[bct] Fw: BlindNews: Space mission - send Sky to space

  • From: "Rick Harmon" <rickharmon@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2006 21:23:32 -0500

Way to go sky,  I hope you get your wish.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "BlindNews Mailing List" <BlindNews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <BlindNews@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 9:06 PM
Subject: BlindNews: Space mission - send Sky to space


Peninsula News Review, Canada
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Space mission - send Sky to space

By Christine van Reeuwyk

CAPTION: Sky Mundell, 15, plays video games on his computer. His computer 
skills could come in handy should he earn the cash to attend NASA space camp 
this summer where the week culminates to a simulated six-hour shuttle 
mission.  Christine van Reeuwyk photo

Close your eyes and climb a mountain.
Heck, close your eyes and walk to the bathroom. Good luck with the goose egg 
on your forehead because it's not easy.
Now close your eyes and man a six-hour shuttle mission into space.
Sky Mundell hopes to spend a week at NASA space camp where the week will 
finish off with just such a shuttle mission. And Sky is totally blind and 
partially deaf.
He has what's called Retinopathy of Prematurity. He was born 16 weeks 
premature and the oxygen used to keep him alive ruined his retinas before 
they were even fully formed.
Each year the NASA space camp training facility in Huntsville, Alabama holds 
a one- week camp for about 200 blind and visually impaired children from 
around the world.
The kids are invited to attend camp based on their skill level being at the 
point where instructors feel the students will have a successful week.
The students learn a variety of confidence-inspiring and life-changing 
skills, and get to meet other blind kids.
"The biggest thing is meeting other blind kids," said Sky's dad, Roger 
Mundell.
"I'd like to meet the students who are blind," Sky added. "Because it would 
be interesting to meet new friends."
Sky is one of four Victoria-area kids fund-raising to attend the camp this 
year. The other three are from Sooke. A blind child lives in social 
isolation, interacting mainly with adults. For some of the blind summer 
students this camp will be the first peer-to-peer social contact in their 
lives.
Sky however, is looking to add to his interaction with blind friends. He met 
up with an online pal in England last year.
"I thought it was very good to meet Sam," Sky said thinking back to the 
visit. "It was fun to have lunch with him."
And over lunch the duo discussed computers and compared technology, much 
like other 15 year-old boys. Only this technology boosts the abilities of 
the blind child.
"The only way there is a blind community, really, is on the internet," Roger 
explained.
Sky has serious skills on the computer. He zips through files on his 
chock-full desktop searching quickly for the game he wants to play, moving 
to the next one while the voice telling him the file name blurs to the 
hearing person's ears. Like many his age, the Stelly's student enjoys a 
multitude of games on his computer - but Sky doesn't care about the high-end 
graphics. In fact many of his games simply project a blank screen adorned 
with the title of the game. The sounds in the game are critical. For 
example, one game where Sky skeet shoots bottles, the sounds create the 
illusion of sending the bottles in one direction or another. Sky easily hits 
his targets. In another he moves his tank through what sounds like a war 
zone while a radar beeps, telling him where targets are. "Uh oh, there's a 
helicopter," Sky said, long before anyone else heard the chopper.
Afterward, Sky quickly found the review he prepared for ACB Radio, a station 
owned by the American Council of the Blind and dedicated to connecting the 
blind. Sky, who hopes to be a recording engineer someday, taped his own 
review of the video game XHour for a show on ACB Radio.
"I was about 14 when I did this one so it's about time I did another one," 
the 15-year-old explained.
Though technology gives a blind kid abilities, confidence still needs to be 
maintained.
"We feel sure it will significantly boost his confidence and independent 
living skills," said Roger. The camp can illustrate to the youth that they 
are as capable as a sighted youth. "That's a revelation to a lot of them," 
Roger added, while Sky tapped out Stardust on the family piano. Sky learned 
Stardust by ear, listening to the Rod Stewart CD he got at the concert in 
Victoria last year - he can now play the entire collection.
When his mind is set, Sky works for what he wants.
Walking through a mall one day Sky stopped suddenly, mesmerized by the piano 
player. The family had a small keyboard that he enjoyed banging away at but 
Sky begged for a large piano. Roger made a deal. As soon as Sky could play 
Für Elise entirely through, thus proving his dedication, the family would 
get a piano. Roger was stunned the day his wife told him Sky had 
accomplished the task - and dad ponied up the piano.
Sky wants to go to space camp. He already enjoys swimming, bike riding, 
skiing and rock climbing and is looking forward to adding to his repertoire. 
One reason he's desperate to attend space camp is to "do new things.
"It would be interesting to go because it would be good to participate in 
the simulators," Sky said.
Though Sky prefers pepperoni pizza, sushi and even Ethiopian food, one of 
the skills the students learn is how to survive if their plane is shot down 
in the woods - these skills include eating what's available. Among the many 
skills they learn is escape and evasion, plus participation in a number of 
flight simulators, before the end of the week.
Camp costs $5,000 for each child to cover the dual airfares for the aides 
and the children, and for the camp fees.
Deep Cove Chalet has offered a silent auction venue and fund-raising dinner 
to help send Sky to space camp. The event, to be held April 18 at the Deep 
Cove Chalet, costs $75 per person for a three-course gourmet dinner that 
reflects the superb food quality for which the Chalet is famous.
"We're going to have an excellent dinner," insisted Sky who will also be on 
hand to inform attendees all about space camp.
There will be a silent auction with a wide variety of items that have been 
generously donated by the Victoria business community and by private 
individuals. If you wish to donate an auction item or contribute in another 
way to send Sky to space camp call Roger or Ann at 655-2691 or email 
rmundell@xxxxxxx

reporter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

http://www.peninsulanewsreview.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=24&cat=23&id=618018&more=




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