Here’s the situation.
I’m the head of a robotics club that’s been around for a little over 4 years now. We entered this one FTC-style competition that we worked very hard on despite our busy schedules with school work, and three years ago, we landed at the top 10 best performing teams.
The competition has been cancelled indefinitely. I’m struggling to get the club something exciting to do. While being head last year, I did the wrong move by dedicating less time than needed to the club, and I think I lost the interest of many of the members because we’re not doing anything interesting anymore.
The reason why I want to start from scratch is because of the large amount of younger kids in the club. Many of the members I have to entertain are 7th and 8th graders who have zero knowledge of robotics. At the same time, I have many experienced members from my senior batch and 10th grade. (There are no 11th graders in the club.)
One more thing: I live in the Philippines. Robotics is not a thing here, and there have only been three competitions made in the country. One is already closed for registration. Another’s website is not working. The third one is the competition my club used to join but got shut down. (The government cut funding for it.) We’re not very blessed with money, so we’re hoping for a relatively cheap way to run the club.
What should I do to reboot the club? Should I do simple yet interesting projects? Should I teach them a few basic robotics concept? Comments and suggestions are welcome.
P. S. I don’t have much time. My school year ends in March, and since I’m a senior, I’d like to have this rebooted club to be some sort of legacy. I want to leave the club in a better state than when I inherited it.
What about intramural competitions between the team members?
When our middle school initially launched their robotics program they didn’t have much money either. They contacted a couple of companies and managed to get 5 Lego NXT kits donated to their team. The coach allowed the students to form 4-man teams and set up mini FTC/FJL style competitions between them. It became a really big deal and they even had a ‘team championship’ competition at the end of the year.
If you want more information shoot me a PM and I will get back with you.
Do you have any mentors or school faculty that can provide continuity? How involved are the parents?
If you look at the most successful teams, they are filled with great mentors. Having a strong mentor base can provide the much-needed support for organization and continued funding through the community. Adding parent support will help realize the importance of the program in the school and community.
Show how funding these programs improves the quality of life in the community, how it brings together organizations, and how it will inspire the future scientists, engineers, technologists, teachers, and business leaders of the Philippines.
Especially as you are doing a recruiting drive coming out of a slump, and do not have any local competitions available,
Make it Loud!
In addition to one-on-one recruitments, make your build projects something that will bring in more people, then showcase it at a public or whole-school event with many attendees, in a big way.
Finally getting our air cannon out to our football games last year gave us a great inrush of prospective team members. Your circumstances may vary; perhaps a soccer-playing robot, something that climbs a local landmark, or acts like your team mascot will best draw people in. The bottom line is to make something so cool that a lot of people will say “I’d like to be able to build something like that”, then show it off and bring those people in for the next round of building.
There was a thread recently on recruitment, and there have been several over the years on air cannons, tote bots, and other neat off-season projects, many of which make good show-offs.
Just curious, where in the Philippines are you located (city level)?