If any of you have a kid who is 11-16 and a space / rocket nut, I highly recommend the Virginia Space Flight Academy summer camp at Wallops Island (near Chincoteague). They offer a one-week sleepaway camp that my son tried last summer and absolutely loved. It was a bit of a leap of faith for us because we did not have a personal recommendation, but it was everything and more that they promised. At drop-off and pick-up, we met many families who had traveled farther than us, and were coming back year after year.
The idea is that the kids spend the week doing hands-on aeronautics activities, like building and launching model rockets and/or robotics. Then they also tour the fascinating facilities around there and hear from professionals in the field. So they tour the launch pad and launch control at Wallops, as well as the assembly area for the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket. They also tour the NOAA facility where weather balloons are launched every day. They go to the Navy's Surface Combat System Center, too.
The kids sleep similar to a college setting - they have three to each room, with a counselor on each hallway of 12 kids. They use nice tour buses to travel to field trips, and they eat at the NASA cafeteria and local restaurants. My son said the food was good.
Overall it was a fantastic camp, and my son plans to return!
I had the privilege of attending the camp as a camper for 7 years and now a counselor for one. I have to say that the behind the scenes work done in order to achieve the result the camper experience is perfectly organized by Ms.Hellen and Mr.Dean giving the counselors the ability to really focus on the kids. In addition all the fun I had as a camper is just that much better when I have seen all the work and passion put into planning and executing activities like tours and the classroom experience.
I have attended this camp for 6 years now and have loved it every year I am 16 now and hope to become a counselor. i was also surprised to hear we are the only annual camp that is able to tour working NASA facility. We are able to build a robot this year and we fought them against each other and i decided to build a wall using 12 motors and 3 cores. Overall the counselors are fun to be around all week making the camp even better than it already is. Also the camp is able to keep the tours we take informational and fun
Through friends and family living on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, I know of the great work this organization does for young people. Its about education in the Sciences and the opportunity for young people to work together as a group which builds character. This is a wonderful program to inspire young people to see a world with limitless possibilities.
Annie McShane, Delaware
Out of this world !
My son attended for 6 years. He looked forward to all the different adventures they did -making and launching rockets - robotics - visiting NASA, live video chat with the astronauts in space.
He has made friends for a lifetime. One year they visited NASA and saw a rocket that was actually launched into space. Another year one of the campers Alyssa Carson he became friends will be the youngest woman astronauts to go into space. Campers come from all over the world. The counselors, staff, and employees and military from NASA share their experiences as well.
This past summer he returned as a camp counselor. Through his experiences he is now studying to be an aerospace engineer.
Big thank you to Helen for all she has done to make the program an experience of a lifetime for all the campers!
Enthusiasm for developing students in STEM shines through in every aspect of this camp. It is wonderfully run, and a great opportunity to be apart of, whether you are a camper or a staffer.
The Virginia Space Flight Academy. Director and Fruitland Community Center, Inc, Director have been working together for two years now to bring STEM education to our community. VSFA lends their expertise to help FCC students learn about rocketry, drones and coding. It's fun and interactive. Together, we are reaching at risk youth to inspire them to become part of the next generation of a locally based space workforce.
My experience as a counselor was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed every moment of it learning about new information along with the campers about NASA and MARS that I did not know. After my time as I counselor I talked to my internship coordinator at my community college to intern at NASA. I was an intern for about a year and a few months later I got hired on full-time in the IT department. When I was a counselor I was able to see a lot of different buildings on the base that helped me when I received my internship because I was familiar with the areas and the different employees I met during my counselor position. It was a wonderful opportunity and I am blessed I was able to be a part of the Virginia Space Flight Academy.
This camp is unique among “space camps”. It’s physically adjacent to Wallops Flight Facility (an operational NASA installation), and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (a commercial spaceport). Campers, in addition to their fun, mind-stretching, hands-on activities, get to visit these facilities, observe operations, and interact with technicians, engineers and scientists. This emphatically demonstrates to them the broad range of space related careers available excites campers with varied interests, and generates their highly positive evaluations. Campers also often get to witness rocket and balloon launches, as well as unique research aircraft and unmanned drones conducting operations from Wallops.
