Ten Benefits to Sending Your Child to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama

Ten Benefits to Sending Your Child to Space Camp

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.

Through these doors…

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.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center

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.

Moving in Day at Advanced Space Academy

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.

Meet students from around the world

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.

Bunk bed
Habitat rooms are small but campers are exhausted by lights out.

Presentations by NASA professionals may help your child find their career path.

Astronaut Jerry Ross
Nic shakes hands with Astronaut Jerry Ross

Currently, Nic is looking at colleges where he can study aerospace engineering. Update: Nic will be attending Auburn University on a partial scholarship. And he now volunteering at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to earn hours for National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.

Also, students see the Space Camp Alumni Wall of Fame that includes NASA and European Space Agency astronauts, engineers, scientists, and technologists.

Team Building

A successful day at Space Camp involves lots of teamwork. In order to complete a mission, trainees must work together and embrace individual strengths.

Successful missions take team work

Working together, students tackle space missions, rocket building, and science experiments.

Personal Growth

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.

Space Camp Habitat

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!

Leadership Skills

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. 😉

Space Camp
Space Camp Team Building and Leadership

I believe this experience laid the foundation for Nic wanting to pursue more leadership opportunities. In Nic’s 11th grade year, he was co-section leader of the trumpets in his high school marching band. For his senior year, he was promoted to Brass Captain.

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”.

Space Camp Graduation
Space Camp Graduation

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.

Problem solving is made fun at Space Camp

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!

Character Building

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.

Space Camp Mission
Building character through missions

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.

Promotes Fitness

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.

Space Camp Activity
Fitness combined with problem solving and team work

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 his second AP Physics class!

Mission Control
Real World Math, Science, and Technology at Space Camp’s Mission Control

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!

Celebrating Advance Space Academy graduation

Mission Accomplished!

U.S. Space & Rocket Center
One Tranquility Base
Huntsville, AL 35805

Does Space Camp interest your child (or yourself)? Let us know in the comments below!

Kimberly LaPaglia

Kimberly shared her passion for Disney when she was selected for the inaugural Walt Disney World Moms Panel and then as the first Disney Cruise Line panelist. As a Disney Mom, she helped countless families plan their own dream-filled journeys. Blending her love for research, travel, and writing, Kim has been an editor for Disney Food Blog for nearly 8 years. At The Castle Concierge, she blogs about travel, parenting, celebrations, and the road to empty nesting.

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14 thoughts on “Ten Benefits to Sending Your Child to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama

  1. Very interesting. I am two of my kids to this summer space camp. One for Space Academy, the other for Robotics Academy. They are already in boarding private high schools in Nigeria, I believe the camping will be normal to them. They are cry excited to attend, and it will be a memorable experience. Thanks for sharing this as it re-enforces my objective.

  2. My daughter started asking about space camp last year. This year we have decided to let her go. She is looking forward to going this summer.

  3. My son is just 10, but has said he wants to be a rocket engineer since he was 2. I really want him to go to space camp, but have no clue how we could afford it….are there any ways to get help with the cost?

  4. I take Visually Impaired students to Space Camp each year. It’s called Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students or SCIVIS. It happens every September. It teaches empowerment and independence to our campers as well as all the benefits listed above! The Visually Impaired and blind students do the same activities as the regular campers. The only difference is their materials are provided in large print or Braille. As a VI teacher/chaperone, I help put Braille on all the simulators and assist the trainers as needed. It’s amazing to see what our students can accomplish when they attend Space Camp!

    1. Jean, I’m absolutely inspired by your Visually Impaired students and I can’t wait to share your comment with Nic. I can only imagine how amazing it is to see their accomplishments! Thank you for the time that you give to these kids. My husband is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Adjunct Professor specializing in Autism so our family knows how wonderful it is to help kids. Last year at Space Camp, Nic roomed with a Hearing Impaired child, which was another rewarding experience for him. Thank you for sharing the firsthand benefits that you’ve witnessed at Space Camp — Empowerment and Independence!

  5. Hi Kimberly, I am the director of communications at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, home to Space Camp. I wanted to thank you for such a great piece on our program. You captured perfectly what Space Camp is all about! Please keep in touch and let us know the great things I know Nic is going to go on to do. Who knows, he may be on that Space Camp Hall of Fame wall one day! By the way, be watching for the release of “The Mars Generation” this spring on Netflix. This documentary about going to Mars focuses on Space Camp kids and their dreams. It just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past weekend, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it!

    1. Hi Patricia, It’s wonderful to hear from you. I’ll definitely keep in touch. Nic is in 11th grade and currently looking at aerospace schools. We’ve toured a bunch of them already: Auburn, Huntsville, Purdue, FIT, etc. He plans on doing his own review of Space Camp soon. And if his schedule allows, I’m sure he’ll be back to Space Camp soon. We’re also overdue for a visit to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. We love spending a day there, especially with Nic reminiscing about his Space Camp adventures. We are so excited about “The Mars Generation”!! So inspiring. I once heard Nic say to an engineering professor that the reason he wants to study aerospace is to “help our generation get to Mars”. Wow!!

  6. Thanks for the wonderful post! Our son too has been wanting to be a space engineer since a very young age. He is begging to attend the MACH 1 camp this summer, however he will only be 9 years old and has never been away from home for more than one night for a sleep over party. We are not local, so I would be flying him to AL to attend the camp. I realize that Nic is much older, but did he have any interactions with the younger kids? Were they all bunked together? If so, what are his thoughts on a 9 year old attending the program? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sis. I’m so excited for your son! It’s truly amazing to watch our children follow their passions. The kids are bunked in similar age groups so your son would be bunking with peers his age (9-11, I think). As a mom, I was impressed by the organization. I witnessed kids arriving on the “camp van” where they had been met at the airport.

      Nic says that he didn’t have much interaction with the younger kids as they all stay in their age groups. The kids were bunked in rooms with similar aged kids. Some of the kids in your room will be the same kids in your “team” for the week. Nic suggests that if your son had an easy time at the sleepover that he would do okay at Space Camp. Nic says that they keep you so busy during the day and that the activities are so engaging and fun that there’s little time to be homesick during the day. At night, the kids are usually exhausted. Nic first traveled on an airplane by himself in 5th grade. That experience alone has made him very independent. Your son would meet his team mates the first day so that he would be making friends right away. Hope this helps! Keep us posted!!

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