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Unread 03-30-2013, 11:42 PM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

"Creating a Chairman's submission" isn't about trying to win an award. It's about purposeful documentation of your program that will help you maintain proper focus on the ideals that drive the program and will help you plan for growth, provide PR materials to communicate the program to the community, and so much more.

If you just focus on it that way, maybe a few years down the road you win that blue banner ... or maybe you don't.

Without this type of focus, how are we supposed to change the culture for the better?

(I'll get off the soapbox now, just search for my name and the word "chairman's" here and I promise you'll find wayyyyy too much to read on the topic )
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Unread 03-30-2013, 11:44 PM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by MysterE View Post
By the time you've reached the level of a 1114, you suddenly realize that the team has become so much more than the banners received. While the Banners initiate the outreach, eventually, the outreach becomes the Banner.
Really great way of putting it
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Unread 03-31-2013, 12:29 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by Rich Kressly View Post
"Creating a Chairman's submission" isn't about trying to win an award. It's about purposeful documentation of your program that will help you maintain proper focus on the ideals that drive the program and will help you plan for growth, provide PR materials to communicate the program to the community, and so much more.

If you just focus on it that way, maybe a few years down the road you win that blue banner ... or maybe you don't.

Without this type of focus, how are we supposed to change the culture for the better?
Rich this is perfect. My team has submitted for the Chairman's Award each year, precisely because it is one of the chief ways we have to stop and take a look at what we have done, what we are doing and what we want to do in the future. It forms the basis for our goal setting for the next year.

Sure it can be frustrating not to win. If you see winning only as getting that blue banner it can be downright devastating. (My signature is what I tell the kids about this.) Some years, like this one, when you get feedback that basically says "You did a great job but we thought this one other team was just a little bit better" I even have to remind myself to put things in perspective, But the process of putting together a Chairman's Award submission has a lot of value to the team, even beyond the goal setting and the documentation. It can attract a different kind of kid to robotics.

And remember, the stuff you do in outreach is not just something to impress the judges or even just something you do in order to be good members of your community. Those things can have a huge impact on your team. We now regularly get new kids each year that are a part of our FLL program, which is helping our team to grow and improve. Whenever we do a demo or some sort of outreach we get at least a few people who are interested in joining the team or parents who want their kids to join. Some of the those people have gone on to become valuable team members.

And if you have kids who want to win and don't see any value in submitting, have them watch Chariots of Fire. There is a scene in which Harold Abrams says "If I can't win I won't run." and his girlfriend response "If you don't run, you can't win.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 12:40 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by DonRotolo View Post
This may be controversial, but if you are doing something just so you can win chairmans, you are doing it for the wrong reason.
YES!

The Chariman's Award should not be a goal, it is a recognition.

I don't mentor because I want to win the Woodie Flowers award, I mentor because I absolutely love teaching, answering questions, and inspiring others.
(Well also I'm just hooked on FIRST. I swear, I can quit whenever I want!)

Do good things, and the awards will follow.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 01:14 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by DonRotolo View Post
This may be controversial, but if you are doing something just so you can win chairmans, you are doing it for the wrong reason.
I don't think you're going to be treading the water with this statement. I don't see any other way of describing the approach other than wrong. Chairman's is a recognition that your team is a true embodiment of what a FIRST team should be like. Doing things for the award is not an embodiment of what a FIRST team is about.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 05:57 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

If there were to be a requirement associated with the CA, instead of submitting one, teams should be required to read the submissions of the other teams that were recognized. Maybe there should be a digest or precis of each event's submissions for this purpose so that the self-assessment aspect of them is demonstrated to the rest of the teams. Either or both procedural changes would help raise awareness of the importance of the CA. After all, attending teams see the results of the other teams' designs and construction in the robots already. They should get the chance to appreciate all the other efforts in which CA winners have engaged.

