Season of discovery at KidZone Museum
For KidZone Museum, the year 2018 has brought seasons of change.
The face and future of KidZone continues to evolve. This summer, the museum launched an Aviation Camp for the first time in its nearly 30-year history, thanks to help from Katherine Greenwood of the Truckee Tahoe Airport and Devin Noe of Mountain Lion Aviation.
Noe approached the museum about hosting a camp (along with the airport) after attending the Discovery Fundraising Event in 2017. KidZone’s Education Manager Jen Parker saw the new program as an opportunity to do something for the older kids.
“In the Truckee-Tahoe Area, we know there is a lack of non-sport activities available to teenagers,” Parker said in August. “We really hope to be able to better serve this group in the future.”
Campers spent July and August discovering the innovative world of flight. They toured the Truckee Tahoe Airport, heard from inspiring pilot guest speakers, and took to the skies, some flying for the first time. In an outgoing survey, all campers rated the Aviation Camp as “excellent,” with one participant writing, “I liked flying, meeting the flight instructors.”
Each graduate camper received a flight log book for participating, and many expressed an interest in pursuing a pilot’s license in the future.
Part of their inspiration for realizing this goal came from Grant Korgan, a professional athlete and nanoscientist who had always dreamed of becoming a pilot as a child. When he sustained a spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, he refused to back down. He pushed forward every day until an adaptable piece was created to help him continue his dream.
Today he is the emerging face of spinal cord recovery, having become the first spinal cord-injured athlete in history to ski 80 miles to the South Pole. In the movie trailer for his award-winning film documenting this journey, The Push, Korgan reminds us that “everyone can realize their limitless potential in this life.”
KidZone Museum, has the potential to inspire countless children with future aerodynamic programs in an expanded museum and added science center. In order to continue serving over 30,000 visitors per year with creative opportunities to play, discover, and connect with families in the community, the nonprofit organization’s current structure has reached a tipping point. In less than five years, KidZone must move into a bigger, more permanent space.
The winter of 2017 was harsh on the museum and ripped the structures canvas cover. Snow and ice also ravaged the museum’s outdoor play area. By the summer of 2018, volunteers had landscaped the outdoor nature area with new ground slides, a reestablished stream area, and an array of blooming flowers, garden beds, and young trees.
With support from Lahontan Community Foundation, Vail Epic Promise volunteers, Villager Nursery, Truckee-Tahoe Lumber Company, The Rock Garden and Streamscapes — which has provided KidZone’s water feature exhibits for decades — all put their skills to work so that more children can learn through outdoor play.
Meanwhile, the indoor space needed some sprucing. Volunteers moved to install a fresh take on the fairy tale exhibit, creating “Once Upon a Time … In a Magical Land.” Volunteers appeared once again to work their magic in the Art Room, which had grown outdated over its twenty-year lifespan. Members of Tahoe Forest Church completed a comprehensive renovation, adding new cabinets, floors, shelving and sinks for budding artists. The fresh paint and added wiggle room was good news for visitors like Maria Gonzales, who arrived to play recently on the museum’s complimentary bus: “The first thing I want to do when I go to the museum is create art in the Art Room!”
As the quaking aspen leaves fall in red and gold, KidZone Museum continues to grow. To learn more, RSVP online for KidZone’s fundraising event: The Discovery Luncheon, Nov. 1st, 2018, from noon-1 p.m., at the Resort at Squaw Creek. This one-hour, complimentary luncheon will include a screening of our short film and keynote address from Behavioral Analyst Aaron Stabel, who will speak on how important it is to “unplug and play again. Call 530-587-5437 or visit kidzonemuseum.org to RSVP. Childcare will be provided by KidZone Museum’s dedicated staff.
Since 1997, KidZone Museum has served as the local nonprofit children’s museum of Truckee, California, with programs designed to promote healthy child development and learning through multidimensional educational experiences. KidZone offers free bus service from Kings Beach to Truckee through its nationally awarded outreach program and, new to this year, a “Play School” at Tahoe Lake Elementary. Sign up to volunteer at firstname.lastname@example.org.