A testament to the appeal and value of their camp experience is the return of campers in subsequent years, with some even becoming camp counselors during their college years.
This is my son Jacob's 3rd year at the Virginia Space Flight Academy camp. He always enjoys building and launching the rockets, the tours and extracurricular activities. He has made friends from different areas that he stay in touch with. The administration and staff are wonderful to deal with. Jacob is looking forward to camp 2020.
My son went to the Virginia Space Flight Academy for the first time this summer had an absolute blast! He learned a lot and there was so much to do every day. He made wonderful memories and I absolutely recommend this camp to any child that wants to learn more about space. The counselors was all nice and we received a phone call every night from our camper which was a nice surprise as electronics are not allowed. My daughter is only 9 but can't wait to go to this camp when she is older. We love this nonprofit organization!
GREAT EXPERIENCE thanks to GREAT PEOPLE, coordinators and counselors! First time away from home without parents for extended time, our son (David) gave it a 10 out of 10 (he's 11). He learned about assembly of the rockets and dynamic balancing components. He built his own model rocket and launched it. The group did tours of the local NASA facility, visited an actual launch pad and spoke with aerospace engineers in a small setting. The night time activities, including meals at different area restaurants left no idle time . He was busy from 7:30am - 9pm, and really enjoyed!!!!
This is a great program for kids interested in rocketry, robotics, space, and NASA. My son attended for the first time this year. He is 13 and has high functioning autism. His school had a robotics team this past year that he joined and did really well in so his coach recommended the space flight academy to us. He had also built and launched some model rockets with his grandfather in the past and has a general interest in space and engineering. We were very nervous about sending him since he, though very high functioning, is on the spectrum. He had never stayed anywhere without an immediate family member before. But he did great! The camp staff was great with him and everything was very well organized. We stayed nearby for the week just in case there were any problems and we even popped in a couple of times when there were activities scheduled and our son was having a blast! They learn a lot, make new friends, get to see a ton of really cool stuff, and do a lot of fun activities. This was a great experience for him and he is looking forward to coming back next year!
This past summer my son was employed by the Virginia Space Flight Academy. He served in an administrative role and helped with documenting the activities of the camp attendees. It was a great experience for him and was always eager to share stories of the day. The leadership and direction of Helen was key in making his job a success. I would recommend working at the VSFA for anyone interested in technology.
As the Camp Director, I have ran this camp for 2 years. Every camp, I have always been impressed with the quality of campers that attend. If your child is interested in STEM (Robotics, Astronomy, Coding, Rocketry) consider this camp. In addition to the curriculum, the campers get to meet other kids that share the same interest and passion. Watching the campers form friendships through the sharing of their knowledge and experience makes running this camp a worth while effort and joy.
My daughter went to Virginia Space Flight Academy for the first time this summer. She had the best time that she has ever had! Learning about rockets, robots, drones, astronomy, and ardunio coding was more in depth and more fun than any of of us had expected! What a professional and well run organization! I cannot say enough about it. My daughter is ready to visit again next summer.
Finishing up my second year at the Virginia Space Flight Academy, I am left with nothing but great memories. Not only are the activities in the rocketry camp fun and engaging, but the other students and I were able too see everything that we were doing on a much larger scale through NASA tours. I had an absolute blast (no pun intended) while making and launching my rocket. The excitement i have felt in this camp has not been exceeded in any camp and I feel great accomplishment and pride as well. This is what truly sets this camp apart, everyone is left with a feeling of satisfaction unmet by any other camp. There are so many wonderful experiences such as a live interview with an interview with an astronaut on the ISS (enclosed in this review is the question I asked). Not only did this make my summer exceptional, but it puts all the campers in a position for success in life with many wonderful things to include on an aerospace resume. Overall, this is one of the most exciting camps I have been to, and it was most definitely worth a 6 hour flight from Washington State!
i am now ending VSFA and it was amazing. this year I got to build a 2 stage rocket and it was great and i got to not even launch it but also not see it explode. i also built a 1 stage with Marco. it was the best rocket i built. its great to not build a rocket from a kit but to build it with freedom.
