GIRL SPEAK: What’s space camp like?

BY AVERY L., GIRL SCOUT

pods
Me standing in the hallway by the pods.

My name is Avery, I am 13 years old and I’m going into 9th grade this year. I’ve been a Girl Scout for 8 years. This past summer I was accepted to the Space Camp Girl Scout Destination Trip [at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama]. This was my first Girl Scout Destination Trip and I was extremely excited and surprised to be accepted.

In 8th grade I had a science class and we spent a few months learning about astronomy and our universe. I was simply fascinated. Just the inconceivable size and the countless possibilities of the unknown. It became my passion.

The camp itself was for 5 nights and 6 very full days. We bunked in pods and slept on bunk beads. The food was surprisingly tasteful and a little different each day. Every day we learned something new about the Space Program and the “Race to Space” with Russia. We did mock missions and simulations, we had a chance to explore the Museum and go to the Imax dome theater, which was incredible in graphics and information. Out of everything though my favorite activities were the missions and simulations.

cube
Our finished cube in the “Tank.”

The simulations were basically rides that simulated something astronauts would or have experienced.  The 1/6th gravity chair which simulated moons gravity. A machine that simulated a tumble inside a space craft and a chair that simulates the different forces and dynamics of flight. Then, of course the G force rides where you got to experience different G forces.

ropes
Our group discussing tactics for a game during the Ropes Course (me in the middle pointing).

Before beginning the missions we had to complete an application which the crew trainers looked at and gave us our different “positions” for the two missions. We were given very high tech equipment, touch screen computers, head sets, control panels basically a mock version of the real thing. Scripts were given to us to follow but we also had to make many decisions on our own to solve on the spot problems and to keep the journey smooth and safe for everyone. It was extremely hands on and we all had a blast. Personally the two hour missions were the highlight of the camp.

rockets
Team Sierra Nevada! About to shoot off the rockets we individually built…

We also were able to do exercises in the Ropes Course and the Indoor Aquatic Tank. The Ropes Course was another one of the highlights of Camp. We worked in groups to complete different “tasks” given to us. It wasn’t easy, lots of analyzing, planning out and discussion. We had to truly embrace the word teamwork to succeed.  While in the aquatic tank we were asked to build a 3d cube with PVC pipes. Again it was all about the teamwork and communication. Like they say, there’s no “I” in teamwork.

cap com
I was Cap Com for the first mission (looking through our binder full of scripts).

Being able to participate in this program has changed my life. I had so much fun and made forever friends from all over the United States, some I still am able to keep in touch with today. Our memories and experiences there will forever bond us all together in an unbreakable family friendship. I am so thankful I was given the chance to experience this and share it with others. Thank you.

team sierra nevada

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