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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

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/ )

Melissa339

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 4

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Adam65

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Inspiring week.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

1 George P F.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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
Professional Educator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.