I came to VSFA advanced camp last year however returning this year was a new and exciting experience yet again just as the year before. While we did visit some of the same locations we got new information and saw how much changed in just a year; it was truly eye-opening how things changes in the industry, and how much of an impact we can make in our future. The rocketry aspects changed significantly allowing me to have a new invigorating and exciting experience with it. The campers here were mostly new to me so I was able to make new friends and some of my old friends from last year remained along with me. The councilors were quite energetic for this being the last week and many of them were very personable. Many of the councilors from last year were gone however the new ones were just as quality as before (In particular Madi and Gretchen). The most exciting part of the week started before camp even did; we were asked to submit questions for a down-link from the International Space Station (ISS). I asked a total of three questions beforehand which were then vetted by NASA and one of mine was selected!!! I got to ask a question to the Commander of the ISS! Currently I live abroad but still it was worth the trip because it is always an experience I will never forget.
I came to camp not really wanting to go because of my past experience with this camp but when I put my stuff down into the dorm, I immediately made a friend. This week I have made a lot of friends and I have learned so much cool stuff regarding robotics and NASA in general. I have even considered changing what I want to be when I grow up to a scientist-doctor to a space-scientist-doctor. I just have to appreciate how much work the counselors have done for this program to work. The counselors Maddie and Jake have been slaving at this with just about no break for three weeks. I really love and appreciate the effort that they have put into trying to make the curriculum as best as possible for the campers. Okay, so the tours that we have been doing all week are the same tours that we did last year when I came to camp and I would really appreciate to not have to repeat the same tours every year I come here, seeing as I plan to come here until I no longer fit the age requirements. It isn't really a big deal, but I do have to say that I wish that there was some variety to the tours, rather than having the same tours every year. I suggest splitting the tours up into an A-B schedule, with the schedule switching every year from A to B and vice versa. I feel that doing this would make the whole camp a better experience in total. The time between the activities and the quiet time back at the dorms is well balanced and I can say I very much appreciate this, with me needing a break from social situations once in a while. Overall, I was not expecting to have an amazing time this year, because I was comparing it to last year but, still, I have a wonderful time this week and I am planning to come back next year.
I have now attended VSFA's space camp two years in a row an both have been memorable experiences. My first year was an absolute blast and I particularly loved the robotics competition which our team won. There were multitudes of of hands on activities and we were kept busy and entertained. My second year was also fun but I had some issues. The food at lunch isn't great and after a week the grease can make you feel a little funny. I also wish that they let us go to sleep earlier because most nights ended at eleven even though they didn't have to. The robotics program this year was not what I expected. The thinsats we tried to use were finicky and incapable of accurate data collection. We were also only able to use party balloons which were not able to lift the thinsats very high. I want to make it clear though that the staff is fantastic and they tried so hard to get the sats working for us. I also had the opportunity to participate in a live ISS downlink at the NASA Wallops visitor center. That was an incredible experience to be sure and it is the reason this review reads three stars instead of two. Maybe i'm just not a sleep away camp person but I could go either way on this camp.
What an amazing week for my daughter who will be entering the 8ith grade this fall. To date she's been one of the only girls on the LEGO Robotics team at her school, and she really wanted to explore and learn more, especially coding. This camp proved to be beyond what we had expected. Not only did she learn more about Robotics and Coding, she also explored Rockets and Drones, as well as tours of NASA and NOAA. Evenings were topped off with fun adventures and local culture. This really was everything I had hoped it would be. She hasn't stopped talking about all the fun she's had or the friends she's made. Next summer can't come soon enough for her.
After, attending camp at only age 11 my son came back home wanting to be an Aerospace Engineer. He loves the tours and hands on experiences the camp has to offer. This year his love for rocketry grew. I felt extremely confident and safe with the staff and camp leaving him there for the week with a group of new friends. He was sad to leave them at pickup. The graduation ceremony is A+, just like everything the camp does. My son has been to this camp two times and can't wait to go back next year!
