FTC Team Meetup!

We invited other FIRST teams in New Hampshire to our school to present our ideas on Silicon Valley ethics and socialize! As a rookie team, we began the season with only a few connections to the FTC community, and this event was intended to fix that. We started by presenting about Silicon Valley Ethics, then, afterwards, we had a few hours for teams to socialize and get advice about their robots! 

The FTC/FLL meetup is just another example of VERTEX’s dedication to our mission statement educating people with humor and knowledge  along with making hi-tech, FTC, tangible and accessible to people in our community. By our community we are of course referring to the large first community that we are all a part of.  AT the FTC/FLL meetup we reached out of upcoming FLL junior teams through our launch of Part Shop and Kai’s presentation “FIRST: It’s more than the robot game.” By spreading information for rookie teams on first we are breaking down the barriers of those who have information vs those who do not.  During the meetup we also played get to know you games and made sure that every team left knowing another team we see a lot of friendships between teams at the high school level and these kids if they continue with robots will have other friends in robotics. We believe this will also help with the spread of information.

Around 40 people, including robotics students from FLL teams, FIRST Lego League, parents, and coaches turned up for this meet up. To begin by warming up the attention of the students, we started our presentation with ice-breaker games, blow wind blow. As some of the children are quite young, we also provided many snacks and drinks for them. Our representative, Kai, kickstarted the event by sharing our experiences and tips as a rookie team that managed to advance to worlds. They gave specific scouting advice on using the software orange alliance and introduced a parts buying website, Part Shop. Rookie teams often struggle to know what parts would best suit their budget and their budget so we created this to ease their process of ordering.

During the meetup Summer also gave a presentation about Silicon Valley ethics. This was especially impactful due to the number of younger girls in the audience when summer talked about the separation of genders in Silicon Valley. Even though some people think that elementary schoolers are too young to know about the possible problems with the industry at VERTEX we think it is important for kids to know that things aren’t perfect as long as it is presented at an age appropriate level. After the presentations, we took the kids and their coaches up to the lounge and showed them our robot along with the design lab.

They seemed incredibly awed by our robot and workspace, especially our 3D printer and laser cutter! Some of them just couldn’t stop asking questions. The parents and coaches seemed especially impressed by our rookie status. I see future FTC participants in each of them.

As a rookie team, we know what it’s like to just begin robotics. There’s so much curiosity, but so much fear of failure at the same time. Luckily, the process of engineering depends on failing and learning. We hope that the FLL teams that came by today learned from us, and continue on to FTC! Summer gave her presentation on Silicon Valley Ethics again during this meetup, and we hope that the many young girls we saw in the audience were inspired and keep doing robotics.

On a (slightly) unrelated note, later on, a few students from PEA came to check us (and the Design Lab) out! They seemed to be awed by our robot and what it could do – truly showing the inspiration and creativity that comes from FIRST.

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