Thursday, May 3, 2012

 Flowing With the Current . . . .

                  A HAPPY ENDING
                           A NEW BEGINNING

Updates by Laddie Elwell

Susan Joy will write the next Flowing with the Current, and by the time you read it, she will be here in Bemidji, hard at work at HSC––and learning all about Bemidji and its inhabitants. She, her husband, Dan
Karalus, and two young sons, Harper and Charlie, expect to be here the second full week of June.

I am delighted that the search for a new Headwaters Science Center director has come to a very good close. A science center is many things. First of all, science centers/museums exist to bring the curiosity, logic, fascination, energy, wisdom, and hard work of the fields of science to the public, whose component populations use the gifts of science and nature every day without recognizing them. Beyond that, centers help to bring to visitors of all ages the joy of learning new things that help to make the world an absolutely fascinating place to live. We know that science centers can change lives, hopefully for the better, and we hope that we can help equip youngsters with tools that will help them make wiser decisions as they move through the minefield of youth!

So a science center is more than a nonprofit organization (though that IRS 501(c)(3) classification is so important for educational organizations like HSC with no reliable source of financial support!), and it is more than a business, though it must try hard to support itself as much as possible.  Susan Joy will come to a center that exists because a number of people saw the need to provide new options for northern Minnesota kids and
recognized also the desires of older citizens to have a place that helps to make a little more sense out of a confusing world. It was a risky venture, and HSC exists in one of the smallest communities served by a
science center!

From my standpoint, I wish that every child who would like to spend time in HSC could do so. In a community where such a large percentage of children live in poverty, there is nothing I would like more than to allow all children to come in free, just as long as they use the facility as it is intended to be used. If I were a magician, I would provide transportation to those who need it, too! Of course I’d like to do the same for adults.

Unfortunately, reality intervenes. The electric bill comes regularly, along with many others: insurance, water, gas, and so on, and staff members must be able to help support their families, though they are underpaid considering their skills and backgrounds. Then there are supplies: paper, computer and printer cartridges, exhibits and building materials, liquid nitrogen, supplies for classes, various kinds of equipment, sea salts, and too many other things to list!

Thank goodness we have had so many wonderful donors of equipment such as computers, furniture, office supplies, refreshments, and so many other things that we would never have been able to buy! And thank goodness also that so many people give of their time to help us as volunteers, because HSC wouldn’t have come into fruition without them, nor could it continue to exist.

Susan Joy will bring new ideas and changing procedures and expectations to HSC. She will face old and new challenges and she’ll have tough decisions to make. But she brings the love and excitement of science, and she comes into a community that I believe will come to appreciate her very much.


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