Space Camp Benefits!

Going to camp soon? Have questions about camp? Post them here for those that have gone to answer.

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tothestarswereturn
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Space Camp Benefits!

Postby tothestarswereturn » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:43 pm

Hey folks!!

I've never been to Space Camp, but ever since I fund out about it a year ago, I've been extremely passionate about the idea of going. I submitted my scholarship application a month ago (after working on it nonstop every night for 2 moths), but I know the odds pf getting a full scholarship are pretty low (I heard 30%). If I don't get the financial aid, I could get a part time job to save up the money, but my family still thinks of the camp as more of a fun summer camp than something that's more serious.

My questions to any Alumnae are: What are the greatest benefit to camp (specifically Advanced Space Academy, which i would attend)? More specifically, what did you notice a difference in after you graduated? IS the program more academic or just a fun time to goof around with kids who like the same things as you?

I've always loved space and want to study astrodynamical engineering, but I want t honestly know if you'd recommend working to save up and go, or saving my money and maybe returning for adult camp after I'm out of high school?

Thanks so much!!
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Re: Space Camp Benefits!

Postby Hotdog » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:10 pm

Welcome to the forum!

I know what you are going through. Many moons ago, I struggled to convince my parents to send me to Space Camp. I think they were hoping my space obsession was just a phase and that I would outgrow it and move on to something else. Ha! After 3 years of waiting, I talked my dad into going with me to Huntsville to visit (lucky for me, I only lived two hours away). I think once he saw the training center, he realized how serious it was, and that Space Camp would be a good experience. So, not sure how far away you live, but if you can talk your folks into going to visit, it might help you win their support!

There's nothing wrong with getting a part-time job, either. I got my first ever part-time job for the sole purpose of going back to Space Camp, after my parents said three times was enough and would no longer pay for it. You'll be surprised how quickly you can earn the money to go. The hard part will be not spending it on other things first!

If you want to see the many benefits of Space Camp, look no further than the Space Camp Hall Of Fame https://www.spacecamp.com/halloffame. These are just a few of our alumni who have gone on to do great things, and list their experience at Space Camp as a major factor in their career path and success. If the Hall Of Fame had existed when I was your age, I would have printed this webpage of their bios out and placed it where my parents would find it. 8)

I would strongly suggest going to Space Camp while you are young. You will get so much more out of it. You will learn to work as a team with total strangers from all over the world and all walks of life. You will bond quickly, and make life-long friendships. Some people have even met their future spouses at Space Camp! I can tell you that my experiences at Camp served me well later on in college, and was a huge factor in my career path. I still tell my parents that sending me to Space Camp is the best thing they ever did for me. So don't wait until you're an adult if you want to get the most out of it for your future self!

Another reason to go while you're young: The kids camps are 6 days, and the adult camp is only 3 days. This is a huge difference!!! The three day camps are very abbreviated and condensed down. There is barely enough time to do everything, missions are shorter, and you have to rush through most of the activities. Just about the time you and your teammates start to bond and work well together, it's time to graduate and go home. Yes, adult Space Camp is fun, but you don't get the full experience in my opinion.

Going back to the benefits of Space Camp. You will feel more confident about yourself. You may overcome fears, or learn things about yourself that you never knew. You may have teammates from other cultures or countries and learn new things from them. You will gain a new appreciation for things you might have taken for granted. The memories you make will last a lifetime. You may learn things like leadership, discipline, courage, patience, problem-solving, focus... There is so much about Space Camp that's not in the brochure!

IS the program more academic or just a fun time to goof around with kids who like the same things as you?
The answer is YES! Space Camp is academic AND you will have fun and goof around! I can tell you that Space Academy and Advanced Space Academy are more academic, but there will still be plenty of non-serious moments for you and your crew.

Well I hope this is helpful. I'm sure others will chime in as well. Let us know if you have any further questions. Good luck!
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Re: Space Camp Benefits!

Postby p51 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:44 pm

Space Camp isn't as 'serious' as many think it is, in my opinion. I think it's halfway between a serious thing and a chance to go goof off with people your age.
Hotdog wrote:I would strongly suggest going to Space Camp while you are young. You will get so much more out of it. You will learn to work as a team with total strangers from all over the world and all walks of life. You will bond quickly, and make life-long friendships. Some people have even met their future spouses at Space Camp! I can tell you that my experiences at Camp served me well later on in college, and was a huge factor in my career path. I still tell my parents that sending me to Space Camp is the best thing they ever did for me. So don't wait until you're an adult if you want to get the most out of it for your future self!
I agree fully with this, as I only ever went to camp as an adult (and years after being in the military). I know for myself, having been to every domestic NASA facility there is and working alongside them twice in uniform), I loved my time at Space Camp but by then there was still a "Meh" factor that comes with being way past your youth and being tougher to impress as you are as a kid.
I'd say the ideal age would be your teen years, You're not nearly as much of a knucklehead at that age, you have more knowledge and appreciation of what you're doing.
I just so badly wish I could have gone as a kid, but we didn't have much money when I was that age and my parents were sort of over-protective and there's NO way I could have gone anywhere on my own like that, at that age (yeah, I made up for it in the Army later, though :wink: ).
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Re: Space Camp Benefits!