High recommendations!!! I was very careful when deciding on when and where to send my only 13 year old son. He enrolled this summer in the camp with a friend from home. They had so much fun, but what I was amazed with is how much he learned! He wants to return next year. Both families felt that the program was a fine tuned machine. We felt that the boys were in a safe environment. He was NEVER bored even though he had no electronics for a week! I was amazed at the organization of the check in and check out procedures. I own a business and I really felt that this camp deserves to be recognized for the great work they are doing in getting kids involved in the STEM areas of rocketry and robotics!
The Virginia Space Flight Academy is a great summer camp. We get to go on the Wallops Island Flight Facility. We get to go on lots of tours around each facility and work hands on with lots of cool things including robotics and rocketry.
Virginia Space Flight Academy is a great nonprofit. It is run and maintained by a group of very nice people. Virginia Space gave me an experience i otherwise would not have had. We got to build rockets. We toured parts of the NASA that would otherwise be restricted. there were some serious times but we still had fun. The staff were very laid back. We got to ask questions with people who have worked for NASA. we got to go on the NASA base every day. We went to the Navy clubhouse and had a BBQ. We had a blast. i would recommend this to any kid who wants to work with technology in their future .
I came here thinking that this program would be the same as Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. It turns out that the two programs were different, but in a good way. They were different in a way that covered a large area of jobs and opportunities that the space industry provides. This program focused more on the technical sides with rocketry and robotics. It was nice to see that there are so many things to do that aren't just being an astronaut or astronomer. I do have to say that Stephen is my favorite counselor. This was my first year at this camp, and I loved it. I would definitely recommend this camp to others, and I would come back next year and maybe the next, too.
A really good thing that this camp has is good counselors. They are really easy to work with and they all have fun personalities. Thanks for the opportunity.
i liked being able to make and test rockets and also being able to tour a lot of places in NASA and going to the visitors center. we fit a lot of tours and activities into the week and we went to dinner at different places every night which was really fun also when we did the simple machines project we worked with the people we shared a room with at night which was good because we had already known each other a little bit but it was a good way to work together on it. Stephen was my favorite counselor and Davis because they were fun. we got talked to by a lot of people who work here and i thought it was cool how they did the testing where you go into the space suit and have to see how long you can be in it (i think its called a stress test) a bad thing was that we couldn't have phones but it was a really fun week and i would recommend it to people who are interested in space and who want to work at NASA or fly planes.
The Virginia Space Flight Academy is absolutely the best camp experience my 13 year old son has ever had. The entire organization is professionally run, with staff that is of the highest quality and dedication. Real mentors through and through. Not a typical science camp - the VA Space Flight Academy provides a challenging, mind blowing week of enrichment. Truly hands on - they build multiple rockets and robots each and every day, with interesting additional challenges. The partnership with NASA, NOAA, and the Navy gives campers the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn directly from the professionals and see how their learning is applied. Inspiring the next generation of innovators - that's central to their mission, and definitely had that effect on my child. Many thanks - we will be back!
My 12 year-old son attended the camp this summer and had an incredible and transformative experience! He still can't stop talking about seeing the rocket launch, and seeing the hangar where they build the rockets. He really liked the counselors and the program. He is now talking about how he can get an internship down there when he is in college! Unique and impressive program.
My 11 year old daughter attended VSFA this year. This was her first ever experience at any type of camp, let alone a sleep away camp. As her mom, I was nervous about all the usual things: would she be safe? would she have fun? would my picky eater find food she liked? would she get along with roommates? did we pack the right/enough stuff, would she get enough sleep? My daughter on the other hand, was not nervous at all. She was so excited to go.
Turns out, I had no reason to worry. She had an absolute BLAST at space camp. She made great friends, she thought the counselors/staff were all incredible, and she loved all the great lesson, activities, and fun evening adventures. She is already planning to return next year and every year after.
One of my daughter's comments really stuck with me. On our ride home, she said one of the best things about VSFA "was being with other girls who are into what I am." It is wonderful to see a group of young ladies interested in space, robotics, and rocketry able to get involved in such great lessons and hands on activities.
Thank you VSFA for providing such a great experience for my daughter.
Cherry Hill, NJ
My 13 year old son absolutely loved every thing about his first experience at VSFA. He has already stated he wants to attend next year. His only complaint (which is not a complaint at all), more robotics. Thank you to the amazing organizers, donors and staff that make this camp possible for my son and all children that get excited about what VSFA has to offer.