We have an Engineering Inspiration award. Teams should come to understand that the CA is another name for the culture-change inspiration award.
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Last edited by Bill_B : 03-31-2013 at 06:00 AM. Reason: read it over and thought of the C-CI
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Unread 03-31-2013, 06:12 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by Bill_B View Post
After all, attending teams see the results of the other teams' designs and construction in the robots already. They should get the chance to appreciate all the other efforts in which CA winners have engaged.
One of the best ways to do this? Talk to them! Seriously! Go to the team's pit - if they don't have a multitude of binders, handouts, and other materials to show you, any EI or CA team will certainly have passionate members who can share their efforts with you.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 06:55 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by dcarr View Post
One of the best ways to do this? Talk to them! Seriously! Go to the team's pit - if they don't have a multitude of binders, handouts, and other materials to show you, any EI or CA team will certainly have passionate members who can share their efforts with you.
And the way to motivate your team members to do this is ? ? ? ? ?

The education process in primary schools is to require the study of language and arithmetic. If we expected 7-year olds to appreciate the value of being able to converse and compute on their own, the illiteracy and innumeracy of the population would be far greater than it is now. It isn't that there is a lack of available sources. It is more a "lead a horse to water" problem for the defeatist or indifferent attitude. How can we cure the feeling that if I'm not already good at it, further effort is not going to help?
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Unread 03-31-2013, 10:32 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by Rich Kressly View Post
"Creating a Chairman's submission" isn't about trying to win an award. It's about purposeful documentation of your program that will help you maintain proper focus on the ideals that drive the program and will help you plan for growth, provide PR materials to communicate the program to the community, and so much more.
Amen Rich!

I remember trying to answer the "Why even bother...." question during my team's rookie year when we couldn't even win the award. Even after that, there were conversations asking the same thing but we always produced one. These submissions provide the team with an annual opportunity to take a look at what it as done and share it as a story with the FIRST community. It has always given us an opportunity to look at what we do and compare it to the mission and values of FIRST. This has really helped us to grow as a team and has allowed us to develop our own way to participate.

So I guess my answer to "Why even bother..." is that it will allow your team to create framework for how it will measure its own success in the FIRST community. Keep the inspiration going, have fun doing it, and you're on the right track even if you don't win the award.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 01:24 PM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by Bill_B View Post
And the way to motivate your team members to do this is ? ? ? ? ?
I think it comes from having a team culture of always trying to do better and be inspired by those who are further along the path to greatness. As an example, this year my team did not win the Entrepreneurship Award we were hoping for, but the students who worked on the award were eager to go down to the pits and talk to the students on the team that did. FIRST is special because everyone is in it together and I've never come across an award-winning team that wasn't open and excited to share.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 01:45 PM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

This is a great thread, and something I have thought about for years, ever since we started submitting for Chairman's in 2007. I don't think we'll ever win the award. We are a small team, and just not capable of the kind of level of outreach that I think Chairman's demands. But I'll tell you this - when we started this process back in 2007, we did very little outreach. Now, we do robot demos regularly at schools, museums, corporations and community events. We mentor FRC and FLL teams. We volunteer at FLL events and last year sponsored our own FLL event, which we plan to do again this year. We just learned that we are getting a grant to start new FLL and JrFLL teams in our area next year as well. We volunteered with our sponsor Comcast to help rehabilitate homes in need of cleanup and repair, and are planning more such community projects. We have stronger relationships with our sponsors, doing demos at their offices and inviting their representatives to attend competitions (which they do). We attend off-season competitions, which we didn't do before 2007, and operate year-round instead of just from January to March.

Did we do any of this to WIN the Chairman's Award? No. We did it to make our team a stronger, better team, one that does more than just build a robot together. Has it made us a stronger, better team? Clearly.

Will we ever win the Chairman's Award? I don't know, and I don't care. What we will do is continue to work together and grow as a team, giving our students a variety of experiences they wouldn't have had otherwise. That's what I care about. If in the process we happen to win the Chairman's Award, or any of the other awards that I think just submitting for Chairman's puts you on the radar for (like EI, which we won in 2010), then great. That's just icing on the cake.
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Unread 03-31-2013, 08:57 PM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

