Summer Camps Bring Students Fun and STEM Skills

Nearly 450 students are in summer camps this year at STARBASE Victory! There is never a dull moment at the schoolhouse with students learning everything from coding in PPS Coders to environmental stewardship in ENVIROBASE.  Each week through the end of July, you will find twenty five or so students in each camp except when they on an awesome field trip!  We offer extensions (graduate courses) in the subjects they learned during the school year in SPACEBASE, ENVIROBASE and AEROBASE for rising 5th, 6th and 7th graders.  We also offer new programs to such as LEGO WEDO Robotics Camp for rising 4thgradersLEGO WeDo Robotics Camp where campers will build and program “robotic critters” capable of performing simple tasks.  Campers will be encouraged to imagine, explore, and investigate basic machine principles through the development and reinforcement of integrated problem solving, communication skills, teamwork and collaboration..

Pictured here are students during the second session of SPACEBASE for rising 5th graders. At this camp, students used geospatial technologies to learn more about Old Towne Portsmouth. Mapping, exploration, and interaction with the businesses in Old Towne Portsmouth during the field trip resulted in each team’s creation of a brochure representing the area. The key components of the camp were to use their STEM skills as they learn about mapping, tourism, and urban planning by using GPS to track a wayward pirate through Old Towne Portsmouth.

Spacebase teamwork

Give Local, It Matters to an Elementary School Student

When someone asks you to give money to a charity, what do you think about? First, you probably consider if you have some money that you could comfortably donate, then you wonder if you’ve heard of the charity. But what about the potential impact to your local community? Studies state that people are more likely to donate to a charity that “means something to them.”* So if you had the chance to positively impact elementary school children in your neighborhood, would you take it? What about the impact on the economic development potential of your region? Or further, enrich the classroom experience for thousands of children to gain exposure to math and science beyond the traditional “textbook” learning? I bet you would donate. I would too.                                            STARBASE Give Local logo

I encourage you to join us on May 3rd in the Give Local 757 fundraising campaign by supporting STARBASE Victory. Give Local America is a national organization that provides an online platform for charitable donations within a local community. On May 3rd, many nonprofits in the Hampton Roads area will participate in Give Local 757 with a goal to collectively raise a million dollars! It’s a lofty goal but I think we can do it. So mark your calendar to support local organizations, like STARBASE Victory, during a simple, fun online fundraising drive for a 24 hour time period.

STARBASE Victory provides innovative and experiential science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities to ALL fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students in the Portsmouth Public School system. Students are transported from their neighborhood schools for a four-day experience in the STARBASE facility where they will learn about measurement and mapping; protecting the environment and the Elizabeth River watershed; and basic physics concepts.

The curriculum features hands-on projects and is designed to meet state math and science Standards of Learning (SOLs). While in attendance, students wear a special t-shirt, select a personal call sign and inevitably experience the joy of learning in a whole new environment. STARBASE Victory is the only public/private STARBASE program in the United States and has proven to reduce the black and white achievement gap in Portsmouth. With your help, we can help provide awareness and excitement for STEM at an early edge, fostering the next generation of engineers, computer programmers, and graphic designers.

The idea of making a difference in your local community isn’t new and Give Local 757 seeks to capitalize on that idea. Help us make a difference in our community – to inspire an elementary school student to pursue a career in math or science that they never knew existed. To learn more about STARBASE Victory, visit our website at


Written by: Christine Suter, STARBASE Victory Board Member
Photo 1 for Profile

One Recognition Leads to Another

CabotExecutive Director Bill Hayden received a Volunteer of the Year Award through the Hampton Roads Volunteer Council. That organization submitted Bill for a Cabot Creamery Celebrity Award. Well, he was a little surprised and very humble with all the attention, but yes, he was selected as a national award winner by  Cabot Creamery Cooperative, the New England and upstate New York farm-family owned dairy cooperative, for his selfless volunteerism in creating STARBASE Victory. Bill and his wife Kit joined honorees in November from across the country for the fifth Cabot Community Celebrity Cruise, along with Cabot staff and special honorees selected from program partners AARP Create the Good, National Cooperative Bank and Points of Light’s HandsOn Network for a six-day, seven-night excursion. Be sure to ask Bill about his cruise!

Your STARBASE is an Award Winner!

River StarSTARBASE Victory’s ENVIROBASE Aquarius has been recognized again as a River Star “Model” Program! What do our students do? All of Portsmouth public school fifth graders learned about the parameters of weather and the effects of erosion during their ENVIROBASE experience. They used global learning and observations while studying the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Students documented their findings by making their own videos, sharing how they conducted their research and presenting possible solutions for concerns they discovered. Focusing on the Elizabeth River watershed, students harvested oysters in the fall and others planted them on an oyster reef during summer camp. In addition, students participated in an oyster restoration project. Students at Victory Elementary also participated in a wetland grass-planting project at the Hermitage Foundation.