Like every other kid in the world, I always wanted to be an astronaut. At least, I thought that was a real possibility when I was in elementary school. Coincidentally, during that time, the movie Space Camp came out. It was about some teenagers that went to an overnight camp to learn about what it’s like to fly the space shuttle. It’s got some really big teen stars for the time and a very young Leaf (Joaquin) Phoenix. It’s worth a watch on a rainy day.
I didn’t even know a place like Space Camp existed, but I wanted, no needed, to go. I wrote to the camp for more information, and pleaded to my mother to let me go. Back then, it was a lot of money, and we just couldn’t afford it.
The same year that Space Camp came out another little movie came out called Top Gun. Of course, like every other human in existence, it made me want to be a pilot. Then after doing a huge presentation on becoming a Naval aviator, ever the pragmatist, I decided that my lack of perfect vision and lack of desire to go into the military would likely prevent me from ever becoming Maverick.
Flash forward to the advent of social media, and my love of space came alive again. NASA is all over Twitter and Facebook, and not too long ago, Space Camp (the real one, not the movie) popped into my Twitter feed. The Kid has been asking to go to overnight camp for the last year, and next year might be the year for her. As I thought about it, I popped over to the Space Camp website to see if it was even an attainable goal. Boy, was I surprised!
Space Camp has so many more adventures than when I was a kid. It’s located in Huntsville, Alabama connected to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Not only do they still have Space Camp, for kids, adults, families, and educators, they also have an Aviation Challenge Camp (y’all, it’s Top Gun camp) and a Robotics Camp. I was enchanted by all of the possibilities for The Kid, and after looking at the pricing, it’s very reasonable for 5 full days and nights of camp. They also have a camp for homeschooling groups. Gotta love a place that recognizes the homeschool geek contingent.
So, now Space Camp was firmly back on my radar, and I loved seeing the Throwback pictures they would post on social media. So, imagine my surprise when @SpaceCamp on Twitter announced sign ups for their annual Space Camp TweetUp (#SCTweetUp). A TweetUp is a face to face meeting of a group of people connected through Twitter. This year’s TweetUp is to celebrate their #YearofAviation. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to sign up. Only 16 people would be chosen, so I didn’t think there was much of a chance. However, I got an email last week letting me know I was one of the few chosen to attend. This Space Camp TweetUp will allow me to just get a little taste of Space Camp and Top Gun all at the same time! Woot!
It’s now a little more than 36 hours away, and I can’t wait. We will be participating in several of the activities that the Aviation Challenge campers participate in. There will be water rescue activities, aircraft tours, and aircraft simulators. There will be two guest speakers, astronaut Serena Aunon and Gail Williams from the Seasprite Helicopter Restoration Project.
Let me know what questions you want answered, and I will do my best to get them for you. Follow me on Twitter @geekysoutherner for all of the updates, tweets, and pictures on Saturday.