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Team Outreach efforts - tell me more about this??

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  • Team Outreach efforts - tell me more about this??

    not having had off-season time to practice and learn. They are doing all that at the same time as they are designing their competition robot, etc. Not to mention keeping them on task with the Engineering Notebook (average age on the team is 12- all boys....need I say more).

    My question is about the Community Outreach aspect, service projects, etc. I can't find anywhere that talks about the expectation for teams to be doing this. But I've seen enough word of mouth in team blogs/websites, forum comments (not specific threads yet), and video segments that its pretty obvious it is there somewhere.

    We are a rookie team, started mid-August, so essentially just before Kickoff. We're facing a huge learning curve in general, with having to learn what we are doing with FTC, and learning the programming, etc., and have a very tight schedule for our team (not many days a week available to meet...and 2 of the boys are on a travel sports team so gone about every weekend). I'm concerned how we get Outreach in. All of the boys are involved in at least 2 other programs outside of FTC. (4 are in Trail Life (scouting-type org), and they all are in a sport of some sort that meets 2-4x a week; all are homeschooled)

    Can someone point me to information that explains the FIRST Expectations on this, and is it expected prior to any competition? I might possibly be able to arrange something that overlaps one of the activities that 4 of the 5 boys are involved in- where they can showcase and demonstrate, but knowing the expectation of what they are looking for would be very helpful. (Was thinking either a demonstration for our Troop (we have 100+ kids from K-12); or a demonstration with a homeschool coop group).

    Once we get past this season, I'm sure we can find ways to fulfill this, but time is my enemy right now. Any help would be appreciated!

  • #2
    I'll guess we'll do our best and figure it out as we go along.

    Comment


    • #3
      it sounds like you must have some starting funds. We are a self-funded team, so our outreach is usually in conjunction with fundraising - which we spend almost as much time on as robot building. :-/

      We attend all local festivals, fairs, and events that we can. I don't think there is anything specific you need to do. Just have parts, videos, displays, etc... to let the community know what you are up to & how much the kids are learning. We usually try to stress the real-world STEM skills they are learning - everything from planning, engineering & design, prototyping, task scheduling, teamwork, persistence, problem solving...

      Last year, our rookie year, we had a small robot (similar to the pushbot) & charged $1 for kids (or adults) to play a cup stacking game. We also usually have an NXT robot soccer game - 2 robots on 4x4 rink trying to get the ball to the other guy's side. You can get android control in Google Play for the NXTs.

      Also think about if you have any local businesses using some type of robotics or colleges with a robotics division you could visit. This helps the youth see options for their futures, as well as spreading the word about FIRST & FTC to the community.

      Always take pictures at these events for your engineering notebook!

      Comment


      • #4
        Time can often be a killer. Much of our team is also home schooled and it can be sometimes hard to try to figure out how to work in outreach without having any direct connection with a school and trying to build the robot as well. A good place to start is social media. Make a Facebook page, website, etc. The goal in outreach is to share STEM with our community and social media is a good way to get started. Also try to pay attention to things in your community that your team could represent at. Don't worry about trying to do anything huge yet. If a local school is doing an event ask if your team could come and represent FIRST.

        If you have any questions please feel free to contact us and we will try to get back with you ASAP. It doesn't even have to be outreach related. We would love to help your team to be successful for your rookie season. Contact us at ftcwomc@gmail.com

        Another great resource is the FTC Tec Network. It is a google+ community where you can ask questions from other experienced teams and share ideas. Teams also are able to host live hangouts where teams can collaborate about a specific topic. You can visit their website here: http://www.ftctecnetwork.org/

        Good Luck,
        4234, Weapons of Mass Construction

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by busyb97 View Post
          not having had off-season time to practice and learn. They are doing all that at the same time as they are designing their competition robot, etc. Not to mention keeping them on task with the Engineering Notebook (average age on the team is 12- all boys....need I say more).

          My question is about the Community Outreach aspect, service projects, etc. I can't find anywhere that talks about the expectation for teams to be doing this. But I've seen enough word of mouth in team blogs/websites, forum comments (not specific threads yet), and video segments that its pretty obvious it is there somewhere.

