Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not Quite Good Bye...

Saying goodbye is not easy.  There are always mixed feelings.  Feeling of “I am not ready for this adventure to end” combined with feelings of “how nice it will be to eat real food and sleep in my own bed!”.  The Consortium has a thoughtful activity to give the children closure to their weekend.  During check in, what seemed like a week ago, rather than just two and a half days, a picture was taken of each family.  That picture was given to us on the last day and we all decorated frames to place it in.  We talked about our favorite activity, the games we played, the places we visited, the memories we made, the laughs we shared.  Our pictures were packed up for us to take home and placed on a shelf somewhere where we would see it often and recall the wonderful time that was had.

Since there is not a moment to be wasted at Family Camp, we could not say our good byes without once last visit to someplace ultra-cool.  NASA. 
NASA boarders the Consortium and the Navy Base on Wallops Island.  When you turn out of the driveway and head toward the main road, you drive by satellite dish after satellite dish belonging to both NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  We were treated to a fabulous lesson at the NASA Visitor’s Center.  I had mistakenly thought that the United States had halted all space exploration with the retirement of the space shuttle program.  We learned how astronauts are preparing to launch into the outer depths of our universe through deep space travel.  We watched a video about the construction of the space craft.  Then we were shown authentic material that is used abord the spacecraft like utensil trays for eating that velcro on to the astronaut’s leg, the sleeping bag that hooks onto the wall and comes with a build in eye mask and arm straps to keep the person from looking like a sleeping zombie.  Grace even had the opportunity to try on a real suit meant for space walks.  It was hot and heavy and I was surprised she lasted in it as long as she did.

The coolest thing about this visit is that I learned about another learning opportunity at the Virginia Space Flight Academy.  Here a child who is interested in weather could partner with NOAA and NASA and The Navy while bunking at the Consortium!  Campers must be 11-15.  Hopefully Grace will want to take advantage of a camp like this when she feels comfortable sleeping away from home.  Heck, I would be willing to camp out with MamaK and her Creeklings on Chincoteague while Grace learned about spaceships, aerodynamics, microgravity, robotics, rocket launching, extraterrestrial travel, astronomy and yeah....and weather! What do you say, MamaK??? Up for another road trip???

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