More than 6,000 youth have participated in the summer camp since its inception, with many returning as staff members.
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility has reaffirmed its 25-year collaboration with the Virginia Space Flight Academy (VASFA) through the signing of a new Space Act Agreement earlier this year. This formalised partnership continues to offer valuable outreach opportunities for youth, featuring an annual residential space adventure camp each summer.
David Pierce, Director of Wallops, said: “Wallops is proud to continue our 25-year partnership with VASFA. The camp programmes bring local and regional youth to the facility and our subject matter experts look forward to providing behind-the-scenes tours to support the development of the next generation of aerospace professionals.”
Established in 1998 as part of the Eastern Shore Regional Partnership, VASFA aimed to provide quality summer camp experiences for local youth by leveraging the high-tech activities conducted at Wallops, the Virginia Spaceport Authority, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the United States Navy. Following the success of pilot camps, the nonprofit organization was officially founded in 2000 and has continued to lead the programme.
Over 6,000 youth have participated in the summer camp since its inception, with many returning as staff members. Notably, camp staff members have leveraged their experiences to secure internships and employment with NASA and other aerospace partners. In 2021, the programme expanded to include a new series of year-round STEM Academy programming, serving an additional 1,000 students.
During the 2023 summer camp season, participants had the opportunity to engage in unique experiences. At the Advanced Aerospace Camp graduation ceremony on July 28, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin joined campers and their families to present VASFA with the prestigious Spirit of Virginia award. This accolade recognises outstanding contributions across the Commonwealth, applauding Virginians for their noteworthy achievements in private industries, education, culture, the arts, and philanthropy. In a subsequent event, Advanced Coding and Robotics campers enjoyed a rocket launch viewing during Northrop Grumman’s 19th cargo resupply launch to the International Space Station aboard the Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia.