Dear Contributor,

My name is Sara Vaclavik, and I was one of this year’s delegates to the NYSC, from the state of New Hampshire. I would like to take a moment to thank you for your support to a program that has since offered me one of the richest experiences of my life.

As I discovered during my time at camp, the intensity of the NYSC program is alone enough to make it worthwhile. Spending nearly a month’s time in close association with a select group of delegates, staph*, and presenters; finding oneself subject daily to lessons intellectual, interpersonal, and intimate; having the sense of at once experiencing growth in self as well as in community-these are some of the qualities that make time at the NYSC both distinctive and invaluable, and they certainly are some of the reasons that have compelled you to continue donation to the program.

And for that choice to contribute, I thank you. Your kindness has since given me a depth of experience that I can only hope to encounter again, but that I know calls for gratitude just as deep.

Sincerely yours,

Sara Vaclavik, 2010 NYSC – New Hampshire

* As you well know, a definitive side effect of the NYSC experience

Dear Contributor,

My name is Sara Vaclavik, and I was one of this year’s delegates to the NYSC, from the state of New Hampshire. I would like to take a moment to thank you for your support to a program that has since offered me one of the richest experiences of my life.

As I discovered during my time at camp, the intensity of the NYSC program is alone enough to make it worthwhile. Spending nearly a month’s time in close association with a select group of delegates, staph*, and presenters; finding oneself subject daily to lessons intellectual, interpersonal, and intimate; having the sense of at once experiencing growth in self as well as in community-these are some of the qualities that make time at the NYSC both distinctive and invaluable, and they certainly are some of the reasons that have compelled you to continue donation to the program.

And for that choice to contribute, I thank you. Your kindness has since given me a depth of experience that I can only hope to encounter again, but that I know calls for gratitude just as deep.

Sincerely yours,

Sara Vaclavik, 2010 NYSC – New Hampshire

* As you well know, a definitive side effect of the NYSC experience

Dear Trustees:

I have just returned from an unforgettable experience as an Idahoan delegate to the 2010 National Youth Science Camp (NYSC), held in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Living in a rustic camp in the midst of the beautiful Monongahela National Forest, far from the distractions of technology and usual responsibilities, I was free to study the intricacies of various scientific fields, explore the miraculous nature in the surrounding forest, and develop close friendships with fellow delegates. As trustees of the National Youth Science Foundation, you are an integral factor in the success of the NYSC. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the effort you expend to manage and fund such a quality program.

I am grateful for the NYSC’s commitment to exposing delegates to a variety of career options in the fascinating world of science. Lecturers from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Savannah River National Laboratory, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Google, NASA, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and numerous universities and medical clinics presented information ranging from discussions of science policy to descriptions of the latest research in genetic diseases to explanations of theoretical mathematics. In addition, I was given the amazing opportunities to study human anatomy via a dissection of a cadaver hand and to learn about graduate school by speaking with grad students about their research projects in such fields as cancer biology, epigenetics, and tuberculosis. The NYSC provided many unique ways to deepen my science knowledge beyond the classroom and textbook.

But the NYSC experience included so much more than science education. In particular, the excellent outdoor program enabled me to step out of my comfort zone and explore new activities. I was able to go backpacking along Red Creek in the Monongahela National Forest, white-water kayaking down New River Gorge, and rock climbing in the Nelson Rocks Preserve. I will never forget the breathtaking views of the lushly wooded mountains, rhododendron-filled forests, and starry night skies of West Virginia.

Finally, the beauty ofNYSC lies in the relationships. Interacting with academically advanced students and staff members from throughout the United States, plus Germany, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago, exposed me to a variety of stories and experiences. From moments of laughter while attempting to learn Latin salsa and cha-cha dancing, to sessions of learning while explaining our science research projects, to times of intense contemplation while discussing our religious and scientific beliefs and values, each interaction deepened our relationships and helped us grow to love and respect each other. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a month with such diligent, goal-driven, erudite, and friendly individuals.

The memories from NYSC will last a lifetime. I am sincerely grateful to you and the entire National Youth Science Foundation for providing such a valuable educational experience.

Sincerely,

Nicole Clark, 2010 NYSC – Idaho

Dear Trustees:

I have just returned from an unforgettable experience as an Idahoan delegate to the 2010 National Youth Science Camp (NYSC), held in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Living in a rustic camp in the midst of the beautiful Monongahela National Forest, far from the distractions of technology and usual responsibilities, I was free to study the intricacies of various scientific fields, explore the miraculous nature in the surrounding forest, and develop close friendships with fellow delegates. As trustees of the National Youth Science Foundation, you are an integral factor in the success of the NYSC. I want to express my sincere appreciation for the effort you expend to manage and fund such a quality program.

