At the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, kids ages 9-18 can take part in Space Camp. If you are an adult yearning to go to Mars, opportunities for adults (and their families) are also available.
Our son had a long term interest in going to Space Camp. After a move to Nashville, TN, we were within an easy drive of “Rocket City” and thus, we soon found ourselves making the drive to One Tranquility Base.
We sent our child to his first Space Camp (he’s now been to Space Academy and Advanced Space Academy) so that he could explore his passion for space exploration. There were so many other benefits that we had not anticipated.
Here’s ten of them:
Making Friends with Kids from around the World
During Nic’s visit to Space Camp, he bunked and/or went to activities with kids from across the globe. Some of the kids he interacted with were from Dubai, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. Since they have unique cultural backgrounds, keeping in touch via text and social media has been fun.
Boasting attendees from all 50 states and more than 60 foreign countries, your child will certainly get to meet a diverse group of peers with like-minded dreams. This exciting aspect of Space Academy enriched his experience — both during and after camp.
Investment in your Child’s Future
If your child is dreaming about a future as an engineer, medical professional, scientist, etc., then Space Camp will provide an excellent opportunity for classroom instruction and hands-on training in an inspiring and unique setting.
Presentations by NASA professionals may help your child find their career path. Currently, Nic is looking at colleges where he can study aerospace engineering.
Also, students see the Space Camp Alumni Wall of Fame that includes NASA and European Space Agency astronauts, engineers, scientists, and technologists.
A successful day at Space Camp involves lots of teamwork. In order to complete a mission, trainees must work together and embrace individual strengths.
Working together, students tackle space missions, rocket building, and science experiments.
Previously, Nic had flown alone to see extended family, however this was his first overnight experience where he didn’t know any other adult or peer. The experience of sharing a room with peers, meeting instructors, having to go to Sick Bay for medicine, etc. was a tremendous chance for personal growth.
As parents of an only child, it also helped us to see Nic as a maturing individual. By putting himself in what was at first an uncomfortable situation, he was able to reach his goal of becoming a Space Academy graduate. In doing so, he had so much fun that I’m sure he would be happy to become a permanent resident!
Nic returned from his first Space Camp extremely proud of his accomplishments. In one particular outdoor activity, he was chosen to be the leader. During this team building exercise, the team needed to work together and communicate effectively in order to “survive”. Basically, if they fell off a board, they were doomed.
I believe this experience laid the foundation for Nic wanting to pursue more leadership opportunities. This year, he was co-section leader of the trumpets in his high school marching band.
Adult Role Models Boost Self-Confidence
After two Space Camps, there is no doubt that the trainers picked to inspire the trainees are chosen carefully. Nic talks fondly of his trainers and as any excellent teacher, their inspiration has stayed with him. These adult role models boosted his self-confidence by cheering him on, placing him in a leadership role, chatting about their interests, and possibly, demonstrating that you can be a space nerd and still be “cool”.
Creative Problem Solving
Problem solving is a task that was greatly encouraged at Space Camp. Around every turn, creative solutions needed to be presented in order to succeed in mission control, rocket building, and other areas.
Nic has shown great determination in finding a way to solve a problem rather than wasting time on the frustration of its complexity. With the help of two Space Camps and his academic pursuits in high school, Nic has greatly matured in his time management, study, and problem solving skills. This has been most apparent in his recent ACT scores!
Space Camp brings students together who have similar passions. One of your child’s team members may be obsessed with rocketry; another may want to pilot airplanes. All of the trainees look to the sky with fascination. It’s an incredible setting that can bring together students that otherwise may not hang out with each other in high school. Football players mingling with marching band students? Yes, it can happen at Space Camp. Once there, individuals find the value in being both a follower and a leader while their previous high school labels are left at home.
As a parent, you’ll appreciate that Space Camp is a true character building environment that embraces natural ability rather than popularity. Indeed, individuality is encouraged in order to be successful at the given missions.
Daily exercise and fitness is promoted during a five-night stay at Space Camp. It’s never a bad thing to get a kid away from technology in order to discover the fun in the outdoors or indoor pool. At Space Camp, fitness is often paired with a team building activity. It’s a win-win lesson for all trainees.
Real World Applications of Math and Science
Knowledge is priceless; sometimes a high school student can’t grasp that concept while sitting through a boring math lesson. However, when a student sees the real world applications that have been utilized by rocket scientists, for example, algebraic equations become a bit more magical. State-of-the-art simulations of space missions inspire students to pursue more challenging math and science classes. Nic is currently taking AP Physics I!
Space Camp Information
Rocket Scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun, believed there should be a place to encourage students to experience the excitement of space exploration. With that mission in mind, the first Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Edward O. Buckbee, founded Space Camp!