Welcome to Hab1!
One of the greatest lessons in life is: come as you are and be yourself; and be proud of it - and that applies to Space Camp and AC too!
I haven't been to AC, not as a kid in a full programme anyway. (Now I wish I did, as they have since done away with adult AC camps, and I have since had an experience that prevents me from going back to AC.) However, based on my limited understanding, this is just a camp, not a military academy, and meant to be fun. Some kids will take it more seriously than others, much like you probably experienced at Space Camp and Academy. Some kids will have full on combat boots and military clothing but it isn't necessary.
Again, based on my limited experience and observations, this is my advice. Someone with more experience (like Jason, LB206) can chime in with more details or correct me if I am wrong.
Boots - the packing list says an extra pair of shoes, like running shoes - something that ties tightly to your foot and has good grippy treads on the bottom, would be sufficient. Combats boots would be great, if you have them already AND worn them in properly so they don't hurt your feet. Be prepared for whatever footwear you bring to get dirty and muddy. Hiking boots would probably suffice too, though your average running shoes are perfectly acceptable.
Long pants - you just need something to cover you. Skinny jeans should be fine so long as you have full range of motion to crawl, squat, climb, and otherwise overcome obstacles in the woods. Some skinny jeans have that flexibility but some don't. You need to be free to move! Cargo pockets are nice to have too... So whilst something more relaxed with pockets may be better, skinny jeans technically would work... But I wouldn't recommend them for the E&E exercise. For every other day of camp they would be fine. I have seen photos of girls in skinny jeans at AC over the summer. However, one pair of long pants with cargo pockets would be ideal - check a local thrift store or camping outfitter store for some. (Camp used to have some they loaned out to campers if I recall, but I haven't seen them in a while - anyone have an update on that?)
I don't know which exercises are done at which camp. It never hurts to have extra shoelaces, pencils, and duct tape regardless... They have a hundred and one uses.
They give you a flight suit to borrow for camp, much like at Space Camp. How often you wear it is up to you, though your counsellors will tell you when it is absolutely required. You don't have to buy your own unless you want to take one home and wear it there. Just like at Space Camp. Most days, shorts and t-shirts are the norm.
Like I said above, military gear is optional and whilst some people will have it, it doesn't impact your experience much either way. Sure, it is cool to have that stuff at AC, much like it is to have NASA and space-themed t-shirts at Space Camp, but it isn't required. The pants with cargo pockets will come in handy though - see above.
As for the mentality of other kids, much like the camps you have been to before, it can vary from group to group and week to week. I would expect most people in attendance to have an interest in the military and flight, many wanting to become pilots, but not all. Some people will be super serious, possibly enrolled in military programmes at home, but not all, and some could very well know little about flight or military and that is why they are there: to learn more! (And there could be some kids with poor attitudes, or total jerks like that experience you had in 5the grade, but hopefully not.) Counsellors should make everyone feel welcome and part of the team regardless. (With some military-based flare of course...) You will learn drill and military skills together - they don't expect you to know it all beforehand, though you should come to camp already knowing how to make your bed, stand straight, and listen with respect... And yes, there are often other girls in the programme. I saw a team photo recently with more girls than boys!
I hope you have a super fun time, learn a lot, and make new friends. Be confident in who you are, bring everything on the CAMP-ISSUED packing list, come to camp with a positive and friendly attitude, and you will be set to have a good time. And don't take offence if you are called a smurf a few times... It was slang for the Space Camp kids when I was a kid and I suspect the term still lives on. We called the AC kids leprechauns, so it was two-way fun.
Come back here and let us know how camp was! I haven't heard much about AC recently and would love to get a full report of the current programme.
- Jennifer -
Youth ASA 6-Day 1998 1999
Adult ASA 8-Day 2004; Alumni 2007, CSC 2013, 2015, 2017