As someone who has never gone to an overnight, week-long summer camp before, VSFA was an incredible experience that I will not soon forget. Not only was the food and dorm rooms terrific, the tours that were arranged were fantastic and thoughtful. As someone who always dreamed of standing on a launch pad while listening to a NASA worker explain how much they love their job, that dream is now a reality. The engineering activities that the campers had to do (such as building a crane to lift a box) made us think about every possible way to achieve our goal. The counselors truly enjoyed working at VSFA and were more than willing to help the campers whenever their aid was needed. You could tell they were passionate about and well educated in the topics they talked about. Even though I was worried about being away from what was 'normal' to me for six days, it pained me to leave camp Friday afternoon. On the drive back home, I reflected on the week I just had. Leaving VSFA, I now have a deep interest in robotics and a thirst for more knowledge on aerospace. I look forward to (hopefully) being able to return to Virginia Space Flight Academy next year to participate in the Advanced Robotics Camp. If I could rate more than five stars, I definitely would. (Pictures are from the VSFA facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Virginia-Space-Flight-Academy-209660522459582/ )
My son enjoyed being a camper for several years, and this year returned as a counselor. VSFA is a wonderful program for STEM-interested students, and provides several levels of activity for different ages. My husband and I are so glad that our son has had the privilege of being involved as both a camper and counselor.
For the past twelve years we have supported the Virginia Space Flight Academy by donating the cost of tuition for one camper. In recent years, the VSFA has "spread the wealth" by splitting the donation so that more campers can attend. When a camper provides half the tuition, with the other half coming from a donation, that is a clear indication of how serious the camper is about learning more about rocketry as well as the worth of attending VSFA. We are proud to have been affiliated with the Virginia Space Flight Academy, especially as we've watched it grow in offerings and popularity over these twelve years.
This is a wonderful camp for kids aged 11-15 with a focus on rocketry and robotics. Hands on experience combined with fun activities located near NASA's Wallops Island facility and Assateague Island, VA.
This camp is an excellent opportunity for kids who are interested in math, science and space exploration to get together and share their interests. They can meet campers from all over the country who have like interests and can share ideas and learn to work together as a team. They have the occasion to meet with engineers, aviators and scientists who work on projects for NASA, Navy and HIF. It's a chance of a liketime!
This camp was amazing! Our son attended and had an incredible time. So much so, he still talks about it four months later! There was a wide variety of activities giving him great exposure to the many aspects of space flight. The staff was wonderful---very enthusiastic and welcoming to such a variety of campers. We cannot say enough about them and their willingness to make this such a worthwhile experience for all attending. Five stars!
As a board member for the past 5 years, I am awed at every weekly graduation as I watch and listen to these young students....hopefully future engineers and rocket scientists....deliver their presentations. I see excitement and pride as these youngsters talk about the week's experiences. Where else can they spend a week with such exposure to NASA's machine shop, rocket launching areas, the flight control room, the Navy's special operations areas, and more?!This is a terrific immersion for any young student interested In STEM studies....and it's not all studies! There's light-hearted fun time built into the program, too. Just a terrific program that grows every year!
I was lucky enough to have my son attend the camp this year and we travelled all the way from Australia. To say that he had a wonderful time is am absolute understatement.
Everybody form the facilitators to the counsellors and kids were all sensational.
The week has opened up a totally new world of learning and motivation that has continued on well after the camp finished.
My goal is to able to get him back for more camps in the future.
This is an outstanding co-ed residential camp for 11-16 year olds. The programs have expanded with new technology including a 3D printer. A program is only as good as the operations running it and the operation of this program/camp is smooth running. Counselors are chosen with great care and are trained well for many different situations.
My son went to this camp Summer 2015 and the Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama Summer 2016. When I picked him up form the camp in Alabama, he said that at least this camp didn't have any horse flies like Wallops Island. Since bugs attack him in a crowd, this was good. But, he didn't talk about friends he had made like his Wallops Island experience. There is something about this camp's structure of interaction between the campers that is unique.
