By Paul Miller (WY87)
It has been a year since Don Smith officially turned over the keys to the National Youth Science Camp to me. Because Don was a good teacher, and because we had a great "staph" and some good luck (e.g. good weather and a small number of accidents), we were able to provide an unforgettable experience to another group of amazing young people.
In 1997, through the sponsorship of the United States Information Agency, we had a Camp record of five countries represented in Pocahontas County. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan each sent two representatives to complement our American delegates, and all involved agreed that the change had some very nice benefits. We were able to get some global perspectives on scientific issues that are themselves becoming increasingly global. We were able to learn about other cultures and share our own. Most of all, we were able to welcome some very likable new people to our Camp family. We plan to pursue similar international involvement for 1998 as well.
The educational series included several new faces and many old friends. Michael Turner, noted cosmologist from the University of Chicago, returned to Camp after an absence of seven years. (And maintained his pleasant demeanor even after the insects swarmed the overhead projector at his outdoor evening lecture!) Linda Ralston from the University of Utah discussed the prospects for ecotourism in South America. University of Delaware biologist Craig Cary, (with the help of a minivan full of equipment) led the first DNA analysis at the NYSC. I could go on, but there were too many guests to mention them all. I appreciate the generosity and skill with which they all shared their knowledge.
The rest of the program as many of you experienced it is still alive and well. Backpacking, caving, climbing, kayaking and mountain biking. The Fourth of July at Camp Allegheny, Cass Railroad, the Sinks of Gandy, and NRAO. The DC trip and the Senate luncheon where NASA administrator Dan Goldin delivered a terrific keynote address. Campfires and a talent show.
As we put together the 1998 Camp, we are planning for some shared activities with the reunion, and I hope that many of you are able to join us. Many of us have come quite a distance since stepping off of a bus in rural West Virginia. I was a 1987 delegate myself, and marveled this summer at the pace at which the intervening decade has gone by.
Regardless of how many years it has been for you, I hope that your pleasant memories have not faded. If they haven't, consider becoming a little more involved in the NYSC. There are several possible ways: suggest a great speaker, volunteer to help with your state's delegate selection, apply to work on staff, donate something, give money. Find your own way to stay involved.
In particular, I would like to present a simple challenge to my alumni year. Let's collectively sponsor one delegate for the 1998 NYSC. If 100 of us gave $25, that would cover the cost. If you can give more, do -- that will make up for those who don't receive the newsletter or may not respond. Any other alumni year is welcome to join us in a friendly competition.
I hope you all have a great 1998!