Minnesota Astronomical Society
and
Minnesota Space Frontier Society
at the
Boy Scout Viking Council Camporall 2002

Saturday May 4, 2002

Approximately 3800 Boy Scouts from scores of troops all over central Minnesota attended a "Camporall" at the Stearns County Scout Camp near Annandale, the weekend of May 3-5, 2002.  The Minnesota Space Frontier Society (MN SFS) and Minnesota Astronomical Society (MAS) were asked to provide people and materials to promote the Space Exploration and Astronomy merit badges at an outdoor display on Saturday.

Jeff Root (that's me) represented MN SFS.  I recruited my sister, Jenn Bezek, to help me.  Just a couple of days before the event, I asked Ed Rhoads, graduate student in astronomy at the University of Minnesota, to help in case I couldn't get anyone from MAS.  Ed is in charge of the Department of Astronomy outreach program.  He recruited another graduate student, Mike Schuster, to help him.  At practically the last minute, Ben Huset recruited MAS member Bruce Goetteman to represent the Minnesota Astronomical Society.

Bruce got to at the site at about 7:30 AM, and by the time Jenn and I arrived, a little after 8 AM, he had set up his table with two small telescopes, a star finder, copies of Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines, and some MAS Gemini newsletters.

The day was very windy and -- for May -- very, very cold.  A few sprinkles of rain early in the morning, just as we were starting to set up, were a frightening portent, but that was the only rain we got.  Late in the day, the sky even cleared enough for the Sun to come out.

On the MN SFS table, Jenn and I set up a computer running a slide show of Space-related pictures, three of my flyable model rockets (made from Estes kits), a sample piece of Space Shuttle external tank wall, my partly-ground-to-shape 8" mirror blank for a Newtonian reflecting telescope and the glass tool used to grind it, the MN SFS Mars globe, and handout literature on the Mars Society and on current Space Station viewing times, provided by Ben Huset.  Jenn provided handouts telling about the Minneapolis Planetarium planet-alignment viewing sessions, and MN SFS membership forms.  She also put together a ring binder of info about MN SFS.

During the day I talked with individual Scouts and groups of up to five or six, which must have totalled well over 300, plus a couple dozen adults.  Bruce Goetteman, right behind me at the MAS table, must have talked with a similar number.  Jenn handed out posters provided by MN SFS and the SETI Institute, and took most of the photos below.

The cold and wind were constant problems, occasionally sending Scouts running after flying papers.  The computer slide show taught me a lesson: Ordinary computer monitor screens are not visible outdoors in the daytime, even under a cloudy sky.

A rather disappointing bag lunch was handed out to everyone on the campgrounds.  I incorrectly assumed they were all the same, and accepted what was handed to me.  My sandwich was on white bread with the crusts cut off!  I'm still laughing at the thought of it.

Ed Rhoads and Mike Schuster arrived shortly after lunch, and set up a U of M Celestron telescope and two handmade posters, showing facts about Saturn, Jupiter, and their moons.  Ed also provided handouts of facts about the Sun and the Moon.

A big THANK YOU to Jenn Bezek, Bruce Goetteman, and Ben Huset; Ed Rhoads and Mike Schuster of the U of M Department of Astronomy; and Rod Nerdahl and Bob Bonadurer of the Minneapolis Planetarium!

Photos shot on Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film with a one-use camera provided by Ben Huset.

Click any picture to see a better 768 x 512 image.

Jenn Bezek at the MN SFS table, about 9AM Bruce Goetteman at the MAS table Scant protection

Jeff Root, MN SFS Bruce Goetteman, MAS Jeff Root, MN SFS

Jeff Root, Ed Rhoads, Mike Schuster Mike and Ed with the posters Ed brought Jeff points out the biggest mountain in the Solar System

Orange scope is from U of M You can look in both ends! One of Bruce's telescopes

A SETI poster we handed out Jeff talked a lot... And kept on talking

Spying on other campers a few hundred feet away Bruce brought geologically-interesting paperweights feeling the curve in my rough-ground mirror blank

Ed Rhoads Paperweights restrained Sun & Moon handouts MAS display table

MN SFS display table Ed Rhoads, Jenn Bezek, Jeff Root The Sun came out at the end of the day

Each troop brought a flag


The majority of photos by Jenn Bezek.  Most of the rest by Jeff Root.

All Photos Copyright 2002 by Jeff Root.

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Boy Scout merit badge designs are property of the Boy Scouts of America.

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June 26, 2002