My name is Redmond and I am a Student Ambassador for the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation. They assisted me in gaining a grant that enabled me to attend their 2017 Space Camp Tour. The tour was an excellent aerospace, engineering and science experience, which was 100 times better than anything I had ever imagined! It was indeed awe-inspiring and an epic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I first heard about Space Camp from my maths and science teacher. She asked me after class if I wanted to apply for Space Camp USA where I made it very clear that I really wanted to go. I was pumped about this opportunity and I, along with everyone from my friends to my family, all thought it was just a pipe dream. It quickly faded into the back of everyone’s mind. However, to everyone’s surprise, my Mum received a phone call in July asserting that I had been granted a scholarship and it was amazing. She came to school crying and she was proud as punch as was I. This opportunity was afforded to me by the countless hours of work that my family, teachers, community and the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation have invested into me. Their efforts are truly mind-blowing, awe-inspiring and have single-handedly changed my world views and solidified my purpose in life. I am truly grateful to everyone who had a hand in my attendance, for the adventure has truly changed my life.
We were lucky enough to spend four whole days in Los Angeles, California. We went to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Northrop Grumman, California Science Centre and a handful of truly mesmerising side quests like visiting an LA-based cardboard artist who works on projects for Disney and other clients. The we went to Space Camp.
Space Camp itself is a tremendous STEM-related experience located in Huntsville, Alabama at the US Space and Rocket Centre. Over 850,000 people have graduated since 1982. The camp features everything you could ever imagine. Many things await you at Space Camp including tough engineering challenges, which force you to think outside the box and immersive missions, which put you in the roles of astronauts and mission control operators. These activities develop teams to finish missions successfully.
Walking into Space Camp evoked an explosion of emotions within me which I cannot describe and can only be likened to sheer excitement, passion, inspiration and awe. Everywhere I turned there was another relic from the fantastic American space race which resonates with my ambition of one day becoming an engineer.
At Space Camp, the engineering challenges were difficult, but interesting. We always had a budget and we always had a goal, but we always succeeded. We all worked together in our engineering groups to assemble rockets and heat shields to protect our precious eggs, space suits for an apple, and a Mars rover. The engineering challenges where fun. They presented enough of a challenge that we had to focus, but easy enough that we had fun while making our serviceable instruments out of regular household items.
The missions were amazing. There is a Mission Control section where we had to coordinate with everyone and ensure that everything is running smoothly. There is an International Space Station module where you must guarantee everyone is safe while performing tasks like weather reports and science experiments. Finally, there is the Mission section where we had very specific jobs to do like setting up a Mars base or repairing a satellite.
Our group went through a lot of trials throughout the trip, and we grew through them. Most of us formed unbreakable bonds with each other. With every ride at Disneyland, with every engineering challenge, with every “team building” exercise at Area 51 and with every mission into low-Earth orbit and to Mars we all connected and worked together to achieve one goal. That goal was to make Space Camp the most fun, educational and inspirational adventure that any of us would have ever experienced! Space Camp has helped our entire group understand what it is like to be put into situations where teamwork and dedication are paramount.
Almost everyone on the trip had an opportunity to meet some fantastic people. I was lucky enough to talk to David Sharp from Boeing, Kenny Mitchell and Will Hare, who are both Space Camp Alumni, along with a vast range of engineers and scientists who have worked at NASA, Boeing and Northrop Grumman. These people represented our entire group’s aspirations and our opportunity to meet these remarkable people is the deciding factor when it comes to us genuinely recognising that our dreams are achievable.
The One Giant Leap Australia Space Camp tour has shown me that my aspirations are achievable and has opened my eyes to a whole new world which I am determined to explore in my efforts to self-actualise. I am now devoted to excelling in school and attaining my position amongst the ranks of aerospace engineers and forward-thinking global philosophers. I like to think that I have so much to give to the world. If I give it my best and believe that I can, I will achieve my goals of ultimately paying forward my debt which is owed to the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation and everyone else for giving me the opportunity to attend this life-changing trip of a lifetime.
The tour was a truly inspirational, life-changing experience which has changed the way I think and the way I view the world. It has breathed a breath of fresh air into my previous cynical outlook on our society, and it has opened my eyes to a world outside of my small-town upbringing in regional Western Australia. This tour program has solidified my aspirations and has reassured me that my dreams are possible. It has left me with lifelong friends and an experience which will remain unmatched for the foreseeable future. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience which will leave a distinct mark on me for the rest of my days and it would not have been possible without the awesome team at One Giant Leap Australia Foundation.
If you have an interest in science, engineering, maths or technology and you are presented with an opportunity to attend Space Camp with One Giant Leap Australia, don’t stop and think for a second and cease the moment and say yes! You will not regret it and it will change your life forever like it has changed mine.