Don’t worry, this is not military conscription or jury duty. Its just your humble astronomy club reaching out a friendly hand.
I’m Mark Wagner, President of SJAA through next February. I will be relieved, in more ways than one, to hand over the “reigns” of this starship to some capable and enthusiastic successor, a volunteer, who will help grow the club and find new ways to both offer new and exciting programs to our members and visitors, and to involve those with energy and ideas.
If you are reading this, that probably describes you!
Let me tell you about a few new programs, that are good examples of what may be done with the club. The foremost thing to realize is this is your club. I’ll come back to that. So, what’s new?
Solar Observing. We have a new solar telescope - a 100mm Lunt, and take it out for the public to look through from 2 to 4 PM every first Sunday of the month, at Houge Park. It is absolutely awesome. If you’ve never looked through a good solar scope, come out and see for yourself. This program is headed up by Michael Packer - a knowledgeable and enthusiastic solar observer (he owns an 80mm Lunt). We started this program just a few months back, and now club members are joining in bringing out their own solar setups for the public to enjoy. Sound fun? It is!
Fix-It Day. This is another new program, that is concurrent with Solar Sunday each month. From 2 to 4 PM we invite anyone with astro-gear they’d like looked at - to ascertain how to use it, or to repair it, to bring their goodies to Houge Park, where four volunteers (currently Ed Wong, Phil Chambers, Karl Ressinger and Dave Ittner) will provide man power and advice. So far we’ve had a good response, and the program is proving popular and effective.
Imaging Special Interest Group (SIG) - is headed up by Harsh Kaushikkar. It is still in its infancy, but the first few meetings have had a great turnout, and I’m certain with the popularity of imaging, that this will remain a vital program for the SJAA. You can learn more by contacting Harsh - he’s also our Membership Chairman.
Quick STARt - headed up by new member Dave Ittner, with all sorts of creativity and enthusiasm - the club purchased several new Dobs and purged old gear from the loaner program, in order to offer beginner training on easy to use telescopes. Dave takes reservations by newbies, they get together as a group, and learn the basic ropes - then head out to a nearby darker site, where people get an eye full! New program, new ideas, new members, new fun for all! Kudos to Dave for coming up with this!
Social Time - - - huh? Social? Yes, we amateur astronomers actually can be sociable, despite our reputation for having a solitary hobby, we know getting together in groups is fun! So, SJAA has moved its board meeting back 1/2 an hour to allow some social time at 7:30 PM, before our General Meeting Speakers, so we can talk, have some refreshments, and get to know what everyone looks like (instead of just voices in the dark). It is fun!
The point is, this club is flexible. New things, new ideas, new blood, all are welcomed here. I could list other new endeavors as well, but the point would be the same - it is your club, and your ideas and enthusiasm that make things happen.
So, if you’ve read this - - - We Want You! Come to our Board Meetings - they are not “Bored Meetings” by any stretch. Your ideas, participation and enthusiasm are welcomed and you’ll have an opportunity to have the club’s resources behind you in your endeavor to share the hobby.
Here’s an idea or two - we have a non-profit TV studio in San Jose, where we can produce our own programs. Anyone want to be the new Star Hustler? Or, we have people looking at land for an observatory, and others finding new local places to go observing. New ideas welcome here!
Check our schedule, and drop by the board meeting, or contact me. You won’t be disappointed. Its a great group, and will welcome you.
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