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Virginia Space Flight Academy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: Educational camp for students

Target demographics: boys & girls aged 11-18

Direct beneficiaries per year: 146 residential campers, 120+ scouts

Geographic areas served: Wallops Island area

Programs: STEM initiatives of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through robotics and rocketry. Week long summer residential programs. Day and weekend programs for school and scouting groups.

Community Stories

57 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Advisor

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

Client Served

Rating: 3

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.

Jen M.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Ashley Quinn O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

Phuong V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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 .

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Cassandra E.
Cherry Hill, NJ

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.