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|$810/Camper||Ages 9-15||Session 5: July 16-21|
YMCA Camp Eberhart enjoys one of the longest-running astronomy programs in the entire country and has been visited by professional astronomers from coast to coast. Alumnus Kevin Walsh and Earl Todd both worked for NASA! The unique program is designed for campers ages 9-15 that are eager to discover, and ready to begin the great adventure of exploring the universe through stargazing, telescoping, and astrophotography.
By day, Astro Campers choose traditional overnight camp activities during Activity 1 & 2, while Activities 3 & 4 are dedicated to astronomy and telescope use. By night, when the rest of the YMCA campers retire to their cabins, Astro Campers gather at Dave's House to begin a night of deep sky adventure.
YMCA Camp Eberhart is fortunate to enjoy an 18″ Obsession telescope, an 11″ C11 telescope, and a fleet of 8″ Dobsonian telescopes. Campers taking part in our astronomy program will see things they’ve never seen before! Our dedicated resident astronomer, Darren Drake, has taught astronomy at the collegiate level and gives campers the opportunity to discover the inner astronomer in themselves. Combined with our high-tech equipment, campers can take an exciting journey through the universe.
Steve is our telescope fix-it man! He has been into astronomy for 10 years and can find a few things in the sky. He is still learning to navigate the night sky. He loves to look at M13, the Hercules Cluster. He will help us when we launch our water bottle rockets on Friday.
In-Residence for summer at the Yarger Astronomy Center at Camp Eberhart. In this support position, Darren will be a resource person for campers all summer long, present each night at the observatory to assist campers in their quest to gain proficiency in the Astronomy program. Since 2006 Darren has assisted Kids Astro Camp as well. Darren holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University; his specialty is Astronomy. He has a Teaching Certificate in Science and has taught on the Elementary, Jr. High and High School levels in the Chicago area. In addition, Darren is Planetarium Operator at the Cernan Space Center at Triton College in River Grove. Darren owns an awesome 18-inch diameter reflector telescope (which requires a step-ladder for viewing) and is active and well-known in Astronomy outreach in the Chicago area.
Prior to her move to South Bend, Linda Marks taught astronomy on the high school level in Milford, Connecticut, where she also acted as astronomy club advisor, adult education astronomy teacher, and planetarium director. A serious observer, Linda owns a 13-inch Coulter Odyssey reflector telescope. Linda held the position of President of the Astronomical Society of New Haven, Connecticut, from 1991 to 2001. In 1998, she was recognized as Astronomer of the Year by the society. She was director of the annual Connecticut Star Party from 1991 to 2004 and has been leading the Michiana Star Party for nearly as long. For over a decade Linda Marks has been active in Michiana astronomy education and public outreach in general, and as an AstroCamp counselor in particular. In 2018 she took the helm as AstroCamp Director.
Lou is the founder of today’s Kids AstroCamp! He loves the night skies and loves introducing the campers to them. He is mentor to the teachers and friend to all campers who share his interest. He tells the best Camp Eberhart stories – just ask him during a campfire!
Earl Todd is a retired aerospace engineer who spent 25 years of his career working on the Space Shuttle Main Engine project and loves rockets. In the 1970’s he was on the Eberhart Astronomy staff where he learned to love the night skies. Recently he has combined his passion for the night sky with his love of photography and travel to capture nightscape photos.
A Letter from the Astro Camp Director
A Letter from the Astro Camp Director
Where would you go in the United States to find a place where kids aged 9-15 can have fun discovering the night sky? Here! Day and night, we practice learning how to operate a telescope with our fleet of newer 8” Dobsonian telescopes, to find your own way around the constellations. We turn day into night with our StarLab portable planetarium as we see where the night’s planets and stars are located. We make paper projects, have mini-lessons, and on Friday we launch water-bottle rockets! You can earn proficiencies with your new friends and enjoy S’mores on cloudy nights while we share mythologies and star stories with a bunch of great visiting astronomer-teachers!
We will have an astrophotographer with us to show you how to take your own night-sky photos. We ask that you bring a stick/flash/thumb drive with you to camp so you can take home the images that we process during camp week! This year we will get Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, and maybe even see a few galaxies and clusters.
AstroCamp owns a BIG 18” Obsession telescope, along with other types of telescopes. We have a few digital varieties, too.
Get the full camp experience and choose from other programs like swimming, sailing, canoeing, fishing, archery, horseback riding, and more in the morning; and join us for Astro Camp in the afternoon and evening to view the stars. You may even have starry dreams!
Linda Marks, AstroCamp Program Director