So, Your Child Wants to Go to Space Camp

So, Your Child Wants to Go to Space Camp

So, Your Child Wants to Go to Space Camp?

Reach for the Stars (RFTS)

MAC Launch XIX Program

How it Works

The purpose of this document is to answer some of your basic questions.

Reach for the Stars is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to promote math and science education in the Greater Minneapolis Area Public Schools. Launched in 1996, the organization is a group of interested parents, teachers, and community members seeking to provide informal, inquiry-based, hands-on educational experiences for elementary and middle-school-aged youth.

Each spring, Reach for the Stars sends a group of youth from several Minneapolis area schools to Space Camp/Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. There the young people will participate in a six-day camp in which they will experience astronaut training activities and simulated space shuttle and space station missions. The purpose of exposing young people to these technologies is to spark their imaginations and stimulate their curiosity. We believe they will return with ideas and interests that will enrich their study of math and science throughout their academic careers.

In order to prepare the group for this experience, RFTS provides monthly courses on rocketry and related science to prepare the participating students for the week at the USSRC.

The total cost of the program is estimated at $1,600 per student. All accepted students and their families will participate in the process to raise the required funds.

How Reach for the Stars Does It

In October, RFTS will conduct an informational meeting for interested students and their families. A short DVD documentary of an earlier expedition to Space Camp will be shown followed by a short briefing on the process of application and acceptance, the cost of the program and how Reach for the Stars will work with the participants and families to raise the funds. It is important that parents and students are made aware of the commitment that will be asked before deciding to participate.

Students interested in going to Space Camp will fill out a five part application which includes two essays. Each student will solicit two teacher recommendations. These applications and recommendations are to be received by Reach for the Stars on or before November 13th. An independent resource person will review and score the applications and recommendations. The Board of Reach for the Stars will notify the top scoring applicants of their acceptance by the first weekend in December.

Those accepted to go to Space Camp will be required to attend the monthly meeting of all participants, their parents, the teachers and the Reach for the Stars Board starting in December. These meetings take place one Saturday per month and are where the participants from the different schools meet and begin working with each other and the teachers. The Space Camp/Academy experience is team oriented. The first official activity in Huntsville will be team assignments and student activities and missions are done as a team. The monthly meeting activities include learning team building skills.

While the students are working on team building, the parents have the opportunity to get caught up on the business of raising the funds, getting caught up on forms and preparing for the process of sending their children off for a week.

At the first meeting, each family will be asked to pledge the amount that they can afford to pay towards the cost of their child’s trip. Reach for the Stars will then add up the pledges and determine if there is any shortfall of funds. (There will be!)

The entire group (families, students, teachers and Reach For The Stars) will raise enough money to cover any shortfall. There will be a number of fundraising activities that will include all participants. This is considered team building.

Past fundraiser activities have included:

  • Movie Night
  • Pizza coupon sales
  • Candy sales
  • A silent auction
  • A combination car wash/bake sale/rummage sale.

The underlying philosophy is that every student who is accepted to MAC Launch will go - regardless of ability to pay.

However: If we fail to raise the total amount, the trip will not take place. We all go or no one goes. Everyone will need to participate in fund raising.

Student Participation

Students accepted to the MAC Launch program will be expected to attend all Science Saturday learning experiences and participate in all fund raising activities. MAC Launch is an educational expedition that is more fun than any other we have seen but interest in science and math are the desired outcome.

Beginning in December, RFTS will conduct informal science learning sessions for the participating students. We will build hot air balloons and later balsa airplanes.

Reach for the Stars understands that students have many interests. We do ask that if you are accepted, you make a commitment to attend all the monthly training sessions and take part in all the fund raising activities

Teacher Commitment and Involvement

The participating teachers will meet and set the curriculum. Most of the current participating staff have been to Space Camp/Academy many times as chaperones. Our lead teacher has completed the NASA/Space Camp Educator Program that is run at the same facility in the summer. New teachers will be given plenty of support in the start up process by the lead teachers and Reach for the Stars Board. Teacher Chaperones will have airfare, local transportation and lodging expenses paid for by RFTS. If needed, RFTS will pay for a substitute teacher for any days missed during our week at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Family Participation.

We invite families to participate in the informal science learning sessions. Together, we will build flying models and a mock up of the space shuttle and a module of the international space station. All materials will be provided and all family members will be invited to join in. Parent participation is a large part of the process.

Minneapolis to Huntsville and Back

The students will fly in one or more groups on regularly scheduled airline flights and will always be accompanied by at least two teacher or RFTS Board Chaperones.

Space Camp/Academy

When the group(s) arrive in Huntsville, we will be met at the airport by representatives of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. From that moment on, the students will be under their supervision. The students are transported by bus to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center where they will be housed, fed and trained in the various activities on site. There is a nurse on duty 24 hours a day in the camp sick bay. Counselor supervision is maintained 24x7. The site is a secure facility and proper identity badges are required for access.

The RFTS Chaperones will be onsite for most of the days’ activities and can be contacted by cell phone. Students are not allowed to have cell phones, Blackberries, iPod touch devices or other means of contacting via email/text or voice. RFTS and Space Camp will make sure students can be contacted.

For a wealth of information on the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, go to .

For more information on Reach for the Stars, visit our Website: