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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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Board Member

Rating: 5

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..

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Emily70

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

Frank18

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This camp truly makes science and engineering come alive. Between the behind the scenes tours of the NASA base and the robotics and rocketry programs the campers are having so much fun they have no idea they’re learning. The staff is knowledgeable and always eager to do whatever they can to make sure the kids are safe, learning and above all having fun.

Donor

Rating: 5

I sent my grandson to the academy last and I could see how much he learned and enjoyed the experience. He will be returning this year.

I also gained great respect foe the Executive Director and the staff. I have the desire to become involved in helping in whatever way I can.

Ginger R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son came to the Virginia Space Flight Academy for the first time last summer and had so much fun he is a returning camper this coming year. He had the best time and he said that the counselors were wonderful. Thanks for this great opportunity for kids to learn about space flight, rocketry and exploration.

holm15es

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization that encourages young people to learn more about robotics and rocketry, which includes the STEM initiatives. Their summer Camp is well run with knowledgeable staff. There are daily field trips to appreciate the "behind the scenes" look at NASA, US Navy, NOAA, and others. Brain-Stretching Fun is the tag-line, and it is just that.