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Thursday, June 20, 2013

camp adventure day 6/part 1

Day 6/Part 1: NASA Space Center

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

It was the worst of days. It was the best of days... First for
the not so good part. Wednesday was field trip day. I wanted to
cry because it was absolutely beautiful outside. After all that
rain, we finally got some good weather but had to stay indoors
for a field trip.

Since the theme of camp was "out of This World," we visited the
NASA Goddyard Space Center. These types of field trips are
difficult for someone who is totally deaf and blind. Part of what
makes it work is having a good attitude. Well, I brought some
serious bad 'tude with me. I was truly miserable that day.

For the record, both the camp and Goddyard staff tried so hard to
make this a fun and accessible experience for us. We were allowed
to touch the exhibits, including climbing into a rocket and space
capsule. There were also braille signs, and people around so we
could ask questions.

Still, the museum was quite visual. It's not so exciting to touch
the side of a rocket booster. A couple of braille signs just
doesn't do it for me. I didn't want to struggle up and down steps
to get into the exhibits. I think the trip worked best for people
who could combine touch with some degree of low vision.

We went shopping. The toys in the gift store worked better as a
way to show me the rockets and stuff. But I couldn't find
anything advanced enough for a 12 year old or simple enough for
the Hattie residents.

I found some cute signs. I bought one for Joseph's bedroom door
that says, "Black Hole: No Exit." They had another with a picture
of Albert Einstein that read, "Genius Parking." I should have
gotten that for Scott.

The t-shirts were cool, too. The one I bought for Joe shows a
sign with the words, "Speed Limit" and a very high number, which
represents the speed of rockets. The one I wanted for me was of
three cats in astronaut suits floating in space. The caption
said, "Houston, we have a problem here." They didn't have my
size. Too bad.

I enjoyed shopping but lunch brought back my bad mood. We had
signed up for sandwiches the night before. However, someone took
my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I sent my SSP back to get a
cheese sandwich, but that was gone by the time she got there. I
had frito's and cookies for lunch.

We got back on the bus to go to a more secure NASA building. We
met staff interpreters who showed us the space signs they use
there. I invented a sign for "Dr. Pepper." You use the letter d
and sign for rocket. I'm certain exploding Dr. Pepper travels at
the same speed as those rockets.

They also had certain items we could touch. We met an astronaut
we could sit and talk with. I know most of the camper really
liked this. It was sort of "ho-hum" for me. After all, I've been
to the Air and Space museum many times, and it was basically the
same thing.

Scott felt bad that I wasn't having a good time. We ended up just
chatting... as usual. His company and weird sense of humor made
things much more fun.

We went back to camp. Scott's father, Donna, Susan and some
others from the East Pennsylvania DeafBlind group were there to
set up the tactile carnival. I had dinner with all of them.
Scott's dad is nice, and Donna is a good online friend. I was
feeling excited about the carnival.

We had Chinese food for dinner. I love fortune cookies. I looked
at my fortune and announced, "You will win many prizes tonight.""
That's not what it really said. My jaw dropped open when I found
out my real fortune. I can't tell you what it said. Sorry, that's
a girl-secret. I liked that fortune and still have it!

Scott gave me his fortune cookie. It said, "You will shine." The
funny thing is that someone I highly respect recently used those
exact words to describe my future as the president of the
Northeast Ohio DeafBlind Association. I thought that was cool.

Want to hear about Scott Stoffel's Tactile Carnival? Stay tuned
for part 2.

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