I have been on my current team (125) since september. We are not at any means a large team (now, at one point we had over 100 members). I come from a team of extended success (11). Team 125 has one major accomplishment, 1 national championship in 2001. At regionals however, their success is absolutely 0. Never won a regional, never a chairmans, judges, spirit, or any of the other awards. Team 125 has been in existance for 9 years. I was just wondering, are there any other teams out there, who have been in a “awardless” drought if you will?
p.s. - i am not whining or anything, i am just curious to see if any other veteran teams have had such a drought at regionals. the numbers would point you in a direction that winning something should have occured.
A possible solution to this might be to particularly focus your efforts in one area…in a sense, doing a few things really well rather than everything “so-so.” Just because a team doesn’t win many awards doesn’t mean they aren’t a good team; however, awards tend to recognize teams with great features rather than overall solid programs. I would say the important thing is the impact the team has on the people involved, not just the awards that are accumulated (although I will admit that awards are definitely nice motivators ).
I know this doesn’t fit in exactly with the thread topic (no awards vs. no victories), but I felt it has to be said…
48 has never won a regional in its entire 9 year existence, and we never, ever, ever, ever, ever will…especially this year…especially not in Mississauga in 5 days. In fact, I don’t know what I’d do if we ever won. I’m scared to death of winning and would like to keep our drought intact for eternity. I do not wish to anger the robot gods by upsetting the balance of competitive equilibrium and harmony they’ve sought to enforce over the past decade of our existence…
True. I didn’t mean it as a team award in that sense, and I agree it doesn’t really apply to Brandon’s original point.
I was thinking more of the team pride that an award engenders, even one any individual member receives, as something they would be proud to list as an accomplishment, especially since it was a team submission in honor of that outstanding individual.
125 and other teams in a “drought” situation must look at the big picture. We know we are doing a great job in FIRST. This year a lone we helped start 7 rookie teams in the Boston area. We have 5 high schools that we must reach out and help bring to our lab.
We all have a great sense of pride for our team, but who wouldnt want to be recognized for their efforts. I feel bad for this team, constantly watching others win awards, who do deserve it, but never being able to go and shake the hands of the judges, and grabbing that plastic trophy and hoisting it into the air. One would think in their 9 years of existence and regional experience, they would have come away with 1 such award.
As for concentrating our efforts, we have done our best. I feel we have always been in the running for such awards, but, there is always a team who is able to convey their message of FIRST a little better.
But no worries, myself and team 125 are going to go to every regional with the same sense of pride we always have. Like I said earlier, we are by no means a large team, but the amount of pride and trust we have in each other would definalty point you in a different direction…
I think you’ve struck upon an important component of getting recognized for awards - effective and energetic communication. The team members who spend the most time interacting with judges should be those who are best equipped to “tell the story” of your program, your people, and your robot. Some teams will only permit students to perform this task, and while they are certainly the ones who get the most out of your team and benefit the most from speaking to these professionals, they aren’t the only ones with great stories to tell and experiences to share. We feel we have a good balance of participation among all our team members, and therefore, we’ve found good success in involving multiple people in our judge conversations. We often encourage mentors, teachers, parents, sponsors, and alumni to join the students in sharing their thoughts with the judges if they have relevant information and ideas to contribute to the current topic of conversation. I believe this diversity in communication has helped earn us a few more awards than we would have otherwise received had students alone handled all the talking.
Is winning an award such an important thing? Why can’t members of a team just be happy with putting engineering to the test, and every year pumping out a highly sophisticated robot in six weeks?
Sure, awards are nice to shove in the display case, but the point of FIRST is to enjoy yourself. Not every team can win a regional or an award, but everybody can certainly have fun and be proud of the work they’ve done.
Mentoring a rookie team was the best experience I ever had in FIRST; of course, it was cool that 1975 won Rookie Inspiration (I stood up, screamed, hugged the girls, and shook hands with all the judges while wearing my Boston Planning Committee attire), but what was cooler was that I WAS NOT WITH QUEEN AT THE REGIONAL TO HELP THEM!
I was there every meeting during build season, but the girls did it themselves during the regional with the help of ONLY two other college mentors.
I remember the first week when the girls asked me, wide eyed, “Are you here to help us build the robot???” Five weeks (not six, we lost a week) and some major personal credit card debt later QUEEN churned out a rather competitive robot and even more competitive girls. They loved it, they were inspired, they showed up to every meeting, they can fix the robot themselves, they’ve learned to ask questions, use tools correctly, and dream big.
In turn, QUEEN taught me that I can dream big, and helped me re-realize my passion for robotic products.
All I can say is that when a FIRST student leaves High School and becomes a college “mentor” the feeling of seeing high school students work on the robot should be reward in itself. Regional FIRST awards are nice, but if the high school students aren’t supportive of winning it, if they aren’t doing the work, then the team doesn’t deserve to win it, and “how long the team has been in FIRST” doesn’t matter.
NU-TRONS, you had a breakup and rebirth during the 2002 season, so consider yourself a FOUR year old team. Many of the members from 2001 and before are not involved anymore (except George Perna, but he’s cool and he’s one of the reasons 125 survived the 2003 season during the team’s reorganization).
I posted this information because I am a Northeastern Student, and I’d like for the NU-TRONS to be successful in winning competitions and awards, but 125 needs rethink their goals and better align them with the ideals of FIRST before true inspiration and success settles in.
I go to Northeastern, I love it, and since 2004 the NU-TRONS has been heading in a positive direction with their goals. They just aren’t all the way there yet and could use experienced High School students to apply to NU, step up as team leaders, and help them with Chairman’s, awards, and building competitive robots. The NU-TRONS do have potential, but younger college mentors tend to confuse the real purpose of FIRST with “lets go build a cool robot!!”
