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DAF set to launch full youth summer camp schedule 

  • Published
  • By Debbie Aragon
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Department of the Air Force Child and Youth Programs is set to launch myriad 2024 summer youth camps April 8 for kids across the enterprise to boost morale, skills, teamwork and resiliency. 

The specialized camps, centrally funded and managed by the Air Force Services Center, complement camps programmed by local Air Force and Space Force installations. 

They include sports, culinary skills, science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, programs, and the arts. 

The centrally funded camps add to those already offered by installation youth programs and provide “exciting and fun opportunity for teens to get back to the great outdoors, with activities such as, kayaking, zip lining, rock climbing and even snowboarding,” said Paul La Bella, Edwards Air Force Base, California’s teen coordinator.

“The Missoula acting camps are always a welcomed and fun tradition as are the Chef K Cooking Camps and various sports camps.”

“AFSVC-contracted camps have allowed us to expand upon the activities and interests of the youth currently in our program,” said Christina Reed, director of Youth Programs at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. “It’s also given our staff the opportunity to expand upon the experiences and knowledge gained from the camps and adding them in to our daily curriculum.”

“All these camps provide an excellent summer experience with a wide variety of activities for all age groups,” La Bella said.

Here’s more information on what’s available. 

Teen Residential Camps

U.S. Rocket Center Space Program: There’s 158 total slots for the program in Huntsville, Alabama, with attendees choosing from several tracks. 
Space Academy (July 21-26, July 28-Aug. 2 and Aug. 4-9), Mach II Aviation (July 21-26 and July 28-Aug. 2) and Cyber (Aug. 4-9) Camps for ages 12-14. Focus is on aeronautics, propulsion and aviation history with an unmanned aerial vehicle simulator to reinforce lessons learned at static displays and artifacts. The Cyber Camp delves into the world of cyber technologies through blended hands-on experiences and challenges introducing careers in the cyber field. 
Advanced Space Academy (July 21-26), Advanced Cyber Academy (July 28-Aug. 2) and Mach III Aviation (July 21-26 and July 28-Aug. 2) Camps for ages 15-18. Reinforces leadership, teamwork and decision-making skills in an immersive F-18 cockpit simulator used for mission planning with real-time data to a command center during mission execution. They also learn wilderness survival skills and orienteering. 

Teen Adventure Leadership Camp for ages 14-18: This camp, at Estes Park, Colorado, Aug. 6-11, is designed to build character, leadership and resiliency in a challenging but nurturing natural environment. The 125 participants will hike, mountain bike and horseback ride. They’ll also do horse colt training, arts and crafts, woodworking, technical climbing and archery.  

U.S. Air Force Academy Aviation Teen Camp for ages 14-16: The week-long camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 22-28, is targeted for 9th and 10th grade students and will focus on aviation, engineering, science and leadership. Attendees stay at the USAFA prep school dorms and use force support squadron facilities while there like the dining facility, fitness center, aero club and bowling center.

Camps at Installations

(NOTE: Not all installations will host all camps)

Archery Camp: Teaches the basics of the sport and safety. It’s for all levels of experience and develops target accuracy, problem solving and strategy. 

Chef K Camp: Provides culinary health education and combines nutrition, food safety, cooking instructions and table etiquette.  

Science and STEM Camp: Allows participants to develop a better understanding of science, critical thinking and teamwork while exploring the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math. 

Paintball Camp: Provides action-packed paintball games in a safe environment to help kids exercise, socialize, strategize and have fun. 

Youth Soccer Sports Camp: Emphasizes the fundamentals and safety of soccer with drills and games that develop footwork, passing, goalkeeping and team play. 

Performing Arts Camp (Children’s Theatre): Encourages exploring creativity through performing and improvisation in a fun, safe environment for all ability levels. 

Non-traditional Sports Camp: Focuses on developing skills for teamwork and fair play with physical fitness components such as stamina, agility and strength. Emphasizes the importance of safety and good sportsmanship in a variety of sports like water polo, pickleball and fencing. 

MVP Flag Football Camp: This non-contact football instruction teaches stamina, agility, strength, techniques and sport skills like teamwork, self-discipline, good sportsmanship and positive mentorship. This program began in 2023 at four installations and, because of its success, will be at 27 locations this year. 

NEW MVP Basketball Camp: AFSVC is adding a youth basketball camp this year for youth 5-18. The camp, at 16 locations, will focus on similar things to the flag football camp and organizers are expected like success.

Special Family Running Event-America’s Kids Run: Events at 77 DAF locations May 18 with various themes from patriot, glow in the dark and color runs. Encourages physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. 

The application window for residential camps opens April 8 and runs through May 3. Selectees will be notified May 13. For more information on residential camps or to sign up, email For information or to register for installation-hosted camps, stop by your local force support squadron’s youth programs office.