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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

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Frank M.7

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Rita B.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

John C.16

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

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