Team 22 has always been successful. From 1999 till 2005 we won something at either regionals or nationals. but this year we didn’t get anything at the one regional we attended, hopefully we get lucky at nationals!!!
Erin, honestly how can you come on here and directly insult OUR team. I started this thread to point out an interesting observation I have seen since I came to the NU-Trons. I am glad that 1975 was so successful, and that it makes you proud. The NU-Trons are proud for you, and all of the work you did for the Boston Regional. Which turned out to be awesome by the way.
However, the “flaws” in the NU-Trons that you pointed out, are exactly what makes this team unique, and what makes this team not another. Like you so gracefully pointed out, we had a breakup and rebirth in 02, and since then have struggled to keep a constant high school base. We have tried as hard as we could to gain a massive high school following, even if that means reaching out to 5 high schools to gain members. With more high schoolers comes the need for more mentors, so we not only reached out through Northeastern, but through Wentworth and Lesley. It is not easy for a tiny group of people to stretch that far and keep everyone involved, but this year…we did.
As for members changing, and shuffling, look at our base…We are a college based team. Think about your team back home, or other teams based purely in high schools. The mentors are parents and engineers and are able to put time in year after year. In college however, people graduate, get jobs, and just need to keep up with classes. On top of all that, Northeastern has it twice as bad with co-op just because some mentors may simply not be able to attend a build season. However, thanks to George AND Don (our current mentor, who is an awesome awesome guy) we have been able to assemble a core team, and have grown dramatically this year.
As for your comment about being a 4 year team…i guess those 5 previous years just did not happen…And for us college mentors, I honestly want to know what you expect. WE ARE NOT SENIOR MENTORS with a mass of engineering experience, however we are the mentors of the team. We do our best, with the knowledge we have, to show these high school students what FIRST and engineering is all about. The claims you make are based off of what observations?? I recall you being at maybe 2 meetings during the build season. These high school students know just as much about robotics, engineering, and FIRST IDEALS as any other team in the FIRST organization.
For the chairman’s awards that you speak of, this is a very amazing feat only the best of the best FIRST teams are recognized with. If you think I do not know the ideals of FIRST, maybe you can talk to team 11, where we won a chairman’s award just last year.
This post you submitted was a direct hit at me and the other “younger” college mentors. When you come from a high school team, your goal is to particpate, learn, and become an excellent FIRST participant. For the few who have done this, transitioning from high school to a college mentor is no easy feat. At Northeastern, we are under constant pressure from the university to build a “cool robot”, and every year, we manage to build a “cool robot”. This year was a massive leap from previous years, where your participation may have been substantial. We were able to join together many parts and bring them into one family, the NU-Trons. From the high schoolers, who have learned more in a year, than they have their entire previous lives, to the college mentors, who have learned not only to reach out with their hands, but their hearts, to the university, which has learned, that an awesome robot comes 2nd to the education people receive in this program.
FIRST is about not just the high schoolers, however they are a massive part. Without the other parts, the high schoolers would just be high schoolers. What makes them educated FIRST particpants is the mentors, sponsors, and peers coming together around a ROBOT, to learn more than they could imagine…as a group. I hope that you seriously re-read your post, as it is not only critical of our work, but hurtful to those who put COUNTLESS hours into this program.
This thread started a simple observation, and I apologize to everyone, for this argument, but what I said, needed to be said…
being a “young college mentor” we have provided a spark that this team was lacking, a way to motivate the limited number of high school students that are on the team, as opposed to the past few years where there was no team unity. Our driver said this year, and i quote " out of the 4 Manchester’s Ive been to, this is the first that i have had fun at". you may think that we are misguided but according to the kids on the team we are right on track. From talking to senior members on the team this is the first year that there was scouting, people in the stands, knowledgeable kids in the pits, and a genuine interest on the high school part. These kids are now PROUD to be NuTRONS, as well as learning something along the way.
Our team has never won any award nor won any regional but we have been getting more competitive in all fields. I argee in dedicating your efforts to one award at a time. Though our team has never won any awards we have done a lot better. For example we actually have a website the works now.
I definetly agree that having only one or two people talk to the judges can hamper your chances at winning an award. What we do on our team is we make sure that there is always at least one student from each major subteam involved in the conversation with the judges. For example, one time the judges asked me how our shooter worked, and since I designed the shooter, I knew how to explain the mechanism in specific and concise terms. But when they asked the question “How did you program it to track the goal with the camera?”, I didn’t stumble on my words trying to explain what little I knew about the progamming. Instead I directed their attention straight to our head programmer, who, as planned, was standing right next me. This makes for a much smoother and efficient conversation, which is what will make a good impression on the judges.
Another thing to remember is that Judges aften come around to the pits during lunch. So make sure that you always have your main judging crew near your pit to make sure you don’t miss a Judge. At Sacromento, we ate lunch in the stands above the pits and whenever we saw a Judge come by we rushed down to our pit to make sure the Judge didn’t move on to the next team.
It’s been 10 for us, but we always seem to be getting closer. Last year was our first time even getting to the finals, and then this year we got to the finals as well as went 10-0 in qualifiers at SVR. We keep building off of past success and learning from our past mistakes, and the results are very noticeable. One thing our team hasn’t had a drought in though is awards. I don’t know why, but we always seem to win something or another at every regional. This year we actually upped it and won two at each regional.
I think that explaining exactly how your robot works and emphasizing how it is creative and unique is key to winning the judges vote. If you come across as boring or unprepared, the judges won’t remember you, and most likely won’t give you an award for your efforts.