I haven’t posted in a long time, but this is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot this year. Mostly because we, as in 148, decided (for various reasons) that we were going to submit a Chairman’s Award this year for the first time in 3 years, and actually put effort into the submission for the first time in 8 or 9 years. One of the main reasons for this is because the team can feel the change we are making in the community and we thought “Why aren’t we submitting? We really are changing culture here.” We found that the hardest part was putting that feeling into words on paper, or pictures in a video, or getting those feelings across in a presentation. Now I’m certain that these struggles are not unique to us, just ones that we haven’t had before since we haven’t really been putting effort into a submission. But these struggles are what really made the experience worthwhile to us.
All of a sudden we started to put together quantitative data of things we felt like were important aspects of the team. As soon as we started listing these facts and statistics a lot of us had a bit of an epiphany. We knew we were doing things to inspire students, and create excitement in a small town about something other then football, but we really didn’t realize how big the impact was. For us submitting, and pretty much knowing we weren’t going to win, was OK because it made our team bond stronger and made us all proud to be Wranglers even more then we were before.
Selfishly my favorite part of our Chairman’s effort this year was, to help us decide who should present at competition we made each student on the team present their favorite team memory or just say what the team meant to them. I was crying most of meeting, because hearing those stories reminded me of why I’m here, and why I believe in this program so much.
So that is my limited experience with why I think Chairman’s submissions are a great part of the program. Even if we have no chance of winning ever, I now know how valuable the experience can be.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 12:49 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

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Originally Posted by Bill_B View Post
And the way to motivate your team members to do this is ? ? ? ? ?

How can we cure the feeling that if I'm not already good at it, further effort is not going to help?
If anyone in the entire world has answers to these questions. PLEASE TELL ME! As a math teacher who constantly faces these challenges every single day, I completely understand where this is coming from.

My response is that sometimes it's up to the mentor to provide that motivation. Teaching someone how to wire a PD is not any different to me as teaching someone to keep going even when the going gets tough or it seems all hope is lost. That's part of what we're doing. Tell them it's going to be hard. Be there sitting next to them while they work on the essay or executive summary or presentation. Talk through problems with them. Show them winning Chairman's Essays (then they don't have to physically move because that's hard for teenagers sometimes). Show them videos. Simbotics's video from last year constantly inspires me and my team.

/Awkward segue to the real question/ Our team submitted Chairman's Award for the first time this year. It was so hard. But so was the first time we built a robot 2 years ago!!! If it was easy, every single team in the whole world would submit it. But it's not and the lesson of never giving up is extremely powerful. Sure, the first time you submit it might not be the best but a team's first robot also is often not the best robot they produce. Learning and growing and improving, that's what FIRST is about.

To piggy back on a lot of other wonderful answers. Chairman's provided us an opportunity to really nail down the things that we are really strong with and help us focus on the things we need to work on. We just finished our 1 Regional of the year yesterday and already have 4 goals for next season lined up. Also, it helped push us to be more of a full year team. We do outreach throughout the spring and fall. We plan to do parades this summer.

Finally, Chairman's Award connected us with teams and people that we never would have connected with otherwise. FRC Team 2220 from Eagan, MN also submitted Chairman's this year and we worked closely with them throughout the process. Our team now considers them genuine friends. It also connected us with Renee Becker, the wonderful MN FIRST Senior Mentor. Through her we met tons of other teams. It's like a tree. From that Chairman's root, our connections and outreach and goals and team pride and focus have all grown.

So to answer the question "Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?", my response would be another question "Why even bother building a robot if we're not gonna win?". The answer to both? To learn and grow.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 03:05 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Kressly View Post
"Creating a Chairman's submission" isn't about trying to win an award. It's about purposeful documentation of your program that will help you maintain proper focus on the ideals that drive the program and will help you plan for growth, provide PR materials to communicate the program to the community, and so much more.

If you just focus on it that way, maybe a few years down the road you win that blue banner ... or maybe you don't.

Without this type of focus, how are we supposed to change the culture for the better?

(I'll get off the soapbox now, just search for my name and the word "chairman's" here and I promise you'll find wayyyyy too much to read on the topic )
I definitely agree with you on this!

It has long been our feeling that you don't do things to win Chairman's—you do things because they're the right thing to do. Honestly, if your team is participating in activities solely to put it in your Chairman's submission, you're probably doing it wrong. That's like not committing murder just because it's illegal and not because. You should help other teams, inspire students, and bring about positive change in your community because it's the right and good thing to do, not because you want to take home a blue banner. But maybe that's just me being a little too naively altruistic.
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[Brunswick Eruption]
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Unread 04-01-2013, 03:22 AM
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Re: Why even bother submitting a Chairman's Award if we're not gonna win?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexa Stott View Post
committing murder just because
Well, that escalated quickly

Very good points
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