HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Air, Space and Missile Defense Association hosted a luncheon at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center July 5 in honor of its 16 Space Camp scholarship recipients.

Six of the scholarship winners are children of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command employees, and the command's commanding general was the guest speaker for the luncheon.

"This program is truly a one-of-a-kind experience," said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, SMDC commanding general, to the students. "Space Camp teaches teamwork, decision making and leadership -- skills that will stay with you long after you leave here."

The weeklong Space Camp scholarships are awarded to 9- to 11-year-old students whose parents work at SMDC, Joint Forces Component Command-Integrated Missile Defense, Program Executive Office-Missiles and Space, Missile and Space Intelligent Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering, Aviation and Missile Command, and the Missile Defense Agency. The campers came from the local area, Fort Greely, Alaska, and the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Victoria Lambos, 11, from Colorado Springs, Colo., said she loved the exhibits.

"I just really enjoyed learning about the different shuttles and seeing all of the life-size exhibits," said the seventh grader. "It's so cool! There's nothing like it."

For camper Aditi Limaye, 11, a sixth grader in Madison, the history was the best part.

"I thought it would be a good experience to live on my own and to learn about outer space," Limaye said. "A lot of this isn't taught in school, but it is so important to Alabama history."

Formica ended his speech with some tips for success for the campers -- service to others, never quit, stay active and read.

"You don't have to be strong, or brave, or perfect to do well; just persistent," Formica said. "When something doesn't happen as planned, don't give up. You've got to keep trying. And finally, take advantage of your time at Space Camp: test your limits, ask questions, and most importantly, have fun!"