In Alabama, he shared a room with 6 other campers. The staff kept them busy until lights-out. Most of his roommates were in other groups and he didn't interact with them all day. The one in his room didn't have similar interests. He didn't come home talking about any friendships he made. All in all, he enjoyed the Virginia Space Flight Academy more.
I don't know if it's the way Space Academy groups the kids to sleep/eat, gives them some time off to play cards at night, or the off base field trip to just get ice cream that fostered comrodery to grow, but your staff did a great job.
If you are reading this, don't get me wrong- it IS full of rockets and robots, pizza and computers. He did mature a little and grow a little more independent. I would highly recommend this camp.
My son had the time of his life. I was worried at first because he never spent a night away from home. My fourteen year old didn't want to leave space camp. As soon as he got in the car, he told me that we needed to start working on him coming back next year. You can't ask for a better confirmation of the quality experience this bought to his life. I was overjoyed by the caring staff. They engaged my son's mind to flourish the possibilities of his abilities by understanding and application. Ultimate experience, friendly-safe staff, five stars all the way.
This organization is truly an amazing one! It helps our young people discover the wonders of space exploration and science in general. The staff and volunteers were excellent. My son diagnosed in the high functioning autism spectrum was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from the Navy and this non-profit. It was such a great program in helping him realize his passion for weather science and robotics. The staff and volunteers where wonderful in guiding him - help him be with peers of his age in an overnight situation for the first time! I believe that the entire experience for my son will help shape him for the rest of his life and I owe VSFA a big thank you for providing him with such a positive experience and opportunity. Definitely a recommend for all aspiring young minds!
My brother and I had the privilege of attending Virginia Space Flight Academy's Summer Camp this July and sincerely enjoyed it. Not only were we able to build and experiment with rockets and robots, but we also were given wonderful tours of an operational NASA facility. In addition to that, we heard from fantastic speakers and had exciting downtime activities. All in all, the VSFA does a superb job with its camps. Thank You!
The Virginia Space Flight Academy is a wonderful program. My 12 year old son spent a week at the academy this summer and had the time of his life. The program is run exceptionally well and the kids are engaged and gaining both knowledge and hands on experience. My son learned so much from the program and the councilors and furthered his interest in the sciences. I truly hope that this program continues in the future and that I will be able to send him again in a few years with the older group of young adults.
As a donor, we are proud of how the Academy conducts its camps, and pleased with the excitement level that the attendees display. Yes, it's clear they had fun, but it's also clear they have been exposed to opportunities and interests that may introduce them to a career path beyond their imagination. Much of what they experience simply isn't on display or available elsewhere.
I was really impressed with the opportunities shown to these kids in a short period of time. It was wonderful to see the excitement and awe that translated from their on-site visits to the hands on experiences. Moreover, I saw the counselors engaging ALL of the kids - not just the ones who already knew how to interact well. The Virginia Space Flight Academy demonstrated a genuine interest in helping young people connect the dots to their possible futures, providing inspiration, camaraderie and challenge.
Virginia Space Flight Academy encourages STEM development through robotics, rocketry, flying Unmanned Aerial Systems, and more! The location takes advantage of its proximity to NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport by providing "behind-the-scenes" tours. Opportunities abound for camp participants to interact and learn from engineers working on cutting edge aerospace initiatives and launch facilities. The professional staff work hard to ensure each top notch session is fun, friendly and encourages campers to develop a lifelong interest in science and technology.
For the past 2 summers, Jenks Academy for the Arts and Sciences in Philadelphia has sent a students to VSFA. It has been an incredible experience for the students. They come back to school and share experiments and experiences with the larger student body. It is without a doubt a life changing week for our students!
