Some Thoughts from the Executive Director, Bill Hayden

Bill Hayden at STARBASE

As I write this, our summer camps have completed and we’re preparing for the school year.  Those free camps (20 of them) were all in-person and well-attended.  We had the “usual” camps…extensions of the school year programs for rising 5th, 6th and 7th graders.  We added a new camp for rising 6th graders, called the PPS Oyster Project (just what the name implies: the study of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay).  We held the LEGO WeDo camp for rising 4th graders.  These were students who were getting their first taste of STARBASE.  Two PPS Coder camps were available for rising 5th thru 7th graders (two weeks of computer coding…one of our most popular camps).  Then there was Camp ANSWER (two of them, actually).  Rising 8th graders took a “deep dive” into the problem of Microplastic Pollution (did you even know that was a major problem today?).  Finally, we installed another new camp called “Kerbal”.  This camp was held at the Virginia Modeling and Simulation Center in collaboration with Old Dominion University.  Rising 7th and 8th graders explored the engineering challenges of space flight, an appropriate study in today’s new frontiers of space.

The pandemic has caused so much disruption in the lives and education of our children, that we are looking forward to a “normal” school year.  Exciting STEM projects have been the hallmark of the STARBASE program.  While we were able to mail simple projects to student homes during virtual times, those projects were necessarily less complicated than what we do at STARBASE.  Monitoring student performance was much more difficult and much less effective.  It will be good to get back to the classroom.

When we do (get back to the classroom), it will mark the 20th Anniversary of the STARBASE program in Portsmouth.  As the saying goes:  “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  Over 20,000 graduates have had fun at STARBASE.  We want to help more students, more often, in more new and exciting ways.  As we gear up for 20 more years of STARBASE Victory, I would ask for your support.  How about $20 for 20 more years?  Take a moment and hit the Donate button.  Be a part of this amazing program.