I have been involved with ASEM activities since few months now, and I am already on my way learning many new things. Started with Basic Observing class, I got used to the Astro-terms very quickly. This organization has lot of resources for the members to use. To begin with the club has a wonderful observatory site on the western outskirts of St Louis, and some good telescopes - 10" and 16" ones. With 32" already under way and equipments to do astrophotography, this club offers ample opportunities to grow as a amateur astronomer. The club is headed by Jim Roe and is supported by many others who are well-learnt and well experienced in this field. When I joined the club, all the members warmly welcomed me and allowed me to learn at my own pace. There are monthly meetings which are very useful in keeping abreast of latest happenings in the night skies, many community outreach activities like volunteering for scouts, schools, etc. The club also undertakes special class like the recent beginning digital imaging. The members of this club comprises astronomers with different knowledge and skillsets, from mere observers to beginner telescope users and advanced astronomers who work on deep sky astrophotography. Anyone involving with this group will amply benefit from the members' experience and resources this club has to offer.
In about April of 2008 I attended my first ASEM meeting and was immediately welcomed as if I was an old friend. The members were very inclusive and outgoing. Most have a great deal more knowledge and experience than I and were very willing to share what they knew. Then I found out about their outreach activities and I became involved as well. Our group, with the leadership and boundless energy and enthusiasm of Jim Roe, has developed an Astronomy outreach program and viewing site unsurpassed in the state. Every Friday night, the group hosts outreach events at Broemmelsiek Park in West Central St. Charles County. This section of the park was specifically developed for Astronomy purposes. At the moment, it houses a 10" F10 Schmidt and a 16" F5 AltAz reflector. Soon, it will hold a 32" AltAz reflector. Additionally, there are 9 concrete pads with electrical service as well as drinking fountains and a restroom. This park is the only park open 24/7 in St. Charles. Again, Jim Roe was instrumental in the creation, design and implementation of this wonderful resource. I certainly would be a lesser person for not knowing Jim and the rest of the members of ASEM and the Alliance for Astronomy organizations.
The Alliance for Astronomy, Inc. is a Missouri non-profit founded in 2004 to promote interest, awareness and education in astronomy and related sciences. AfA started the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri in February 2005 as its primary outreach to the public. DBA ASEM, regular public monthly meetings are held including a beginners meeting. ASEM provided the impetus for the local county government (St. Charles County, Missouri) to build a dedicated astronomy site in a rural county park that is open to the public 24/7. ASEM supplies telescopes and volunteers to offer weekly telescope viewing session for the public.