Our Journey: Tribal Council Recognition and Validation


An old man was walking along a beach surrounded by hundreds of washed-up starfish. As he walked, he came upon a girl throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. The old man looked bewildered and asked, “What are you doing?” The young girl replied, “I’m saving stranded starfish.” The old man chuckled aloud, “There are hundreds of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?” The girl picked up another starfish, gently tossed it into the water, turned to the man and said, “I made a difference to that one!” Starfish Proverb

As a small non-profit organization, we understand that making a difference in an underserved community can be challenging. Creating a large event or program seems like a a great way to make an impact, but getting people to sign up and show up can be difficult. Sometimes it’s necessary to create little impacts, and to start with a small group, or even just one individual. Working with one child over many years helps to create a long-lasting relationship. Over time, the bond that forms builds more of an impact than a one-off program or event. As time progresses, a relationship also starts to form with the community. The overall impact, therefore, expands from an individual to an entire community. In this very way, we started helping a small group of girls – sending initially three children per year to Space Camp for the past three years. This in turn cultivated a relationship, where tribal members have said we are now “family.” In the end, we presented at the Pascua Yaqui tribal council, not because we did anything different, but because we’ve consistently helped one child at a time, thus creating a higher degree of improvement and larger social impact.

(Social impact increases by helping more people, or by helping a smaller number of people to a greater degree of improvement. We can increase our social impact by helping a small amount of people to a greater extent and in ways that have long term benefits.*)

The Beginning

Three years ago we started sending Native American children, mostly Pascua Yaqui girls, to Space Camp. Our goal was to send three children for three years, and to keep adding three more children every year. Thus far, we’ve awarded 9 scholarships.

To say there has been a learning curve is an understatement. We were unable to procure funding to send as many kids as we had ambitiously hoped for, but we still accomplished our three-year goal. We persevered, continued with fundraising, and learned not only how to motivate children learning STEAM, but also the many challenges for children who have never left home, never been apart from their families, and never been on an airplane before.

It has been exciting and rewarding watching our scholarship winners board a plane for the first time and visit the airplane’s cockpit. They are now seasoned travelers who can navigate airports and find their connecting flights with confidence.

Tribal Council Recognition and Validation

We were honored to present in front of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal.

At the council meeting, it was powerful to see the moving and emotional reception that these children received. The council members expressed how proud of them they were and how inspiring they were to both adults and kids. They praised their courage and were supportive of their journey and futures stating, “This gives me great hope to see the first Yaqui on the moon. So hopefully you’ll get there, or Mars, or anywhere else you want to go.”

Will these kids go on to become astronauts, aerospace engineers, or experimental physicists? We don’t know, but what we do know is they have already had a positive affect on those around them and their tribe. They have become role models. They have become our first Taking Up Space ambassadors.

Forward Thinking

Thank you to Aimee Young for coordinating and mentoring our STEAM project

We are ready to start new projects and can’t wait to bring science to even more Native children. Our hope is to spread the love of curiosity and critical thinking while inspiring children. We know we can accomplish our goal with your help and support.

Thank you

Thank you Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council, Pascua Yaqui Parents, Pascua Yaqui chaperones – Melissa and Naomi, and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe! Thank you to all of our donors, especially Tucson Federal Credit Union and Space Hipsters.

To donate click here: https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/1530675

*”Can one person make a difference? What the evidence says.”
By Benjamin Todd

Congratulations Class of 2019!

The kids did great! 👏 Congratulations to Sole and John for successfully completing Space Camp on team Capricorn,

and Saydee for completing Aviation challenge Mach II on team Black Hawk!

Thank you to everyone who helped them get to Space Camp! 🙏

A special thank you to our sponsors: Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Space Hipsters, and Tucson Federal Credit Union.

STEAM Art Project

“Our future lies with today’s kids and tomorrow’s space exploration”

This year, we received special funding to take a very unique individual to Space Camp. John is nine years old, is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, and is very interested in both space and his own cultural roots.

