Space Camp 2011: An International Experience

“Through these doors enter the next generation of scientists engineers and astronauts.” This is the motto of Space Camp, and it is only too true as Space Camp helps to excite my generation, the Mars Generation to keep moving ahead towards the future of space. Last week I attended Space Camp for a second time. I participated in the Space Academy program with three of my best friends. When I left I felt mentally enriched and motivated. I’d like to share with you this amazing experience, as best as I can through words and a few pictures.

If you were to ask me what my favorite part of Space Camp was, I don’t know how I would answer that. The entire week was amazing. From the lessons and simulations conducted in a conducive and fun learning environment to playing catch in the rocket garden and whispering ghost stories after lights out (shhh, don’t tell on us), the entire week was a truly transforming experience in so many ways.

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Being at Space Camp creates friendships and lifelong bonds. You eat, sleep, and work with the people in your group all week. By the end of the week your team feels like your family. I am still in touch with my Space Camp friends from last year, and I will remain in touch with my group mates from this past week as well.

Kids come from all over the world to go to Space Camp. Last week I got to meet kids from Argentina, China, Mexico, and South Korea. My group was consisted of seven South Korean kids and seven American kids. One of the American kids was originally from Mexico and spoke fluent Spanish and English. It was a great learning experience to be in a group with international kids. Not only did we learn language from each other, but we also learned how to communicate and work together using other methods than talking. I have received comments on my blog, Twitter and Facebook from kids all around the world saying that they wish that there was a program like Space Camp in there countries.

Space Camp tries to provide opportunities for all kids. Last week was deaf week at camp. This means that Space Camp invites deaf and hard of hearing children to participate in a week of Space Camp. My friends and I were encouraged to learn sign language as it was all around us and we wanted to communicate with the deaf kids. The interpreters were great at helping us to speak in the deaf kids language and we are motivated to continue to learn sign language as a result. Space Camp also provides a week where camp is accommodated for blind kids. I find it amazing that so much effort is being put forth to include kids with different backgrounds and abilities. It provides a learning opportunity for all kids involved.

Another way that Space Camp provides opportunities to a wide range of kids is through the scholarship program. A week at camp costs $900 which is unrealistic for many people. The scholarship program allows you to write an essay and apply for a free week at camp. I will be applying next year because raising money two years in a row has exhausted nearly all of my resources (I babysat all summer long last year to pay for this year’s camp experience).

To cap it all of, I think that Space Camp is an amazing experience. Even for those who are not looking to go into the space field it can be fun and educational. I am sad to have had to leave Space Camp, but am looking forward to going to advanced academy next year. Many of my Space Camp friends from around the country, and the world, are looking forward to seeing each other again and have already started to plan to go together next year. Watch out Space Camp, we are on our way!

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