Monday, May 24, 2010

CWSF 2010 is complete, everyone home safe!

Final Team Meeting
Sunday was travel day - our latest wake-up call yet, as the final "official" event was breakfast... After a leisurely breakfast, we have about an hour to pack up, and then get ready to load up the bus back home.

There were some opportunities to relax a bit and chill out by the river after the rooms were cleaned out, and this also included the creation of the new unofficial BASEF theme song (video to come!)
Soon after that the busses were loaded, and we joined the group from Niagara region for the trip back. There was a little bit of sleep to catch up on as well...
Catching some sleep Catching some sleep Catching some sleep
In no time we were back in Hamilton, and the CWSF journey is now over for 2010.
Back Home!

As I wrap up the final blog post for 2010, there's a few things to say. First, to the CWSF organizers, you guys did a great job, it was a very well run operation. Students and Delagates were fed, transported, and entertained with great efficiency. Another thank you to the parents, teachers and friends that supported these great kids and there ideas. Thanks to the BASEF volunteers for the very hard work all year that makes our regional fair and CWSF trips possible. Thanks to the BASEF sponsors that provide us the means to take 16 wonderful kids to Canada-Wide. Thanks to my fellow Delegates Roz, Tom and Jim, who did an incredible job all week long (sleep? who needs sleep?). Maybe even a small thanks to the Beatles, for the iPod playlist I used to get moving each morning (Golden Slumbers/A Day in the Life/Let it Be seemed good choices).

Thanks also goes out to all the students from across the country presenting their projects this year - thanks for sharing your passions with the world. To anyone who has ever said the line "what's with kids these days...", they just need to come to CWSF to meet these youngsters who are not just smart, but also talented in so many ways, respectful of others, and great ambassadors of their home regions.

But the biggest thanks go to the Team BASEF kids. You were a terrific group of young men and women, and it was a lot of fun to spend a week with you all. There's an incredible amount of talent in this group, not just in your science projects, but in all the things you are doing in your lives. Keep challenging yourselves to do your best, and you will all accomplish some very great things.

Until Next Year!
-- George

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 8 - Public Viewing, Project Takedown, Fireworks

We gained another precious 15 minutes of sleep today, as the busing schedules were loosed and we allowed everyone to be ready for breakfast at the positively late hour of 7:30am.

After breakfast it was off for Public Viewing day. The public viewing was very crowded for the whole three hours, as both friends & family and the general public toured the projects. As usual there were far more interesting projects than there was time to see them, and as noon rolled around it was time for the last lunch in the Project display arena. After that it was time for project takedown, which happened uneventfully.
Then there was one last special event - a Victoria Day festival in downtown Peterborough, by the river and boat docks.

This was a nice event that included a free concert and various activities (for all visitors, not just CWSF students). The concert was the same band that had played earlier in the week for us, "Full Throttle".
For the Fair students there was also a boat cruise on the river, which was enjoyed by all... then we settled down and were treating to a nice fireworks display.
While the official reason for the fireworks was Victoria Day, I would like to think this was an extra bit of recognition for the hard work all the students of Team BASEF did, from the moment they started their projects to the moment they finished with the public viewing here at Canada-Wide. This was a great set of projects from a truly terrific group of kids.

As we wrap up the week, it has without doubt been a pleasure to be here this week with these kids. From all of us "Delegates" to all of the students (the "Finalists"), thank you for your hard work, for being respectful and considerate, and for making this a very enjoyable week for everyone involved. When the biggest emergency of the week was just an invasion of some ants into Mikaela's room, I think we can label the event as a big success. I can tell that every student involved will walk away with new experiences, new friends, and some cases even new inspiration for the future. The theme Peterborough used for some of its events was "connecting waters" - being able to go from here, on the banks of the river at Trent University, and pick a path that will lead nearly anywhere. Good luck to everyone as they explore where these paths will take them.

We have one more task left - the trip home. Well, two tasks if "catching up on sleep" actually counts.

Day 7 - School Viewing, Awards, Banquet, Dance!

Just when we start to think that they couldn't fit any more into a single day, somehow they find a way to do just that.

The bonus to start our day was the fact that the organizers arranged the "early bus" group (ie, us) to change with the "late bus" group for the last two days. So the extra 45 minutes of sleep was appreciated by all!
Today started with a trip to the project center for a morning of elementary school tours. Not too many of the elementary kids were very interested in the projects, but there were some occasional questions. At noon this viewing was over, and it was back to the Trent campus for lunch. After lunch it was time to get dressed and prepare for the Awards Show. Off onto a short bus ride again, and then into the awards hall - a full house. The awards show started right on time and remained fast paced - there were lots of prizes and lots of winners!

It wasn't long before Team BASEF members started to show their stuff - Calvin started out the podium march with both a Special Award and a Bronze Medal.
Andrew picked up an Honourable Mention for his division.
Justine received a Silver Medal.
Joy also received a Silver Medal.
And Team BASEF's hero of the hour, Patrick, was called up to the Gold Medal winners podium to receive the top prize for his division, Junior Engineering project.
After all this excitement there wasn't much time to rest - a few quick family photos, then back on the buses and back to the Trent Campus - and off to the Awards Banquet. Dinner was very good, there were a few speeches and thank-yous, and then we were off to prepare for the next event - the Dance Party. From 8pm to 11pm the majority of the team were partying away, though some of the kids were feeling the exhaustion and called it an earlier night.