          We are a rookie team, started mid-August, so essentially just before Kickoff. We're facing a huge learning curve in general, with having to learn what we are doing with FTC, and learning the programming, etc., and have a very tight schedule for our team (not many days a week available to meet...and 2 of the boys are on a travel sports team so gone about every weekend). I'm concerned how we get Outreach in. All of the boys are involved in at least 2 other programs outside of FTC. (4 are in Trail Life (scouting-type org), and they all are in a sport of some sort that meets 2-4x a week; all are homeschooled)

          Can someone point me to information that explains the FIRST Expectations on this, and is it expected prior to any competition? I might possibly be able to arrange something that overlaps one of the activities that 4 of the 5 boys are involved in- where they can showcase and demonstrate, but knowing the expectation of what they are looking for would be very helpful. (Was thinking either a demonstration for our Troop (we have 100+ kids from K-12); or a demonstration with a homeschool coop group).

          Once we get past this season, I'm sure we can find ways to fulfill this, but time is my enemy right now. Any help would be appreciated!
          Hi Busyb97! Welcome to FTC!

          Check out the Judging and Award Criteria in Part 1 of the Game Manual. Those are all the things a Judging Panel will look at when they are looking at specific teams for awards. Doing the outreach is the first part, but helping the team become comfortable with sharing the stories about their outreach with the Judges is just as important. It's good to keep in mind that the Judges can't consider what they don't see and hear in the Judging room, or read about in the Engineering notebook.

          Wishing you and your team an inspiring, rewarding, and fun season!

          JoAnn

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Busyb97,

            It sounds like you are about where we were last year as an independent rookie team. We were very busy with learning curve and trying to balance all the parts of what it means to be an FTC team:
            fundraising/looking for sponsors
            doing outreach (helping FLL teams and at tournaments)
            trying to build a robot with few tools and little money
            keeping up with the Engineering Notebook

            It's probably even harder to be a rookie team this year with the new technology platform. Hang in there and do what you have to in order to not overwhelm the team. Do a couple of manageable outreach events that might also bring in sponsors. Let the team members decide what their goals are for the tournament. My rookie team wanted to make sure they had a robot to field and they wanted to finish in the top half of the tournament as well as be a fully funded team. They met all their goals.

            After their competition for Cascade Effect was over, they did lots of outreach, training, and planning for the coming year. We took a break from meeting weekly for about 3 months over the summer, but invested that time with some training camps, outreach, and fun outings. I see it only getting better each year. I know some teams put more focus on outreach than others and even have an outreach coach/mentor.

            One thing I learned just the other day is that outreach can be anything your team does in the community: a field trip to a company, participating in a STEM expo, learning something new from an engineer or other person in the community, learning or collaborating with other FTC teams (I second WOMC's suggestion about FTC Tec Network) as well as any service project. So it is really more than just the team doing stuff for others or sharing about STEM/FIRST.

            Hang in there, it is the hardest fun you and your team will ever have

            Linda

            Comment


            • #7
              One quick and easy way to accomplish some Outreach is to find a local FLL team (check your local school district, some have FLL teams in the elementary schools). Find out the meeting schedule and have some of your kids help the little kids with their Lego robots, programming, and project. You won't need your whole team all at the same time, and can rotate kids through as required. Sometimes, in my case, the bigger kids just help the little kids find the parts from the Lego bins, or give them some advice on the programming with Mindstorms.

              Its quick, easy, and just maybe, might lead to some new FTC recruits in the future!

              We also attend as many community days, fairs and festivals as we can. Any county or local event will usually have areas and tables for local groups and non-profits.

              We always get lots of interested kids from all around who love our Bots but never heard of FIRST. (And neither have their parents). And that's the point, to spread the word of what FIRST is all about, and sometimes to get some new recruits.

              We usually do the outside outreach events in the spring and summer, do the FLL thing in conjunction with the FTC program in the fall and winter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks to everyone who has replied! Very helpful suggestions and I won't stress about it as much.

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