Jim's First Impressions
Eberhart-a first look. First impressions of camp.
Having completed 40 years of teaching astronomy and other sciences at the high school and college level, Jim happily retired. I discovered Camp Eberhart from an ad in Sky & Telescope and applied to Lou Sandock as a mentor. My first impression driving into Camp Eberhart was that it was a very clean and very green area. I met up with Linda Marks and learned camp procedures. As a mentor I was one of nine who hosted 67 AstroCampers in 2010. We split the group into two groups, and had a morning session and afternoon session, and then if the sky was clear had an evening session. Lou Sandock had organized at least a dozen activities for the campers to learn constellations and the use of the 8-inch Dobsonian telescopes. I learned how to work each one of those activities with a portion of the campers, usually six or seven in a group, and throughout the day jumped from the indoor planetarium to outdoor activities with the Dobs. The campers were also introduced to the large telescopes owned by the mentors as well as Darren Drake, the resident astronomer, with his 18-inch Dob. Having taught for 40 years working with kids was not an issue, although Lou had never had 67 in AstroCamp at one time. Linda and I did not see a problem here.
Walking around the campgrounds, I was impressed with the large number of activities available to the campers. The popular choices are beach activities, archery, riflery, horseback riding, and of course, AstroCamp. I also enjoyed getting to know the other mentors. The mentors travel to Camp Eberhart from all over the Midwest and beyond. I met campers from Chicago to Spain, Latvia, and France, just in the first summer.
AstroCamp is extremely well organized and offers all campers a safe and fun way to learn the night sky.