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.
Our son had a long term interest in going to Space Academy. 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 Camp (he is a Space Academy and Advanced Space Academy graduate) so that he could explore his passion for space exploration. There were so many other benefits that we had not anticipated.
Take a look at these ten unexpected benefits and find out why you should send your child to Space Camp:
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 was a fun benefit. In fact, now a college student, Nic still keeps up with some of his space camp friends.
Boasting attendees from all 50 states and more than 60 foreign countries, your child will certainly 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, especially within the STEM fields.
Space Camp encouraged Nic in his future endeavors: During high school, he volunteered at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to earn hours for National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society. After graduating from high school with honors, Nic applied to many schools for aerospace engineering. He found the right fit for him at Auburn University. He is now a Senior at Auburn University with three academic scholarships. In addition to his studies at Auburn, Nic participates on the Payload Team of the Auburn University Rocket Association. During the fall season, he plays trumpet with the Auburn University Marching Band.
While at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, students see the Space Camp Alumni Wall of Fame that includes NASA and European Space Agency astronauts, engineers, scientists, and technologists. Inspiration is around every corner.
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, going to Sick Bay for regular 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 like to become a permanent resident!
In fact, Nic applied and interviewed for crew trainer/camp counselor position at Space Camp for summer 2020. While he was SO excited to receive a job offer, it understandably was rescinded due to the COVID-19 situation. HOWEVER… he interviewed again for summer 2021 and was hired. Nic worked as a Mission Control Complex Crew Trainer and Resident Advisor — living and working at Space Camp was one of Nic’s bucket list items. Space Camp continues to be a life changing experience for him.
Yes, space camp graduates never forget their experience!
Nic returned from his first Space Camp extremely proud of his accomplishments. In one particular outdoor activity, he was chosen as 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. 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”.
Creative Problem Solving
Problem solving is a task that was greatly encouraged at Space Camp. Around every turn, creative solutions were developed in order to succeed in mission control, rocket building, and other areas.
Nic has shown great determination in finding ways 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 and college, Nic greatly matured in his time management, study, and problem-solving skills. This was most apparent in his GPA, ACT scores, and difficult engineering classes.
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 value both as followers and as leaders 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 find success 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.
In high school, Nic took two AP Physics classes, Astronomy, and more. And in college, he has now taken classes such as Thermodynamics and Linear Differential Equations.
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!
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!
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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.
Yes, I believe your kids will have a memorable and rewarding experience. Safe travels!!
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.
Shawn, your daughter will love it! My son will be writing his own review of Space Camp soon. Stay tuned.
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?
Hi Natalie, It sounds like your son is already reaching for the stars! I believe that there are scholarships offered. Visit: http://www.rocketcenter.com/node/add/contactus and select Scholarships under the subject field. I would definitely inquire. 🙂
There are scholarships available, but I’m not sure of the criteria. There are a bunch of us kids at heart that go to Advanced Adult Space Academy every year or so, and there has been talk of us raising money to send a kiddo to camp. Come visit us @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/176754605866611/ and post a message about your child.
Troy, thanks for the information!
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!
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 —… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »