My team is planning an exhibition event. The idea is that teams can bring their prospective members to this event and see all of the cool robots from nearby schools. They get to talk to more students from other teams and possibly even see what competition matches look like. Getting to see other robots gives new members a better idea of the diversity of robots and how different teams operate. In a less stressful environment than an off-season competition, current team members will have more time to explain stuff to new members rather than just saying “you’ll pick it up as you go” as we do all too often. We will have robots for prospective team members to drive (in a controlled environment), and music and dancing like at competitions.
I’m posting this because I’m interested in hearing people’s opinions of the event. Do you think it will be worthwhile? (the event will happen even if the consensus is no) Do you have any suggestions for other activities we can do to bring in new members? We are always open to suggestions.
P.S. - This event is very low budget (~$50) so please keep price in mind with your suggestions.
No matter the price, I think the concept of an event like this is fantastic! It sounds like a great opportunity for new students joining FIRST, and even veterans of the program (in which they can learn more about other robots more in-depth from the actual teams).
My only question would be the type of environment the event is aiming for. Is it meant to be relaxed and casual, or a bit more on the serious side (while still maintaining a level of seriousness less than a competition)?
I don’t think organizing events to help new and prospective team members feel more comfortable on the team, learn about the program and network with other teams is ever a bad idea. Team building is a big part of FIRST and this sounds like a great idea to do so.
On the notes of the other two people that commented it will also acclimate those new students to FIRST to the environment conducive to the Regional/District compettiions. Don’t worry about the budget of the event just try to have everyone talking and getting to know each other. If you see anyone just standing around, go over introduce them to a team member/vice versa. Above all make sure everyone is having fun!
Thanks for all of your suggestions. The environment of the event is supposed to be as relaxed as possible. Off season competitions can often be stressful and it can give the impression that robotics isn’t fun. We are trying to show new members that robotics is fun and rewarding, even though at times it is stressful. Any more ideas on how to do this are appreciated.
Also, if anyone (person or team) in the Philadelphia area (or farther if you want) wants to come, the event will be on November 10th, 2:30-4:30 at Cheltenham High School. PM me for more details.
That’s fantastic. Do you have a list of events already planned out? I think it’d be a great idea to have something reminiscent of a beauty pageant. Teams can sign up to present their robot. People gather in a crowd, and one by one, each team brings their robot out on a cart. With each robot, one person from the team is allowed to woo the audience with [strike]their voice[/strike] their robot and why they think it’s unique or special. Specifically, they can describe the internal properties and functions of their robot.
Reading back, it sounds over-the-top and silly, and it might be a pain to coordinate. But hey, it sounds like a fun (even educational) experience. At least, I think so.
The goal of this event is not to be another off season event, but to be more educational for new members. At all of the off season events I have attended, a few members (none of them new) get to drive and work on the robot, and everyone else sits in the stands and cheers. Usually smaller pits means only the bare minimum number of people get to be in the pits and see the robots. All of the new members end up sitting in the stands, watching robots they don’t know play a game they don’t understand.
This event would allow new members to get a better idea of how these robots work, and what makes them special. Instead of hearing people cheering and screaming in the stands, they get to hear other high school students talk about the robots into which they poured their heart for 6 weeks. I expect that this method of acclimatizing new members will be more inspiring and more rewarding (measured by # of returning new members) than a traditional off season event. If I were a new freshman thinking about joining the team and I saw all of these robots up close and how happy all of these students are because they joined their school’s team, that would encourage me a lot more than seeing robots from far away doing something that I don’t understand in a way I don’t understand.
Many teams allow their new members on the drive and pit crews during off-season events (and the preparation leading up to them). I’d wager most of the drive crews at Duel, Ramp Riot, Girl Power, and BE aren’t the same drive crews that were used in the previous competition season.
We also have mostly new drive teams at our off season events, but they are usually people who might be driving in the upcoming season. Excluding the unlikely scenario that a new member would be under consideration for the drive team, very few of our new members get to drive the robot or work on it in the pit (even if they are in the pit with us). Even for those who are driving or in the pit, they often see the commotion and stress of competitions, not the fun team building experiences of build season. This event would allow new members to see both how the robots work, and how being on a robotics team can be tons of fun.
We are in MAR, so we will be at Springside Chestnut Hill and Westtown (and then MARCMP at Lehigh and then St. Louis). Sadly we don’t have the funds or resources to make it to any nearby regionals, otherwise we would likely see you at the Greater Pittsburgh Regional.
I think this is a very good idea, It’s been stated over and over that getting rookies introduced to FRC is always a good thing. However the first thing I thought of is that an event like this would be a perfect environment for training sessions and workshops. It was always hard for me to attend any workshops as I was usually very busy at every event. With something like this, there would be a more casual atmosphere for everyone to relax just a little more.
That sounds like a good idea, and it wouldn’t cost anything if someone volunteers to run it. Sadly, we don’t have enough teams signed up yet to do any substantial workshops. Maybe if we do it again next year and have a larger attendance we can plan ahead to run some workshops.
Side note - if you are one of the teams I sent an email to asking you to RSVP, please do so ASAP so we know how many people to expect. I can guarantee it will be fun. (not really but you get the idea)