To the side other side of the staged or not argument (one of the memories of Season 5B will be the now infamous "Storyline Cheat Sheet") there is an article about one of the fellow campers seen in the recent "Dwarfs in Space" episode. The family tells their story. They were fans of the show, but didn't know that Amy and Zach were going to be there until they arrived. They say the show is unscripted and spontaneous. The boy and his mother say Amy and Zach were very nice and down to earth.
By Anne O’Brien-Kakley
Rochester sixth-grader Joshua Winsper has a new aspiration – to be the first little person astronaut. For this diverse student, this is just one of his many plans for the future.
Josh, a student at Rochester Memorial School, had the opportunity of a lifetime during November of 2008 when he visited the first Space Camp for Little People. There was one detail that his mom withheld as he got ready for the weekend-long event in Huntsville, Alabama – the entire trip was going to be filmed as a part of TLC’s “Little People, Big World”.
“When we got there someone was like ‘Josh, are you excited that they are going to be filming this weekend?’ and Josh was like ‘what’?” laughed Josh’s mother Karen Winsper.
“I didn’t know what they were talking about,” added Josh.
Two of the three little people featured on “Little People, Big World”, Amy and Zach Roloff, attended the Space Camp that weekend, and their camera crews came with them. Josh and his mother described the family as being “really nice” and “down-to-earth,” despite the fact that four years of reality television has launched the Roloff family into fame.
The Space Camp program has several special branches, including a camp for the blind and visually impaired, and a camp for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. In 2008, a family friend and schoolteacher in Washington D.C., Geoff Mitchell, started up the first-ever Space Camp for Little People. In a spontaneous, last-minute decision, the Winspers decided that this would be a great experience for Josh.
Ms. Winsper discovered that the Roloff family would be filming during the camp and didn’t tell Josh until he arrived in Alabama. Josh, a longtime fan of the TLC show, discovered the secret when he spotted Zach and Amy Roloff in an elevator at the facility.
The Roloffs participated with the camp students in all of their activities, and even lived at the dorm with them. According to Winspers, the show is completely spontaneous and unscripted, just like a reality show should be.
Josh, a fifth-grader at the time the show was filmed, was given the position of Flight Director for the simulated missions that he and his team tackled over the weekend. “I was in charge,” said Josh, who pointed to a picture of himself sitting behind a command console, “and I had to follow a script.” This “script” of commands would help Josh’s team on their space missions.
Weightlessness exercises and a manned maneuvering unit were included in the program for the Space Camp weekend. A clip from the TLC program showed the Space Camp students engaging in a “Space Bowl” trivia game with Zach Roloff. The students even made small, working rockets to launch.
“The [Space Camp] staff were so great,” said Ms. Winsper.
Before going to Space Camp, Josh had focused his interests on history and baseball. Now, he has been focusing on a possible future in space flight, either in space or as a controller.
“There are no limitations,” said Ms. Winsper, as far as people of short stature working in the astronautics field.
Josh hopes to attend Space Camp for little people again, if an advanced program for older students is developed in the future. He still has his identification tags and his blue space suit from the trip.
The Winsper family has been waiting over 18 months for the Space Camp episode of “Little People, Big World” to appear on TLC, and it finally happened on Monday, June 7. At first, Josh’s classmates thought he was joking when he said he was going to be on television. The Winspers planned a viewing party for their family and closest friends, and Josh’s class at RMS planned on a classroom showing of the episode as well.
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