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My Space Camp Adventure

Pathfinder out my window at Space CampRight after my alarm clock goes off each morning I start my preparations for work. This ritual is true for millions and millions of Americans. I shower, brush my teeth, feed the dog, put on some clothes, and so on. I then get into my Toyota 4Runner and drive to work while I listen to Rick & Bubba on the radio. I am sure you are familiar with this routine. However, unlike most Americans I end my commute into work by parking by a space shuttle. No, I don’t work for NASA, I work for Space Camp!

Working at Space Camp is probably the greatest job in the world; at least it is for me. Growing up I was captivated by space flight. I remember my mom calling me inside to watch Challenger’s maiden voyage launch from Kennedy Space Center. This was the mission were hometown hero Donald Peterson and Story Musgrave performed the first EVA of the shuttle program. I was hooked on space from that moment forward. Donald Peterson visited my school growing up and working at Space Camp has allowed me to meet Story Musgrave.

In seventh grade I persuaded my parents to send me to Space Camp! I was headed for a career as an astronaut or fighter pilot. For me, Space Camp was not only a great place to learn about math and science but it was also far more of a cultural experience. I am a cotton farmer’s kid from Mississippi. I got to meet kids from all over the United States. There was a kid who could speak Russian and one that would be studying in France during the summer. Kids from other countries attended camp. They all loved space and wanted to study math, science, engineering, and technology.

In high school my focus did change from wanting to be an astronaut or engineer to wanting to work with children. I wanted to teach or work at a summer camp. After leaving Huntsville in the spring of 1990 I wouldn’t return to see the rockets until 1999. I was in my final semester of college doing my student teaching at a school in Madison Mississippi. The fifth grade attended Space Camp each year. I was re-energized about space and would join the staff the very next summer as a counselor.

For the next few years I would work during the summer at Space Camp and teach school in Mississippi. It was a great combination. I knew more about the space program than most anybody in my small town. Some people thought I actually worked for NASA, but I was simply a camp counselor. My summer time job would eventually lead to a position in the education department and then the chance to work in camp operations. I am lucky enough to be working in the recruitment and training of new staff – the camp counselors. I am living my dream. No, I am not an astronaut, but I get to inspire the next generation of explorers. No, I am not a fighter pilot, but my call sign is Red Bull. I do get to work with some of the greatest people in the whole wide world!

Working at camp I have met moonwalkers and shuttle commanders. But the greatest thing about camp is the kids that flood through the doors. They come here with open eyes and minds to learn about what is possible. Yes, it is hard work and the hours are sometimes exhausting. The whole experience is so amazing. Each year we recruit some of the best and brightest to work with our campers. Most of our new counselors know nothing about the space program, we teach them everything they will ever need to know, including Alan Shepherds’ pre-launch story. We have staff in all phases of their life. We have college kids, new graduates, adventurous sojourners, empty nesters, and a few retirees on staff as Space Camp counselors.

Currently we are looking for our next class of Space Camp counselors. We are trying to get the word out. The recruitment team has visited college campuses and there has been an online effort. Often people hear about Space Camp job opportunities through moms, dads, aunts and uncles. Sometime people are trying to find a year round camp job. Either way if you are reading this blog please help me find people to work at camp. We are looking for bright, energetic, adventurous, fun loving, team minded camp counselors. We are looking for people that want to encourage and enrich the lives of young people. If you know someone send them to our website for prospective staff at www.spacecamp.com/counselors.

Other places to find Space Camp Counselor Stuff:

http://www.backdoorjobs.com/

http://www.coolworks.com/

http://www.acacamps.org/jobs/

http://twitter.com/spacecampusa

I love my job!!! I don’t want to work anywhere else in the world. I want to share my life of learning and teaching with every space geek in the world. I am very lucky to work at Space Camp and I strongly encourage anyone who has a passion for teaching young people and the freedom to live a Space Camp adventure to apply today!

2 Comments

  1. Cesi Myers Cesi Myers
    December 4, 2009    

    Ruth,
    I read your article. Beginning January I am building a summer internship program for my college students and also building a job placement program for jobs after graduation. I had a thought. Do you think there is some way we might work together on both these efforts.

    My students are communications, business, marketing and finance and design.. however, I watch them struggle end of spring semester looking for summer jobs.. and jobs after graduation. I just read your blog… I surely reccommend the experience.. so what do you think? There surely must be a way we could help each other on this, any ideas?
    We have 18,000 students here. in January they will start scrambling for summer jobs and after grad jobs. Cesi @ James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va

  2. Taylor Taylor
    June 4, 2010    

    I think this is amazing. Last year I attended Aviation Challenge and am going again this year. I hope to get to NASA through the military. I love space as well and find it exciting to learn about each little secret it holds.