AstroCamp, an educational adventure Multi-faceted camp open to Mecklenburg students
For the past year or so, Mecklenburg County Public Schools has been exploring various educational oppurtunities open to Mecklenburg students, hearing from entities such as 4-H and the YMCA at past school board meetings. In June of this year, representatives from an Astro and Motorsports camp offered a presentation at the monthly school board meeting. On Wednesday, the camp invited students as well as members of the press to the camp, to allow the group to see exactly what they have to offer.
AstroCamp provides a STEM (the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based, experiential, earth and physical science program with an emphasis on astronomy and space exploration. AstroCamp meets the science standards of learning throughout the entire region. Students in 4th through 12th grade participate in either one day, three day or five day overnight programs in an outdoor setting. The camp’s school programs run from September to June.
AstroCamp is located in Clover, Virginia on a 406-acre campus, complete with sate-of-the-art science labs were students learn about such subjects as atmosphere and gases, cosmic landers, craters, fundamental forces, light and lasers, planetary sciences and solar studies just to name a few. A rocket launch center were students learn building and launching rockets, an observatory equipped with no less than three 14-inch Celestron telescopes, outdoor program area, swimming pool, lake and a very large (almost 20 miles of track) Motorsports complex where students learn not only how to drive/operate a go-kart but also learn the physics behind driving and the mechanical skills required to build and repair the karts. The facility boasts comfortable climate-controlled cabins and dining hall. Students and adult chaperones are housed in spacious cabins that easily accommodate 8 to 12 people, with restrooms and showers located in each cabin. The dining hall serves nutritionally balanced meals, with special dietary needs accommodated as needed, with advance notice.
AstroCamp can accommodate groups as small as 15 or as large as 130. Students conduct all laboratory and field activities in research groups of 15 students. Schools must bring one adult chaperone to accompany each research group.
AstroCamp maintains a resident staff of administrators, instructors and service personnel. Each instructor has a minimum of a bachelors degree in a related field and is trained in lifeguarding, first aid and CPR. All staff are carefully screened, drug tested, fingerprinted and background checked.
AstroCamp is owned and operated by Guided Discoveries.
“We are so excited for this opportunity to bring our unique, fun educational programs to kids in Virginia,” said Craig Dietz Turner, Guided Discoveries’ director of administration, research and development.
Craig Turner added, “Guided Discoveries really gives kids a hands-on opportunity to learn who they are, learn about our world and experience new things.”
Since its founding in 1979, more then 1.5 million students have attended Guided Discoveries’ school programs and summer camps in southern California, where the organization also runs Catalina Sea Camp at its Catalina Island Marine Institute. Guided Discoveries currently serves about 55 thousand students annually through its California programs.
“We started Guided Discoveries because we realized that STEM education is critically important for students, but it also needs to be engaging.” Stated Ross Turner, Guided Discoveries’ president, CEO and co-founder.
Ross Turner also said, “We take science and turn it into a hands-on, tactile, educational adventure that is really fun for the students and the teachers, and the kids love it.”