All in all an exciting and fun day for all. Team BASEF 2010 is a great bunch of students, with some truly incredible projects. Those that didn't win an award today are still among the top highest fraction of all science fair projects across the country, and the entire team deserves praise and recognition for their hard work. Well done!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 7 - Awards Day - Special Bulletin !

Great work Team BASEF - we had so many great projects it could have been any one of them that took the awards on any given day - on this day it was six awards for the Team:

- Honourable Mention - Andrew
- Bronze Medal and Special Award - Calvin
- Silver Medal - Justine
- Silver Medal - Joy
- Gold Medal - Patrick

Terrific work, and Congratulations! Very well deserved rewards for hard work!

More details and pictures to come...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 6 - Tour Day

Well, at least some of us got to sleep in today.... it was the all-day tours, and the Team members were going off in different directions. The Algonquin Park contingent was off the earliest with a 7:00am bus departure. There were also trips to the Kawarthas, the Air Force base, an Engineering tour, and more. The general consensus was that the tours were very good, but certainly tiring! At least a few people got a chance for a quick nap on the buses...
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Once we got back to the Campus, there wasn't much time to rest. Unfortunately the "Night out on the town" plans were thrown in to a bit of disarray when the Talent Show re-scheduled the second half of the acts for tonight - it meant we had to be back before 9:00pm so that our three performers could get ready for the 9:30 show. As well, Joy had an earlier interview for her MILSET application, which would give her a great opportunity to present her project at a worldwide forum if accepted.

So our night on the town became an "Evening at Riverside Park", back where we had gone for the Zoo BBQ earlier. This is a great little park with lots of green space and a few activities that captured the attention of our group, such as the long slide-tunnel. And Frisbee was another hit, as we waited for Jim to arrive with our Pizzas... and then there was ice cream cake! With Andy's birthday on Friday, and Meagan's on Saturday, there was a lot to celebrate!
Then there was the fact that nobody remembered to bring forks or spoons for the cake, but such a small issue can't put a damper on a team such as this!
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Ordinarily this much activity would be enough to fill a number of days, but we were not done yet - Part Two of the talent show got under way!

Unfortunately the unplanned split of the Talent Show into two parts caused some confusion, including the fact that a lot of students were off-campus "on the town", and others didn't even know the details of the show times. Yet this did not stop an almost-full house from attending and cheering on the participating students. Calvin had the tough job of starting first, and dealing with technical glitches of microphone issues - but he handled the glitches and delays like a pro, and gave a great singing performance.

Meagan followed with a wonderful tap-dance routine, and Andy absolutely wowed the crowd with his own tap-dance number. Unfortunately the lighting in the theatre was poor, so we don't have many good pictures to post - but we'll dig some up from the CWSF photographers. Everyone had a great time today, and a lot of very tired bodies finally crawled in to bed. The good news is that tomorrow we switch morning bus times, and so get to leave (and sleep in!) 45 minutes later.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 5 - Judging morning, Activities, and Talent!

Wednesday began with another early morning... wakeup knocks starting at 5:30am, breakfast at 6:30, and on the bus to the projects by 7:30. Again Team BASEF was up to the challenge, and by judging time they were ready to roll.
Due to the nature of the special award categories, some students had no judges today, and others had up to 7 judges. As the team arrived back at the Trent Campus in the early afternoon, spirits were again high, of course in part due to the fact that there is no more judging!
The afternoon had the Team break up into a variety of activities - soapstone carving, art, a hike of the Trent trails, a discussion on green environmental practices, and more. After dinner was the "Canada's Got Talent" show...

Another name could be "BASEF has Got Talent", since 6 of the 25 or so acts were from our Team! Calvin, Andy, Mikaela, Meagan, Emma, and Aliyah were all entered into the show. By showtime the theatre was not only completely full, but students were sitting on the stairs and by the wall - standing room only!
The audience was great, and the talent on display was great - there was piano, fiddling, dance, singing, and more. Aliyan and Emma both did nice musical numbers, and Mikaela did a rhythmic gymnastic routine. Just as Calvin was about to go on, they stopped the show as it was running "over time", and announced it would continue Thursday night. A disappointment not only to the performers that were about to do their routines, but also a disappointment for the very enthusiastic and appreciative audience that was eager to see more.

The day closed with an open-air rock concert (though speaking for myself, I would have been more than happy to see more of that great Canada-Wide participant talent instead!)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 4 - Judging Day and BBQ at the Zoo!

Today is the biggest day so far for TeamBASEF - it's judging day! The kids handled the (very) early wake up call and were all finished breakfast and ready to go right on time.
There were a couple of nervous faces this morning, but Judging Day isn't really anything to be afraid of - this group of kids knows their stuff, and (most) judges are not at all scary... A couple of students reported one or two judges that didn't seem interested or were hard to understand, but the judging process is designed to minimize the effect of those judges on the overall results - the main thing for the kids is not to fret on those and just enjoy the whole experience. And overall that certainly seemed to be the case.

The Delegates (chaperons) were not permitted to be in the project building during judging, so we had our own meetings to go to - science fair stuff. We met up with the students for lunch (spirits were high!), and then when the kids arrived back from the project hall at 5:00pm. We took the opportunity to take a great group picture under the provincial flags, and then another one of the group on at the riverside in front of our Residence hall.

After everyone changed, it was off to the Zoo! It started with a big BBQ, and then the team could wander off to various activities - chill out, see the animals, play some frisbee, or just wander. In no time at all the evening was over and it was time to head back. Still a very early morning tomorrow as the kids head into some of the extra-awards judging. A very busy day, but a lot of fun!