I am grateful for the NYSC’s commitment to exposing delegates to a variety of career options in the fascinating world of science. Lecturers from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Savannah River National Laboratory, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Google, NASA, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and numerous universities and medical clinics presented information ranging from discussions of science policy to descriptions of the latest research in genetic diseases to explanations of theoretical mathematics. In addition, I was given the amazing opportunities to study human anatomy via a dissection of a cadaver hand and to learn about graduate school by speaking with grad students about their research projects in such fields as cancer biology, epigenetics, and tuberculosis. The NYSC provided many unique ways to deepen my science knowledge beyond the classroom and textbook.

But the NYSC experience included so much more than science education. In particular, the excellent outdoor program enabled me to step out of my comfort zone and explore new activities. I was able to go backpacking along Red Creek in the Monongahela National Forest, white-water kayaking down New River Gorge, and rock climbing in the Nelson Rocks Preserve. I will never forget the breathtaking views of the lushly wooded mountains, rhododendron-filled forests, and starry night skies of West Virginia.

Finally, the beauty ofNYSC lies in the relationships. Interacting with academically advanced students and staff members from throughout the United States, plus Germany, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago, exposed me to a variety of stories and experiences. From moments of laughter while attempting to learn Latin salsa and cha-cha dancing, to sessions of learning while explaining our science research projects, to times of intense contemplation while discussing our religious and scientific beliefs and values, each interaction deepened our relationships and helped us grow to love and respect each other. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a month with such diligent, goal-driven, erudite, and friendly individuals.

The memories from NYSC will last a lifetime. I am sincerely grateful to you and the entire National Youth Science Foundation for providing such a valuable educational experience.

Sincerely,

Nicole Clark, 2010 NYSC – Idaho

On Wednesday, NYSF staff members Andy Blackwood (executive director) and Josh Stevens (education coordinator) will join musicians Peter Mulvey and Brianna Lane on Peter’s annual bicycle-based tour. Beginning in 2001, Peter has entertained the delegates to the National Youth Science Camp with a performance showcasing his talents as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His latest album, Letters from a Flying Machine, includes a song entitled Vlad the Astrophysicist based on an experience at the NYSC.

For more information about Peter and his music, please visit his web site at www.petermulvey.com. Follow their progress at www.blackwood-wv.net/adventures.

Date Town Venue Information
9/29/10 Elkhart Lake, WI Brown Baer Tavern 920-876-3319, Free
9/30/10 Green Bay, WI Riverside Ballroom 920-432-5518 $15
10/1/10 Sheboygan, WI Paradigm Coffee & Music $10, 920-457-5277
w/Brianna and
Nervous but Excited
10/2/10 Milwaukee, WI Urban Ecology Center 6:30pm Early show, kid-friendly
$10 suggested, all proceeds to UEC
10/2/10 Milwaukee, WI Linneman’s 414-263-9844
8:30pm, $14
10/3/10 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon 608-268-1122

Dear Contributor,

Thank you so much for your avid support of the National Youth Science Foundation! This summer, I was given the incredible opportunity to attend the 2010 National Youth Science Camp and meet over one hundred other students from all fifty states and a few foreign. countries. As a native West Virginian hailing from Morgantown, I found an immediate commonality among myself and my fellow delegates-we all enjoyed learning not only about science, but about ourselves and the passions that we may not have even known were there.

Indeed, this camp was by far the most academically-emiching experience that I have bad in my eighteen years of existence. The lecturers that visited us in Bartow, WV, were indeed experts in their respective fields. I was in awe. In my school, lectures were often associated with words such as ”mundane,” ”monotonous,” and ”naptime.” At this science camp, I looked forward to lectures; I looked forward to what new perspective each enthusiastic man and woman would bring to the table. After the evening lecture at science camp about glutaric aciduria in Amish children … or the morning lecture about why most stufffalis apart, my newfound friends and I would talk about certain points and debate. Each lecture gave birth to a new conversation, and each conversation gave me an urge to learn more. I wanted and still want to continue learning.

But as you know, lectures comprised only a part of my experience. Held in smaller groups, directed studies gave me more time to question, debate, and learn. A particular directed study that I think about often is “Medical Ethics,” taught by Dr. Sam Hansley. In a group often, we discussed topics like the meaning of wisdom, the value of patenting genes, and the future blurring of the line between people and machines due to biotechnology. It has been my dream to become a medical doctor, and this directed study opened my eyes to a medical specialization in which I discovered I have an interest: bioethics. Conversations about bioethics inside and outside the classroom allowed me to better understand my friends’ moral standpoints, and these conversations led to the creation of a ”to-do” list of books (ex. Beyond Therapy) and movies (ex. Gatacca) that relate to bioethics and that I plan to study and enjoy. I plan to take a bioethics course in college, too.

