Bringing in New Kids

[moved from general forum]

Hey guys! After a brief veteran meeting today, my lead mentor suggested that I organize some activities for pre-season (after I suggested that more kids is not necessarily better; he shot down an application idea). We hold weekly meetings starting Oct. 8, which is our school’s club sign-up day.

As my team enters the 2015 season, we’re looking to organize ourselves much more. To be honest, we barely did anything pre-season last year and I want to change that! If you wanted to be in a sub-group, you had to get yourself there.

This year, I’m tentatively suggesting we set up a series of “stations” almost, for each sub-group throughout the pre-January weeks. I think it would help people find what they’re good at, what they’re not, what they enjoy and weed out those not ready for FRC (consider it an application sans paper; I think some people’s abilities don’t show up on forms, honestly).

Sometimes, you have to be put in a group to realize you enjoy it, and it’s good to have a general familiarity with all parts of your team! I was part of the shooter group on my team for two years and had a lot of fun, but when I started scouting I realized I did it much better and truly loved it.

And so, my question remains:

tldr; What does your team do to help newbies find their niche?

(Apologies to those that have already seen this because I’ve posted it in about three threads at this point).

Preseason Outline

Everybody does lesson for the first half of each meeting and a project for the second half of each meeting. Lessons expose students to the breadth of our engineering process and projects help students develop depth of knowledge in one area. Students are given the option of choosing a project from a list of options, being assigned a project from the list of options, or developing a proposal for their own project.

Final build groups will be assigned in December based upon skill level and personal preference (among other things).