Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Best Day Job in the Universe - The Power of Imagination

Adrian Stevens is running through the Romulan base with a raiding party from the Voyager. Phaser fire echoes from a distant hallway. Red lights flash, warnings blare. The Romulan rebels lead us to the kitchen where we hope to secure food. The security marines mark the location of water supplies. The Voyager’s tanks are dry.

In reality, it’s 1 am. My name is not Adrian Stevens, that’s the Voyager’s quartermaster, a part I’m playing for the camp. I’m charging through the school hallways with a group of campers and costumed staff. The red lights are real - siren lights plugged in wherever we can find outlets in the hallways. Battle music plays over the school’s speakers. The kitchen is also real, staged beforehand with supplies that the crew is supposed to locate and steal. I’m thinking, “I’m twice the age of anyone on this camp. This is slightly ridiculous. But I’m having fun!”

Behold the power of imagination. Listening to the campers, it’s obvious which ones have no concept of imagination. It’s sad, but true. We usually have a handful or two on our camps who just can’t let reality go. These are the annoying people at movies who have to comment about everything through the whole show. These are the people who can’t see what isn’t there. These are the poor children who notice the sneakers on the monsters and Romulans and comment on the background music. These are the children who have forgotten the wonder of imagination.

I pity them. Myself, I love immersing myself in something until it feels real - books, movies, my job. I want to live in space. I want to fly starships through nebulaes. So I do the next best thing. I pretend. And I get paid for taking kids with me.

But think about it. Without imagination, without the game of “what if”, where would we be? Exactly where we started. I saw a documentary about the way Star Trek changed our lives. Forty years ago, no one thought it was more than a weird tv show that was over. Now we have communicators. We’re working on transporters and starships. Women in command positions? Almost common-place. Aliens? Not yet.

Behold the power of imagination. I’m fortunate enough to work with people at a place where imagination reigns supreme. Now if only we can light that fire in those who attend, we’ll have changed the future.

For more information on our camps, check out the space center website. For more stories about Adrian Stevens, check the blog archives for the space center on the Troubadour. For more about me, Jaleta Clegg, check out my website. Thanks for listening!


  1. that does sound like fun. i'm going over to the site, just to take a look around.

  2. Jaleta, so true about those who lack imagination. Imagination is everything! (Of course, a writer would say that. Imagination is my language of choice.) Your job sounds like such a blast. I wonder how many of those imagination-less kids you inspire to start dreaming a little?

    Thanks for a fantastic series. It's been a pure delight to read about your day job.


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