As the summer continues, so do the programs offered by the Mattapoisett Recreation Committee. While most of the activities offered revolve around athletics, the Recreation Committee added a new program to the mix this year: Adventures in Space.
“We were trying to come up with new activities for the kids and parents of the Tri-Town,” said Recreation Committee chairman, Jeremy Collier. This is the first time the committee has organized an education-based activity for the summer season. “We’re trying to get something that grabs everybody.”
The class, which runs all week at Mattapoisett Center School, is for kids under 10, and is proctored by Taunton resident Dave Heshion.
“This has been part of an on-going program I’ve done since 1986,” he said.
While working for Bank of Boston in the 1980s, Heshion, who has always loved space, said he became involved in some of the educational programs offered by the Museum of Science in Boston.
“I started doing schools in March of ’86 after Challenger, to get kids to understand why it’s important to go into space,” he said.
Over the last 27 years, Heshion has traveled to over 3,000 schools teaching students about all things space.
On Monday, participants learned the history of rockets, propulsion and had the opportunity to build their own rockets, which will be launched on Friday. Throughout the rest of the week, Heshion will teach the kids about space stations, airplanes, and what it’s like to live in space.
And on the first day, the audience was definitely paying attention.
“Whenever the rockets go off, you can’t really control them without wings,” learned eight-year-old Ethan Scully of Mattapoisett.
For Isabella Hunt, also eight years old, getting hands-on piqued her interest.
“My favorite part was building the rockets. I’ve never made one before,” she said.
Maybe this first rocket will inspire Isabella and kids like her to pursue a career in space exploration or development, which is exactly what Heshion is hoping for. He does what he does because of the teachers and astronauts he has encountered on his terrestrial journey through space.
“People traveling into space are only about 50 years old. It’s still in its infancy. I think about what these kids will see. I’m sure in their lifetime they will see man walk on Mars. In the end, they are the ones in this country who will make that happen,” he said. “I’m trying to hang around long enough to witness it, myself.”
For more information on the Mattapoisett Recreation Committee summer programs, visit www.mattapoisett.net/Pages/MattapoisettMA_Recreation/index.
By Eric Tripoli