As the summer camp Director of the Virginia Space Flight Academy I want to thank all of the parents and participants who have written positive reviews of our fine facility. Although parents grade us here based on the positive comments made by their child, it is the program that speaks for itself. What makes us unique is the access our participants have to a true NASA facility. Daily NASA briefings are given to our participants that focus on the research and achievements made by NASA almost daily. No other space themed camp offers the opportunity to witness the building of a real rocket, the testing of its components and the opportunity to stand yards away from a launch. We our give participants the opportunity to come face-to-face with the engineers who design, test, build the rockets. NASA pilots who fly the aircraft that do the groundbreaking research important to our everyday lives give tours of the specialized aircraft stationed at Wallops. Participants visit the NOAA or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and participate in weather balloon launches. Visiting a working launch control center and walking on a real launch pad are activities unique only to the Virginia Space Flight Academy. When something extraordinary is happening at the NASA Wallops Space Flight Facility, the participants get a front row seat. No other space camp provides these memorable opportunities.
As a professional educator, I fully appreciate that the participants of our camp get an extra bonus in participating in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) activities. They participate in NASA engineering challenges, build rockets, build robots, fly drones and star gazing that not only enhance their education but promotes teamwork and comradery.
The setting of our facility is within an educational compound with dorm style housing. Sleeping arrangements are done by segregating the ages and gender. Counselors are always there to supervise and advise twenty four hours.
Because we strongly support our community, we use local businesses as vendors for our sustenance and activities that our young people enjoy so much.
The Virginia Space Flight Academy offers a truly unique experience for ages 11 to 17. Our participants have testified about the fun and fellowship they have at our facility. One camper I met said it best, "If you don't have fun here, it's your own fault".
George P. Fatolitis, PhD (ebd)
Director Virginia Space Flight Academy
My son did not want to attend. Before the camp was over; and for a week, he talked non stop. He was thrilled to have attended, and wants to go back. He has dreams of being a counselor some year at Wallops. Robotics is his favorite field, but the fun and opportunities were endless. He enjoyed the field trips, whether it be the beach, or the mission tower. He has memories and a deeper desire to pursue a career in the technology field. This is the first time he has wanted to attend college, and knows where he wants to go. See you in 2016.
My two sons attended VSFA this summer and had a great time. Both went at different intervals. Depending on timing, one of them got to see a live launch of a suborbital rocket! He had much to relay when he got back home. The program is geared towards STEM. VSFA offers a great opportunity for kids having interest in the sciences and robotics, or even for kids thinking about this this field. They are able to express their interest through their work. The tours and hands on application allowed my kids to comprehend more in depth of robotics and rocketry. My daughter is eagerly anticipating to attend the upcoming camp as she will meet the age requirement.
My Son attend the VSFA this summer and loved every minute of it. He learned basic rocketry and robotics, toured a NASA facility and in short learned that science can be a whole lot of fun as well as educational. We intend to sigh him up for the advance camp this coming summer.
My twin sons attended Virginia Space Flight Academy this past summer and had a blast. They learned a great deal and had a terrific time doing so. They loved meeting fellow campers from all over the country, worked with great counselors, and thoroughly enjoyed learning robotics, building and flying rockets, and working with drones. In an era when STEM education is so critically important to our future, this camp experience has shown my sons that STEM is exciting and fun- and both now plan to be engineers. I could not have wished for more!
As the former Executive Director ( 8 years ) and present Treasurer and Board Member, I am very prejudiced, however, the numbers speak for themselves: 17 years of operation, 2,500+ students and overwhelming positive reviews from students and their parents! I know of no other camp in the United States that offers guided tours of operational NASA, NOAA, Navy and Orbital ATK operational facilities, including NASA's machine shop, payload processing facility, fire department, range control center, NOAA's data acquisition center, Navy Aegis training center, MARS ( Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport ) launch pads, and Orbital ATK's HIF ( horizontal integration facility ) where students view the Antares rocket that is used to resupply the International Space Station , all while having fun building robots and launching model rockets. . We have hosted students from Washington state to Maine to Florida as well as international students from France, Russia, India and South Korea to name a few. Our major objective is to expose young students to the exciting opportunities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) principals in a fun environment..
My daughter has attended this camp twice and my son once. They both enjoyed it immensely. The program is geared around STEM/STEAM activities. They are looking forward to attending again!
