I apologize I am just seeing this post now. I am a mentor for Lightning 1444 in Affton. We should be able help you with whatever you need. We’ve had our share of rough seasons over the years, but we’ve made it through and we’ll make sure you get through too! 1706 in Wentzville and our “sister” team, 4329, in St. Charles are also very helpful.
We can get you going with the kitbot, basic electronics, and some basic programming. We can certainly spare some time in our machine shop to help you build some mechanisms. I like the idea of going with something like the 118 Everybot or some other simple design. We have built several field elements and have a decent practice space you are welcome to use when the time comes as well.
Please reach out to us at email@example.com.