These sparks for learning stemmed directly from science camp and would not be possible without your dedication to leading the National Youth Science Foundation. But academia was only half of the picture, for science camp had a rigorous outdoors curriculum as well. Although I am a native West Virginian, I never had the opportunity to experience some of the wonders of this great state before this camp. I kayaked on the New River and explored the inner realms of the Cranberry Glades area, a privilege granted to few. I am very thankful for these opportunities, and they only made me prouder to say that I can call this state my home.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for your generous support of this program. The National Youth Science Camp significantly impacted my life, getting me to think more, question more, and appreciate more. And the best part, without a doubt, was making many friends that will last a lifetime.

Sincerely,

Arpan Prabhu, 2010 NYSC – West Virginia

Editor,

I recently participated in the National Youth Science Camp as an Ohio delegate. I would like to thank the State of West Virginia for their contributions to the camp. I, personally, believe that the experience I had at camp could not be replicated in any other setting.

The other delegates and I were treated very well when we arrived at the Chuck Yeager Airport. We enjoyed sightseeing with our host families and our lecture at the Clay Center. We were welcomed, once again, to West Virginia at the Governor’s Mansion at the end of camp. When it was time to leave camp, we were all tearful. We were not leaving just friends; we were leaving our home.

We had many wonderful experience in the great West Virginia outdoors. We were able to kayak, rock climb, and mountain bike. We participated in three overnight trips in which we were able to enjoy the wilderness of West Virginia as we hiked in many locations, including Seneca Creek, Cranberry Glades, and Dolly Sods. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sleep under the stars with a group of remarkable people who had become a group of lifelong friends. We also participated in out-of-camp experiences that allowed us to experience more of West Virginia, such as picnics at Camp Allegheny and at Cass Scenic Railroad.

My time at the National Youth Science Camp was one of the best experiences in my life. West Virginia has made this camp a memorable opportunity for all delegates. From the unique history and scenery to the monetary contributions to the camp, the State of West Virginia has truly blessed my life with this opportunity, and I am extremely grateful.

Sincerely yours,

Rebecca McGrail, 2010 NYSC – Ohio

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am Lauren Stephens, a high school senior at North Central High School. Recently, I was selected to attend the National Youth Science Camp. I am honored to be one of Indiana’s delegates and I want to thank you for this opportunity. I have attended several camps in the past and I recognize that this event includes not only the opportunity to listen to lectures in all different fields, but also the opportunity to interact and collaborate with delegates from all fifty states and several other countries. Thank you for giving me not only an amazing three weeks, but also a network of mentors, friends, and alumni that will last a lifetime.

As I am going to college at MIT this coming year, it will be essential for me to collaborate with other students and form bonds that extend not only over time, but also geographic distance. I talked with students from Argentina, Germany, Chile and other nations in addition to those from Indiana and other states. The program was amazing, exciting and inspiring. This camp also gave me the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. A significant portion of the program was related nature including climbing, hiking, kayaking, biking, and camping. The program brought together the best of science and nature and allowed me to explore the connections. I was particularly thankful for the opportunity to be outdoors as I will be going to college in a larger city.

I also intend to pass on these opportunities to others. Last year after being invited to attend two other free programs, I decided to give back to the community by starting a free program of my own. I organized three other students to found MathMania, a free one-week camp for middle-school students. Serving as the director for the first year of the program, I realized how much effort, time, and resources go into to making an exciting and fun event. I also bring what I learned from camps back to my peers at my school and in my community. While attending the Research Science Institute last year, I learned the fundamentals of the research project. When I returned, I started a research project of my own. I guided a classmate, Boning Han, through the research process and together our project won a 3rd place award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. I hope this year to serve as a mentor for two younger students should they pursue a research project. If any future delegates would like to speak with someone who has been to the camp – either to decide whether to go or what to pack – I would be happy to help them. The camp is a truly unique experience that is meant not for scientists but for Renaissance men and women. At NYSC I learned about science, but I also learned far more about nature, music, writing, and sports. One lecture in particular on starting a medical clinic in a developing country stuck with me. Combined with stories from the outdoor guides, it has inspired me to try to become EMT certified at MIT. Although I am not currently pursuing medical school, I want to be able to take care of others in an emergency and the camp has shown me another way to do so.

I am deeply touched by the time, effort, and resources the National Youth Science Camp dedicates to its delegates, and I thank you for allowing me to attend. It is a privilege to be selected from all the worthy students in Indiana. The sacrifices that my community has made for me inspire me to try to make the most of every opportunity I have been given. I continue to be astounded by the sacrifices that my friends, family, teachers, mentors, and organizations such as this have made for me. It takes a community to raise a child – and this community has done well. Thank you again for the opportunity to attend NYSC.

