I would like to add this to the discussion. It was a thread that was started in our team fora in our team website, LASA Robotics.org, and we included it in our “ABOUT” (us) on the home page.
This is a quote taken from one of the posts by our lead mentor, Mr. Bertucci, that I think helps explain our growth and development as a team and leads to a few thoughts about the Servant-Leader aspects of our team:
After having had the year that we have had, I find time to reflect on how we have gotten here and where do we go from here? I believe that we have come here because we have adhered to the concepts of leadership and service while applying a good work ethic and a consistent effort.
2009 was a big year for LASA Robotics and it gave Mr. Bertucci and those of us who have been with the team for a while, time to think about, and reflect on, what helped bring the achievements and successes to the team. As the team has grown and matured over the years into a veteran team and role model for our community, we’ve realized that the Servant-Leader description/philosophy dovetails nicely with many aspects of our team that have always been valued and, hopefully, reflected - by our membership. By including it in our website in the section about us, we are inviting those who want to know more about LASA Robotics to have additional insight into our core values. As the founder of LASA Robotics, Mr. Bertucci, led the team alone for a few years before he began gathering mentors, parents, alumni, supporters and sponsors, who have stood by the team through thick and thin through the years, and who have helped to strengthen our core values and share them with the communities that we are all a part of.
I have a couple of thoughts that I’d like to share regarding how we, as a team, mentor new members and help them understand the value of our core and the integrity of the team:
It’s Not Easy Being Green
sung by Kermit the Frog
It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
But green’s the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean
Or important like a mountain
Or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder?
I am green and it’ll do fine
And I think it’s what I want to be!
I’m not sure why these lyrics sprang to mind when I began to try to find words to describe working with teenagers and parents that are new to the team. Mr. Bertucci and Danny Diaz are probably not going to be happy that they said I could talk about the core values. It will make sense (at least to me) in a little bit, I hope.
Being on LASA Robotics means that there is continual change, year in/year out due to the fact that the students on the team are in high school and as they enter the team, often their parents do, too. When they graduate, their parents often leave the team with them. We think of it as cyclical and we’ve learned to understand the cycles and to try to maximize their strengths and work with the weaknesses that continual change brings. Part of that is presenting the new members with a clear understanding of what our core values are and will be through their time on the team. Our hope is that the values come to mean something as the members develop into veterans and eventually alumni of the team. We have often heard that being on LASA Robotics is a lot different than belonging to other clubs or organizations. Some of the parents have told us that they appreciate our travel rules and expectations; that they know they will be followed and met, by and large - and that there are consequences.
That said, there is a huge learning curve involved when core values and team expectations and rules are new to a student or parent. Like all things, some catch on pretty quick and some catch on more slowly. Some never catch on. We’ve learned over the years that that doesn’t mean the core values, rules, guidelines change; instead, they remain a constant during the change. Here’s the tricky part - change, itself, will season the values, allowing for tweaking - finding the strengths and weaknesses, as the team continues to develop and mature. That is what takes the green (or purple in our case) from ordinary blending and changes it into being cool and friendly-like and it’ll do fine: taking the time to understand your core values and realize that they are important to the develop of the individual, the team, and perhaps, the community.