriches my enjoyment of astronomy immensely. Maybe I am just a happy idiot?!




I wasn't specifically talking about kids...IMO a decline in civility of the general population. Certainly seemed like a lot of bad behavior cited above (and the "Unruley Kids" thread) and not just kids.

Hey, I'm not trying to be Debbie Downer; if outreach is your thing, by all means enjoy. I've done my share in the past.

Edited by Mr. Bill (01/11/13 04:08 PM)


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edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5620239 - 01/13/13 07:25 AM

Quote:

.............. Probably why I like astronomy....nothing like being alone with the universe...it brings me peace.







edj


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edwincjones
Close Enough
*****

Reged: 04/10/04

Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5620241 - 01/13/13 07:33 AM

outreach is like planting a seed
you hope it grows
-maybe a new Einstein
-maybe enjoyment for some
-one's own pleasure
one never knows the results

edj


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ed_turco
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/29/09

Loc: Lincoln, RI
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5620569 - 01/13/13 11:26 AM

Let me tell you about raising my kid. When he was 8, he finally asked what I was doing grinding and polishing. I asked him where all my other telescopes came from. He answered quickly, "The Stork?". Sly sense oh humor, that kid. In any case he said that he'd go crazy doing all that work, and I responded that it took a lot of work for anyone's telescope, whether he made it or not.

So when I took him to my astronomy club, he was so careful around telescopes, it was generously remarked upon. What they didn't know is that I told him, just in case he didn't remember, he'd have to deal with his Old Man when he got home if anything went wrong because of him.

He came a few more times and decided he didn't like astronomy. (Sigh.)

But I still love him just the same! And we go out together on Father's Day to celebrate that we now both are fathers

Ed


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Tim Gilliland
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/28/09

Loc: Sand Springs Okla.
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5629477 - 01/18/13 08:35 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Maybe I am just a happy idiot?!




If so, then there are at least two of us! :-) I enjoy public outreach every chance I get. Kids need to be told the rules, then they generally follow them. If not, I remind them. For sidewalk astronomy there is never a problem. When we set up at at night at a school near their normal daytime playground, it's understandable that they are likely to run around more, that's what they do there every day. We just have to remind them not to run around near the scopes. It works out fine.




Make it three, 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. It is a VERY rewarding experiance for me.


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oldtimer
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/13/08

Loc: Lake County Illinois
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5629863 - 01/18/13 12:21 PM

First and formost your time is just that 'Your Time'. You can choose to do outreach or not. The two clubs I currently belong to do many outreach events. For personal, sociol and religious reasons I do not do 'strictly' scouting or church events. I choose only to do outreach events in sccular settings like public schools and libraries where my comments do not need to be guarded.

Secondly I will not do events where the audience (especially kids) have not been pew-briefed on proper observing etiquette or where I think the crowd will be too large for the number of club volunteers.

But I'm old and cranky.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: oldtimer]
      #5630086 - 01/18/13 03:10 PM

Secular, "pew" briefed audience????

Sorry, just couldn't help point that freudian slip out....

Edited by csrlice12 (01/18/13 03:12 PM)


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: dpwoos]
      #5630511 - 01/18/13 08:03 PM

Quote:

Maybe I am just a happy idiot?!






I can say with confidence that our three sons, the youngest is 36, gave my wife and I far fewer heartaches and headaches than I gave my parents...

As I write this, I am saying no to an outreach with a bunch of kids at a school.. It's not because I don't want to go, I was so looking forward to it... It's just this darn flu, it's got me and I can't even go out in the backyard.

Jon


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BarbMoore
sage
*****

Reged: 05/11/09

Loc: South central New Mexico
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5630814 - 01/18/13 11:32 PM

Our group does monthly outreach at a local state park. Just because some kids can get unruly doesn't mean I don't enjoy sharing my telescopes with others. I just have no problem speaking up if I see any possible dangers afoot.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: gillmj24]
      #5637578 - 01/22/13 07:19 PM

One thing that needs to be done is laying out some ground rules when doing outreach to school age children. Our San Antonio Astronomy club does a lot of school outreach, with very few problems. However, you do need to get, and maintain control of the situation.

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dale67cameron
member
*****

Reged: 01/03/12

Loc: Midwest
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: GeneT]
      #5641430 - 01/24/13 08:41 PM

I enjoy doing outreach. I set my tripod extended fairly high, so that kids can't touch the glass on my scope. Then i set up a step ladder for the kids to step up on and hang on to the ladder when viewing. I had a kid grab the handle on my meade 10" sct tube and swing down off the ladder hanging on to it to exit a few months ago. It threw the alignment off since it slipped the clutches on my eq6, but fortunately didn't cause any damage. I realigned and was back in business for the rest of the evening. I have been more selective in volunteering since. I tend to volunteer more for adult groups when I am taking one of my nicer scopes. I am going to setup my 4" refractor on a alt az mount for large groups of kids in the future. I won't be as uneasy about a little acrobat showing up again.

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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: gillmj24]
      #5673785 - 02/11/13 10:29 AM

You could ask to sink a simple wooden pier near the school that you could mount your scope on. Takes the necessity of watching the tripod out of the mix.

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Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5722713 - 03/09/13 05:43 PM


You are not in the wrong. Helping is OK but the receiver must be gracious. I see none in your situation. Enjoy the sky.


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skinnyonce
super member
*****

Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: ohio
Re: saying no to outreach new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5722944 - 03/09/13 08:24 PM

Yes,, I also agree with this as a reason for my lack of public participation...

Quote:

I think a general comment would be a definite decline in public behavior the last 20-30 years.

Stopped going to sports events and music festivals years ago after witnessing some pretty ugly scenes.






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MattT
sage


Reged: 04/20/06

Loc: SF Bay Area
Re: saying no to outreach [Re: skinnyonce]
      #5723847 - 03/10/13 12:49 PM

I enjoy outreach but don't do many elementary schools anymore. In my area at least, these events are usually all-school events where only a few kids are actually interested in the scopes, and most are more excited about the novelty of running around the schoolyard at night. I don't blame them....they're just kids. To use the OP example of an event at a K-5 school, maybe limit the astronomy event to grades 4-5, where you might expect a little more maturity.

But outreach events can be fun even for fairly young children, if they and/or their parents are genuinely interested in what we have to offer. Oftentimes it's not just the kids, but the mother or dad or grandparent or teacher who's getting their first look through a decent telescope, and if you believe in outreach that's an opportunity not to be missed. Maybe have an advance signup for the telescope viewing, so only kids or families with some interest have access. If it's at a general school event, maybe set up the scopes in a quiet area off to the side and give the kids who sign up early a star-shaped sticker-badge or something that will be fun, and give them access - when escorted by an adult - to the telescope area.

Just thinking out loud....in the end if a person doesn't feel comfortable, safe or appreciated you're under no obligation. Clear and peaceful skies to you all!


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