Postby SpaceCanada » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:31 pm

I think Hotdog summarised it well.

As a former Space Camp Scholarship recipient, I applaud you for undertaking the task. Even if you don't get the scholarship, the process of applying is very educational and rewarding in itself. I hope your efforts will result in a full or partial scholarship to attend Advanced Space Academy! If not, getting a job to pay for tuition is a great idea, and one I undertook myself as well.

I agree with others that attending Space Camp as a teenager is the best time to go. It's a great opportunity for you to be surrounded by like-minded people your age, learn more about a topic that interests you, spend every waking moment surrounded by rockets and space memorabilia, and have some fun as well. It's not all serious, all the time - there is some free time and general silliness, too - this is a camp with teenagers, after all. I would say it's more serious in the off-season, and a bit more 'fun' in the summer. Why, because some parents send their kids to Space Camp even though they have little interest in space. In the off-season, kids are taking time away from school to be there, and want to be there. (That being said, my team in the off-season has plenty of silly moments, too... but the group itself was more serious about space than the team I had in summer. My counsellors agreed that's typical. They also said it's typical for the more space-interested counsellors to stay on beyond summer.)

To answer your questions:

- The greatest benefit of camp? This is a question that varies by individual. For me, I learnt a lot about myself, enjoyed being in a community of like-minded individuals, and felt like I belonged somewhere. Coming from a small-ish community, where there weren't many other space enthusiasts, this was reassuring. I also came out with a better realisation of my strengths and weaknesses when working in a simulated group work environment, where some people are good at communication, others are more assertive, etc. I didn't realise that at the time, but as an adult, I now appreciate that unique opportunity camp gave me.

- Differences after graduation? I was more confident in myself and more comfortable being the 'space nerd' in school. I felt more confident in my choice of post-secondary education. I learnt some things at Space Camp that I was able to share at school and teach others, as well, which were useful to the lessons we were learning at the time. I also made some very good friends, some of which I still keep in touch with. Two of them even work for NASA now!

- Is the programme more academic or fun? This is a tough one, because I haven't been to a regular camp in many years. However, think of it as interactive education. This is a place where you learn by doing, interacting, and immersion. Is waking up and walking under the Pathfinder orbiter an educational experience or a fun one? It's neither, but it's inspiring on a different level. From building rockets to SCUBA diving, lectures to museum tours, and various missions; they are all a combination of education and fun. What you take away from the experience will be a result of what you bring into it. If you go to camp thinking it will be all fun in games, that's probably what you'll participate in most and that's what you'll come home with. If you go into the experience expecting academics all the time, you'll come home with a wealth of new knowledge, but may not have enjoyed yourself. It's both, so if you want something more academic, focus on that, but don't forget to enjoy the fun aspects as well.

- Going as a teen versus going as an adult? Honestly, going as a teen is the best way to experience Space Camp for the first time. I've been to youth and adult programmes and the youth ones were more influential. I went as a young adult as well, and that was a very interesting experience, as I met many brilliant people (engineers, doctors, military, etc.) that were inspiring and very dedicated, but the youth camps are still more important to me, many years later. The adult camps are typically only a weekend, and the longer Advanced programmes are only offered once or twice per year. That alone is a huge reason to attend as a youth - you have access to the best programme (week-long) for 30+ weeks out of the year!

I wish you luck with your scholarship application and endeavour to attend Advanced Space Academy. It's a brilliant programme and I think you'll truly enjoy it and get a lot out of it.
- Jennifer -
Youth ASA 6-Day 1998 1999
Adult ASA 8-Day 2004; Alumni 2007, CSC 2013, 2015, 2017
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Re: Space Camp Benefits!

Postby blachwk » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:28 pm

I think both Hotdog and SpaceCanada summarized answers to all of your questions very well.

I commend you for applying for a Space Camp scholarship and going through that process. Even if you do not receive the scholarship, just being involved with the process makes you learn about yourself and dig deep within to complete the application. If there is something you want to do bad enough such as Space Camp, you will find a way to achieve that goal.

My family could not afford to send me to Space Camp when I was growing up and were not too fond of the idea of me flying alone many states away at a young age. Eventually when I was in high school I applied for a Space Camp scholarship but did not get one. Soon after I received the rejection letter, I worked with the science teachers and arranged for a class trip to go to Space Camp along with the appropriate fund raising activities. The teachers were onboard since they knew about the movie and I tied how much we could learn along with the other promotional material from the actual space camp that I brought to class almost daily. Years later, having a family of my own, I have had the privilege of taking my oldest daughter to family space camp and will soon be going with my wife to Adult Space Academy.

I can tell you from my experiences that the programs I have been a part of were both fun and academic. I truly enjoyed meeting people from all over the world, learning about a wide range of science and technical items, as well as discovering something about myself.
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Re: Space Camp Benefits!

Postby SpaceCanada » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:32 pm

My parents sent me off to another country! It took much pleading for them to let me attend. I'm forever grateful they put trust in me to fly there alone.
- Jennifer -
Youth ASA 6-Day 1998 1999
Adult ASA 8-Day 2004; Alumni 2007, CSC 2013, 2015, 2017

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