Jeff Bernardis, Director
So here I am with my first newsletter article as Director. I have to start by thanking Ludy for his past 3 years serving as director, and for the several years of other board positions prior to that. His is going to be a tough act to follow.
I also want to thank everyone for all the support I received during the nomination/election process. The votes of confidence were well received. Of course I can’t do this alone, and the make-up of the rest of the board was instrumental in my final decision to accept the nomination; I look forward to leading the club into its second half century.
And finally I cannot go any further without recognizing the hard work put in by Kate, Surabhi, Bob, John, and the many others planning the 50th anniversary celebration. The only blemish on the whole evening was the fact that the weather did not cooperate, but even that had a silver lining as it allowed more time for other items. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as I’m sure everyone did.
Now to the business of the club.
If nothing else happens during my tenure, I am hopeful that we can increase participation in our outreach efforts. This is a very important part of the club’s identity. You can only get out of any relationship what you put into it, and I think too many members are not seeing fully what the club can give to them.
When I first joined the AAAP back in 2006, I thought I was just joining a group of people who shared my enthusiasm for this hobby. While all of that is true, it has become more and more apparent to me the prestige associated with this club. We are in the midst of some of the world’s greatest minds in the field, and they do not just co-exist with us. They are very involved with the club and several of them are even members. I think we have a great symbiosis. We definitely benefit from the proximity to the University and the IAS; conversely, the University, the IAS, and the community at large, benefit from our many outreach programs.
This is all why I want to encourage members to get involved with outreach. Respond to Dave’s requests for help; Come out to the super science weekend, or to communiversity; become a keyholder.
The evening events at local schools – what we have come to call “star parties” – is perhaps the easiest way to get involved. Even without a telescope there are things that can be pointed out, constellations can be identified, planets, etc. When I first joined the club, I did not immediately participate in these programs. I’m not sure what made be decide to go to my first one, but I’m glad I did. I volunteer for many of them today, and – I won’t lie, there are evenings I hope it rains so I don’t have to go out, but – I never fail to be rewarded. And it’s not just the kids; the parents we see are just as much stunned by some of the things we show them.
As we enter into the summer season, this is normally the time when things slow down a bit. But even during this “off season” there are things to which anyone can contribute.
- The new observatory committee is still moving forward with their agenda. If anything, this should speed up during the summer as this is the season when things can actually get done. Hands are always welcome here.
- The observatory is in full swing during the summer and there are several issues to be taken care of. I’m sure Gene would welcome a volunteer or two.
- Outreach efforts continue. Let’s not forget Dave Letcher still has requests coming in. In my experience, summer was always a tough time to find volunteers, but although the needs are less, they are still there.
- The item I am most concerned about is Starquest. Our “planned” date for Starquest is in early September – before our first meeting of the new year. I need someone to step forward to take responsibility for seeing the planning through and making sure the event happens.
- And of course, Kate Otto will be working to line up our speakers for next year. Kate does a fantastic job at what everyone considers to be the toughest position on the board. Despite having talent for doing this, she is happy to accept help. If you have anybody who you think would be a good speaker, let her (or me – or any board member) know, and we will see what can be done.
The list goes on. I’m sure there are things I am not thinking of right now, but if there is something you’re interested in that I’ve not thought of, contact me, or bring it up at a meeting.