“Every time I go to the airport, it feels like a vacation!” 10-year-old William breathlessly announced last July, as a shuttle bus full of excited middle school students pulled up to the Dayton International Airport terminal.
Since the first Air Camp in 2010, students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) have explored the region’s National Aviation Heritage Area with hands-on experiences at locations including the Air Force Research Laboratory, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, and the Dayton International Airport. A week of 15-hour days full of activities demonstrates the student’s passion for all things aircraft. Many have spent the majority of their young lives dreaming of flight.
“I’ve been studying airplanes since I was 6,” said Ian, a 4th-grade participant.
What do you do at Air Camp?
Air Camp participants fully investigate every aspect of the aviation and aerospace industry during the week. They create flight plans, test engineering designs, and the 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade students receive one-on-one flying time with an FAA Certified instructor. The opportunity to implement STEM education in realistic scenarios has drawn students from across the country.
“In 2017, Air Camp had students from 22 different states,” shared Heidi Steinbrink, curriculum development director at Air Camp, Inc. “In previous years, we’ve even had international students from China.”
STEM educators can get in on the action. Started in 2015, the Teacher Camp track focuses on showing teachers how to incorporate STEM education into any lesson. Thanks to The Dayton Foundation’s Engineering and Science Foundation of Dayton Fund, all 50 teachers participate for free.
“We’re proud to open our doors to the important work Air Camp is doing,” said Terry Slaybaugh, director of aviation for the City of Dayton. “The investments we make in educating young people about STEM in aviation will make the future of our industry and our community that much brighter.”
How can you attend Air Camp?
The 2018 Air Camp registration is currently closed, but you can apply next year for the 2019 Teacher’s Camp for K-12 STEM educators, Day Camp for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade and the Overnight Camp for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. Student applications requirements include an essay portion and a letter of recommendation from a current teacher. Although registration fees can be up to $995, scholarships are available, visit aircampusa.com for more information.
For more information about the Dayton International Airport, visit flydayton.com.