Thanks,

Lauren Stephens, 2010 NYSC – Indiana

Dear Trustees of the NYSF,

Thank you so much for making the National Youth Science Camp possible. I realize all the time, energy and passion you put into this program and it really shows through. I had a wonderful time and I got a lot out of the experience. NYSC was a great environment. I got to meet people who are interested in different areas of science. Over the three and a half weeks of camp we formed a community that I don’t think could be created anywhere else; students from allover the country and the world came together to learn and grow through the lectures, seminars and the outdoor adventures. During cabin meetings we did a thing called “Firsts” anyone who did something for the first time that day could share. I had many firsts at camp including backpacking, sleeping under the stars, white water kayaking, advanced mountain biking and swinging from a rope swing into a river just to name a few. That is not including all of the engaging lectures including topics from discussing p-adic numbers to why things break down to addressing genetic disease. I think: my experience at camp made me a more well rounded scientist and person in general. I cannot thank you enough for making this trip and this camp possible. It is an experience I will never forget. I will have a fondness for West Virginia for the rest of my life and I hope to return to the beautiful mountains sometime soon. Thank you for your time and your support. I hope you know we are very grateful.

Sincerely,

Tiffanie Stone, 2010 NYSC – Minnesota

Dear Contributor:

It is with great pleasure that I am able to write this letter to you with the opportunity of looking back at this summer with memories satiated with science, friendship, and an appreciation for the outdoors in the beautiful state of West Virginia.

As I reflect on my three and a half week experience at the National Youth Science Camp, I feel as if I have just eaten a great Thanksgiving dinner, and now am able to lean back in my chair and enjoy that wonderful feeling of fullness and satisfaction. I – along with all the delegates and Staph, constituting a family of over a hundred people – would like to thank you for having spent your time and effort to make this magical event and metaphorical meal possible for all of us.

My older brother attended the NYSC and so I dealt, despite my nagging, with four years of being left in the dark in terms of pictures he had taken and details on specific activities he simply would not reveal behind his knowing smile. When I arrived home from the airpoFt it was time for me to reciprocate that knowing smile, and share with him a truly unique experience in Camp Pocahontas.

Unity and bonding were major themes all throughout camp, as exposure to delegates from literally all around the country as well as international students built connections across cultural boundaries. This summer great insight was gained by everyone into the lives of people with similar passions of simply wanting to understand the world around them better so as to play a more significant role in helping it-whether that be through the field of medicine, physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, etc.

I had never really considered the NYSC logo prior to attending camp, even though I was exposed to it a number oftimes by way of seeing my brother’s attire bought there. Now, however, I have examined it to recognize the symbolism with which it is adorned. All of the different types of objects from varying specialties are shown, weaving and melding together into a circle around the more formal radio antenna and the state of West Virginia’s outline. With these different facets of life shown as a circle, the idea of a cycle occurred to me. As my brother had the privilege of attending so had I, and delegates have the opportunity to return as Staph. It was then that I realized that a cycle is what the NYSC experience should be, with a steady influx of new delegates every year going free of charge, to be welcomed and guided by experienced and enthusiastic Staph.

The energetic, monetary, and temporal championing which propels such a cycle has been provided by yourself, your peers, and your predecessors for the past forty-six years. Thus – along with a sincere thank you on my part for making such an experience possible for me this year – I would like to fervently encourage you to continue making such a spectacular summer possible for the posterity of graduated high school seniors from throughout the nation and parts of the world.

This summer I was taken to a world in partial seclusion, with an air fresh and unfettered by cell phone service or FM waves. Rather than being left with silence in the absence of these technologies, a far more beautiful idea awakened in the cool morning dew resting on the grass and rhododendrons ofa West Virginia mountain, refreshing all who came in contact with it. This idea consisted of real conversations, ones punctuated by laughter and laced with thoughtful pauses; an idea made of overnight camping trips, of night skies whose magnificence is unconstrained by light pollution, of enjoying each day individually and not knowing yet being excited for what is planned for tomorrow; an idea composed of educative and stimulating professional lectures, directed study blocks, and delegate or Staph-directed seminars; and most importantly, the idea that there is magic in the Monongahela National Forest from which are conceived long lasting memories and friendships. The National Youth Science Camp is this idea, and so much more.

I wish I could attend the NYSC for the first time again. Considering this realm of reality, however, my real wish is to see other future students embark on some of the best twenty-five days of their lives as of yet, and probably well on into their future. I couple this wish with another clause directed towards you: Thank you very much, and keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Rodolfo Villarreal-Calderon, 2010 NYSC – Montana

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