Since John was three and a half, he has been involved with traditional dancing. He would like to train to become a Temasti, which is the highest spiritual leadership role he can attain in the Pascua Yaqui culture, earning the respect of the elders.

John asks lots of questions and is very curious.

He also loves to read and sing, and is in his church choir. One day John started coming home with space books from the library and told his family that he wanted to become a NASA scientist.

“He’s like a sponge, soaking everything in and always wanting to learn more.”

Naomi Escalante – John’s mom

Congratulations John on your first plane trip and for successfully graduating from Space Camp!

(Photo Credit: Naomi Escalante)

To help the kids, please donate here – https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/112574644767835624/charity/1530675

About Susan

It is such a treat to showcase one of our biggest supporters, Susan Roy.

How would someone describe you?

I’m a person who pursues her passions, which often turn into obsessions. I’ve always been obsessed with space travel. I went to U.S. Space Camp in the 1980s, during one of the first sessions offered to adults, and wrote about it for Savvy magazine. I’ve witnessed a Shuttle launch. Five years ago I went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center where I visited Mission Control and sat in Gene Kranz’s chair. That (metaphorically) launched me into my pursuit of all things space, including taking a Zero-G flight.

What are your favorite activities?

Meeting Apollo astronauts and traveling to important space sites, from  Kennedy Space Center to the Cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. I’m proud to have stood on the launchpads from where we Earthlings launched the first human into space (Baikonur) and sent the first of our kind to the moon (Pad 39-A at KSC). I’m working on a book about the history of our space program and my experiences.

Girls should be taking up MORE space!

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

Earning my master’s degree in architectural history from Columbia University, and publishing a book based on my thesis about family fallout shelters during the Cold War (“Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack”).

Who has influenced you?

Rusty Schweickart, the Apollo 9 astronaut who got the rare opportunity to spend five minutes outside his spacecraft with no tasks to accomplish. He chose to absorb everything he could, and years later gave a phenomenally touching, inspiring and profound talk about his experience. It’s called “No Frames, No Boundaries” and you can find it at rustyschweickart.com. It’s a beautiful description of the cosmic perspective. The lesson: Keep looking up!

What’s surprising about you?

I’ve spent twenty-five years in New York working as a magazine editor, on a variety of titles (SELF, Avenue, This Old House, Allure, Continental Profiles, and more).

Why are you supporting Girls Taking Up Space?

Girls should be taking up MORE space! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give a young girl an experience which she otherwise would not have. It will expand her perspective and open her eyes to remarkable possibilities. Ideally, it will change her life.

As the Taking Up Space program director, I am personally indebted to Susan. While relocating to San Diego, I was considering putting the program on a short hiatus. Then in June, while celebrating the Apollo 11 anniversary in New York, I was lucky enough to meet Susan Roy. She struck me as a quiet person with a kind smile. We were invited to the University Club for the Apollo 11 luncheon, and it was there where Susan lent me her ear, and did something I never would have expected. I told her I wasn’t going to send the Pascua Yaqui girls to Space Camp in 2019, because I hadn’t yet raised the funds. Without hesitation she said, “I’ll donate.”
I think my jaw dropped. With her help, I could then go to the tribe and ask for matching funding. It was Susan who motivated me, it was Susan who believed in the cause, and it was Susan who helped brush off the dust to get us started. In as little as two months, with the help of individual donations, the PY tribe, Space Hipsters, and Tucson Federal Credit Union, we raised close to $9,000. Unbelievable! I’m still scratching my head at all of this. We leave in a few days, and I couldn’t be more in awe of the overwhelming support. All in thanks to Susan Roy.
Czarina Salido

Meet Mark

We are honored to have Mark Pestana as one of our donors. It’s a privilege to be supported by this outstanding human, and we think you’ll agree.

How would someone describe you?

People have described me as multi-dimensional… using both sides of my brain. I love science and engineering, and the technical aspects of aerospace subjects, having been a pilot and space operations engineer. But I also love being an artist. I have been inspired throughout my life to depict my interpretations of the beauty of the natural world, our planet’s place in the universe, and humanity’s reach for the stars.

