HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - One of Huntsville's biggest attractions is celebrating a major milestone. Space Camp turns 35 years old this year.
While more than 800,000 people have passed through the U.S. Space and Rocket Center's doors, they have less than half of the names and contact information for all their alumni.
Ben Chandler, the current Space Camp Alumni Association President, first came to Space Camp in 1995. “I may have been a little nerdy in school or a little different,” says Chandler.
All said and done, Ben attended the camp more times than man has walked on the moon. "I came 14 times," he says. "Space camp gave me the confidence to go back and pursue what I was truly passionate about.”
Chandler says, even just one stay to a camp based out of this world, altered his perspective on everything. “Space camp was a life-changing experience for me, personally," says Chandler.
His mission now is to reconnect as many Space Camp Alumni as possible. “With more alumni involvement, we feel like we can do much more," he says.
Everyone from Chelsea Clinton to Charlize Theron has attended, from sea to shining sea, and then across a few more. “Houston, Chicago, Middle Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama obviously,” explains Chandler. “We have alumni from across the globe - China, Australia, Canada, Turkey, you name it.”
There's only one problem, their alumni list only features a fraction of those who have suited up for a week of fun in Huntsville. “The consistency of that data refinement has changed over the years, and it is unfortunate that we don’t have records for alumni pre-1989,” Chandler regrets.
Chandler believes with a stronger alumni network, at the very least, campers can relive their childhood, and more importantly, by giving back, can brighten someone else's. “We’d like to send a lot of people to space camp," says Chandler.
Because somewhere out there, its possible, there's another Ben Chandler ready to blast off into their life's next passion. “It gave me the confidence to go back to school and remain passionate about everything.”
How to sign up:
- Go to www.spacecampalumni.com
- Click on the "Sign Up" tab at the top of the page.
- At the top of that page, click on the "Click here" button
- Fill out your personal information
By joining, you also get discounted tickets to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and will be invited to join an exclusive Facebook group just for former campers.