When the Delaware North-operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex decided to scrub its usual Camp KSC onsite summer camp format in the wake of COVID-19 concerns, it quickly developed a virtual version of the camp to offer hands-on science, technology, engineering and math activities.
The virtual camp – which costs $65 for three three-hour sessions – connects elementary school-age children with a member of the KSCVC education staff via a real-time Zoom videoconference.
“Virtual Camp KSC allows us to connect with the next generation of space explorers, and share our love of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “We’re excited about this new opportunity for kids to learn, and explore, at home.”
Ahead of the camp, the visitor complex mails campers a kit with materials they will need to complete the activities and experiences centered around NASA-based science. The sessions focus on three main topics: the Apollo and Artemis moon programs, the mission challenges of the Space Shuttle Program and the International Space Station, and virtually traveling to Mars to learn the skills needed to settle on the red planet.
The results have been impressive. Overall, more than 1,500 campers registered for the summer sessions, with the first sessions selling out. The camp has drawn children from 44 states, Washington, D.C., and 10 other countries: Bangladesh, Canada, France, Chile, Colombia, Great Britain, Mexico, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Arab Emirates.
A computer with the free Zoom Client for Meetings program and internet access is required to participate. Campers of the same household do not need separate Zoom access codes to participate in Virtual Camp KSC, and additional camp kits are available for an additional $25 per kit.
Virtual Camp KSC will continue over the holiday break this month. Those looking to register for the next camp session can do so on the visitor complex’s website.