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Hands-on, Mind-on

Meghan Hinsch and Ben Rasmussen, both children of Technical Sergeants in the SD Air National Guard, take measurments of substances for an experiment during the summer session of STARBASE at Joe foss Field, SD May 26. (Air Force photo Master Sgt. Nancy J. Ausland - released)

Meghan Hinsch and Ben Rasmussen, both children of Technical Sergeants in the SD Air National Guard, take measurments of substances for an experiment during the summer session of STARBASE at Joe foss Field, SD May 26. (Air Force photo Master Sgt. Nancy J. Ausland - released)

Senior Master Sgt. Donald J. McLeer and his daughter, Madison, call sign Skittles, measure a solution to be used to make slime during STARBASE summer session at Joe Foss Field, SD May 26. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Nancy J. Ausland - released)

Senior Master Sgt. Donald J. McLeer and his daughter, Madison, call sign Skittles, measure a solution to be used to make slime during STARBASE summer session at Joe Foss Field, SD May 26. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Nancy J. Ausland - released)

SIOUX FALLS, SD -- On the last day of school most kids are thinking about swimming, sleeping in, and hanging out with friends. The last thing on their minds is to voluntarily go back into the classroom. Yet that's exactly what some National Guard kids are doing.

STARBASE is a place where kids have fun while learning about science, mathematics, technology, and engineering. The summer session of STARBASE was offered to dependants of the South Dakota National Guard and ran for four days on May 24 to 27. The activities were directed towards kids going into grades 5-7 in the fall and were free.

This great opportunity only required a ride to and from the base and that they bring their own lunch. They have a jam packed curriculum and cover topics such as; physics, chemistry, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The goal of the summer session is to go through the basics and help kids get a jump start on their education.

When asked about her STARBASE experience Madison McLeer, daughter of Senior Master Sgt. Donald J. McLeer, HQ South Dakota Air National Guard, had this to say, "I love it. It's really awesome! I've been learning about stuff that I will probably be learning in school, that I am getting a head start on learning now. The teachers and the helpers are really nice, and they're always willing to help us. I'm really happy that I've been able to be in STARBASE. I want to go every year I can!"

STARBASE is a worthwhile program that helps kids explore the wonders of space and matter. Its educational value is only matched by the fun that the kids have while learning. The education that these National Guard kids acquire while at STARBASE will continue to fuel their desire to learn for years to come and potentially turn them into the great thinkers of tomorrow. All in all it was a great week for the kids. They learned something new, made friendships, gained teamwork skills, and most importantly had fun.