MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
Martinsburg STARBASE, based at the 167th Airlift Wing, graduates about 2,500 fifth-grade students from their week-long academies each school year.
Each academy provides “hands-on, minds-on” Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM-based lessons and activities.
But, the Martinsburg STARBASE staff’s work is not done when the school year ends.
In addition to preparation for the upcoming school year, STARBASE also plans and hosts its annual Kids Camps and Little Einstein Camp in June and July.
This year marked the 14th year STARBASE has held its five-day, STEM-based camps for children of local military members and friends.
“Base members are a vital support system to our program, we open enrollment for the camps to the unit members kids first, to simply show our gratitude for everything they do for us,” said Sherra Triggs, Martinsburg STARBASE program director.
Triggs said the camps, which are also a part of their outreach program, allows the instructors to incorporate different STEM activities from their typical school year curriculum.
As soon as the school year ends, STARBASE instructors begin planning the activities for the camps.
“Our instructors put in hours of preparation. All activities were designed and delivered with emphasis on scientific inquiry, team-building and collaboration,” said Jena Hinchman, Martinsburg STARBASE’s office manager.
This year, 70 children aged five to 14, participated in STEM activities like robotics, computer aided design, rocketry, owl pellet dissection and strawberry DNA extraction.
“Two new activities this year proved to be a tremendous success,” Hinchman said. “An escape room- STARBASE-style and a base scavenger hunt where base members served as leaders while escorting campers around base collecting photos in an effort to gain the most points, were very popular.”
The kids did an egg drop activity which entailed using various items to protect a raw egg from a 15-meter free-fall. They also received mixed martial arts lessons, made smoothies, composed fine art paintings and even made slime.
The campers were asked to complete surveys about their experience at the end of the week.
“Comments ranged from “I learned to think outside of the box this week’ to ‘I loved meeting new friends’ to ‘best camp ever’,” Hinchman said.
Martinsburg STARBASE will open enrollment for the 2019 summer’s camps next March. Look for enrollment information in Plane Talk and on the base Sharepoint site.