What are your favorite activities?

My favorite activities are flying, creating art, hiking and backpacking in the wilderness, and being with my family.

My wife and daughter are scientists, and I wish all girls and women are afforded any opportunities to develop and contribute their intellectual talents in the aerospace field.

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

I’m proud of two different aspects of my aerospace career. First, as a US Air Force pilot, I logged over 200 combat reconnaissance missions, collecting vial intelligence which contributed to the fall of communism and the Soviet Union. In contrast, as a NASA space operations engineer, I’m also proud to have served in the development of the International Space Station, working in Russia with our partners in this bold, multi-national experiment.

Who has influenced you?

My influences and inspiration come from caring and supportive parents, teachers, mentors, as well as the great explorers of land, sea, air and space, some of whom I’ve had the honor of meeting and knowing. Knowing Neil Armstrong, among many astronauts and test pilots, is among the greatest influences.

What’s something surprising about you?

When I was 9 years old I was illuminated by the light of a nuclear explosion in space, a test over the Pacific Ocean while on a family vacation in Hawaii. I have flown NASA research aircraft directly through the eye-wall of hurricanes. I climbed the highest mountain in the continental US after artificial hip replacement surgery. Some of my paintings hang in the Pentagon and in the Russian Mission Control Center, Moscow…and my art orbits the Earth, in the form of Space Shuttle mission patches I designed and are displayed on the walls of the International Space Station.

Why are you supporting Girls Taking Up Space?

For too many millennia, women have been marginalized and stereotyped regarding their potential in the STEM subjects. My wife and daughter are scientists, and I wish all girls and women are afforded any opportunities to develop and contribute their intellectual talents in the aerospace field. Attending Space Camp is one of those activities that serves to inspire, motivate, and promote the confidence it takes for girls to pursue these interests.

And the Winner is…

Congratulations to Julian David Stone!

Apollo XV astronaut, Al Worden, Emily Carney, Space Hipster founder, and historian and educator, Lois Huneycutt, announced the winner of the Luciana Vega American doll and her collection – a retail value of $300.00.

Our sincere thank you and appreciation to the Space Hipsters who raised $4,340!

A total of $8,950 was raised for our Taking Up Space program. The funding will pay for this year’s scholarship winners, and the rest will roll over for next year’s Space Camp scholarship winners. All proceeds go directly to registration and travel to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Sole in Space… Camp

Hello, my name is Sole and I’m 11 years old. My favorite thing about space camp is doing the missions and learning about what the astronauts did on their missions.

When I give talks it feels good, but I kinda get a little shy, but I still do it.

When I grow up I want to be a doctor for kids.

I don’t know if I will become an astronaut, but if I end up walking on Mars, I will be thinking of you all and how much you helped me. THANK YOU!

Help the Hipsters Help Us

For Today Only! We have a matching donation offer. Any donations that comes in today will be matched up to $400! 7/31/2019

The Space Hipsters are attempting to raise enough money to send a Native American Girl from the Pascua Yaqui tribe near Tucson to Space Camp. Last year they raised $600 to help send three girls.

With the support of Space HIpster's

This year they have a very ambitious goal to raise $2170, the full cost of sending one girl.

With every $10 donation, you get your name entered once into the drawing to win the “Luciana Vega” American Girl doll and all of her Space Camp gear (retail value $300).

Send your donations via PayPal to HistorianMom@gmail.com. We will take donations until midnight (Cape Canaveral time) Friday, August 9, and our drawing will be held on Saturday, August 10th.

Luciana Vega with her flight suit, space suit, starry jammies, dress up outfit, and a casual outfit for space camp!

Luciana Vega with her flight suit, space suit, starry jammies, dress up outfit, and a casual outfit for space camp!

Re-posted from the Space Hipster group on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/spacehipsters/permalink/2538719266172941/

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