In my school robotics is a small club that is virtually unknown to the rest of the 5000 students. Our school lets the baseball and football teams have many different fundraisers yet they don’t let our robotics team sell anything (except candy, the other teams sell bagels and other stuff). I began thinking to myself, I think robotics is much more beneficial to teenagers than most sports. Through FIRST we learn to be competitive, resourceful, and how to work as a team. The main difference between us and every other competition is that FIRST exemplifies gracious professionalism, FIRST teams are not about making fun of other teams and rooting for them to fail, on the contrary we help and cheer for other teams. Yet this club receives little support from our school administration. I wish our robotics team would be supported more by our school. In the yearbook most clubs have full pages with many pictures while we have a tiny picture with over 50 people in it on 1/4 of a page.
I was wondering are any other schools like this?
Has any other team conquered this kind of obstacle and have become widely known and supported throughout the school?
My School is exactly like that. Our team is actually a club, that was originallly made to participate in Science Olympiad Competions. This Club called SECME has been doing Science Olympiad in our school for the past 10 years. Last year a FIRST team was put in our school.(Our rookie year). Now, our club originally had limited funding and when the school found out that we had changed the club to participate in FRC, they did not approve. Ever since then we’ve been funding for ourselves without any aid of the school and been working out of a math portable.
Last year, when we started out it was just a room full of students with ambition and a Geometry teacher who didn’t know anything about robotics. We never had any mentors (and we still don’t). We are a student-based team that learned robotics by ourselfes, and somehow managed our finances with the 3 sponsers that we have.
It’s not that the school can’t afford sponsoring us, it’s just that they don’t care.
-Well that’s the sad horrible truth that is team 1694. Hopefully things will get better next year because we will be getting more sponsors/fund-raisers.
During the past two years more than have of the pre-season was spent fund-raising in school in order to pay the Competition entry fee. And our school still only lets us sell small snacks like Candy and Chips.
My main suggestion to solving your problem would be just to go directly to its source.
Identify what you feel your team needs to run better in the school. More funding? More space? More ability to fundraise? More publicity to student body?
Think of a couple of people who have a bit impact on this. Use your connections to the student government, to teachers that are department heads, to coaches, whatever. One item at a time, I’m sure you’ll thrive.
Come up with creative ideas. Like using your 2006 aim high robot after school. Shot balls and have people catch them, give them a candy or something like that. It will help you advertise your club.
The best way to do is to keep in touch with your Principal and School Activity Director. I know marketing can be really hard, but you’ve to “bait the hook well, so fish will bite.”
Also its always good to have parents involve in your club, like a parents booster club or something. Administrators listen to parents more than the kids or teachers. These are just couple ideas, I’m pretty sure CD users have more
let me know if you need any more help. You are more than welcome.
On the other hand staying on the DL might help you get better quality members. Instead of everyone who just wants to put robotics on their resume or whatnot you’ll get the students who will really take interest and become key members on your team.
Here’s a suggestion for the yearbook -
buy a ad. Make it a robotics team page. We’ve been doing this for a few years now. We feature the graduating seniors and the FIRST robot, usually sneaking that picture in right before crating (literally) and the tight little yr.book deadline.
Our yearbook page is paid for by a donation so far but should become/be a budget item at some point. See if you can get a few parents to go together for the donation. For us, the monies and pictures have to be in by January no later than ship date cough. (At our Back To School Night, we have the yearbook open to the ad with the robot there for show and tell along with brochures and flyers.)
For more exposure within the school, rallying school support, spend some time figuring out how you want to market yourselves and what you want to emphasize - then find ways to promote that as Genia suggests.
I think this really brings up a good point, and I’d like to address that in terms of your marketing, because it is an advantage.
Market the club to the school admin as truly challenging and rewarding, something that isn’t just a club. Invite the people to a meeting, let them participate a bit in brainstorming, or show them how a robot works. Both the administration and other students will see that it is a difficult activity, and you may just be able to reach out to more students, at the same time as maintaining the image of a time-consuming club which may detract from some lazy students joining. It’s an issue that comes with prominance, but if you plan now you’ll know how to deal with it.