My child attended this camp. First, I have to say that the camp's website is a little misleading. I was under the impression that my kid would be spending a considerable amount of time on the NASA facility. In fact, there was very little talk about space until the third day of a 5 day camp. There were astrological events taking place this week with multiple plants visible and aligned at night. This camp has no telescopes and really didn't even take the kids out to look at the stars. There is a little too wide of an age range with kids from 11-15. This is two entirely different maturity levels. Some of the rocketry equipment is designed for 7 year olds, not 11-15 year olds. The food was less than expected as some meals were lasagna take-out from a local diner. I'm sure this camp works fine for parents that just want to ship their kid off for a few days, but kids that have a real interest in space will be sorely disappointed. The counselors aren't trained to deal with home sickness as our kid called every day, begging us to come bring him home. There was a little more bullying that I expected with our kid having to stick up for a fellow camper with some type of developmental issue that was being physically bullied. If your child is truly interested in space, make the trip to Huntsville to the real space camp.
I'm proud to have served on the VSFA Board of Directors since its inception, sixteen years ago. As a result of tireless efforts by the board, Executive Director and staff, hundreds of young people have been exposed to the real-life environment of engineering and science. Our students are at what most believe to be the optimal age to become stimulated to pursue education and careers in the STEM disciplines, and I believe that there are many engineers, technicians and scientists now applying their knowledge in public and private sector jobs, who may not have had the desire or initiative without VSFA.
This experience was amazing for my daughter! Science and technology become accessible to those not 100% confident in this arena while challenge the students who are already fully geeking out. She was inspired. I recommended it for anyone, the counselors are top-notch the management and camp administration seamless. As her first overnight camp experience I was prepared for homesick calls and a start and got the absolute opposite. We are going back!
As a parent of daughter who is not particularly intersted in science related actiites, I must say that we were very pleased with her summer experience with the VA Space Flight Academy. She enjoyed the interaction with peers (gender and ethnicity) that she encountered and loved the counselors. She even came away with an increasd interst in science and robotics, which was truly a plus. I encourage parents to give very serious consideration to VSFA experince as a very rewarding and engaging one for students.
I attended Virginia Space Flight Academy as a camper for four years, every year 2009-2012. Every single year was an amazing experience. The staff are the best of any summer camp/event I've been to, the facilities are optimal, and the learning is enormous. During my time there, I learned basic rocketry and robotics, toured multiple NASA and US Navy facilities (most of which are NOT easily available to the general public-if they are at all), including the closed-to-public AEGIS facility, the Horizontal Integration Facility (which is where new and large rockets are assembled before launch), the NOAA Information handling station (where every NOAA weather satellite sends its data), the NASA-run Wallops Airfield/Fire and Rescue station, and the Control Room of Wallops Flight Facility/Goddard Space Flight Center. There is also fun social activities during the evening time; Mini Golf and Ice Cream on Chincoteague, a beach trip to Assateauge, and many an hour spent relaxing and socializing with the other campers. This camp is unbeatable.
My son attended the Virginia Space Flight Academy last month, and had a wonderful, educational experience with like-minded young scientists. The program is run very efficiently. It was easy for me to sign up my son for camp online, provide the required forms, and receive confirmation. Nancy Marasco followed up with several personal emails, which left me feeling very comfortable with leaving my son in her capable hands. We were also put at ease with the ice cream social that kicked-off the week, and the awards ceremony at the conclusion. My son, who has high-functioning autism, was accommodated for his disability very well. He had so much fun at camp, enjoyed all the outings with NASA, and came back with quite a bit of knowledge about rocketry and robotics. We watched the LADEE rocket take off in the eastern sky this past Friday, and my son was able to tell me all about the different stages we were witnessing. This camp was GREAT!
The Virginia Space Flight Academy offers an in-depth introduction to rocketry and robotics, and they aren't just a camp! They also do public programs and work with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and other community organizations. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and you couldn't ask for a better setting for their programs--right at Wallops Island! Campers get to tour the NASA facility, which is a treat!
The VSFA provides a truly unique "space camp" experience that takes advantage of its location adjacent to a NASA operational launch facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport -- a commercial space access facility. Campers may get to witness a NASA or MARS rocket launch, help the U2/ER2 pilot suit up, etc. It's a BLAST! The experience demonstrates the wide variety of skills and careers associated with space -- "the final frontier" -- other than being one of a handful of astronauts.