The Newport Robotics Group (aka NRG 948) is super excited to be going into our 21st season with the #openalliance (we’re not technically a member yet, but hopefully soon!). A little bit about us: our team is based at Newport High School in Bellevue Washington with about 70 members. 2022 was a special year for us, like everyone else, learning how to bounce back from quarantine. We’re looking to get to know other teams and learn from each other! Here are some of our offseason + training season updates to start (it’s a long post, so we’ve split it up into sections) -
For context - NRG Team Structure:
We have mentors and advisors to oversee the whole team. Then, the CEO handles the operational subgroups and subteams while the CTO manages the technical subgroups and subteams. Members are required to join one subgroup but they can join as many teams as they’re interested in.
This summer we worked on leadership training. This included curriculum training/professional development for our VPs and Captains taught by our teacher advisor, as well as lessons on what being a leader means and the commitments of the positions taught by our school’s ASB advisor .We opened up the training to other members of the Bellevue Alliance but the focus mostly surrounded our team. This training definitely tied into teaching our leadership team more about the commitments to being a leader, beyond gracious professionalism. The curriculum training also played a role in the development of our new Knights in Training program as we discussed standards, skills and ways to assess understanding. Our CD post on the training can be found here.
This year, we’ve got an amazing team of experienced veterans, some great new mentors (and of course our wonderful returning ones!), and a group of motivated and eager rookies. Some of our recruitment strategies -
- Morning Announcements + Teams Announcements
- Instagram Posts tagging ASB + Class Offices accounts
- Flyers up at school
- Class Pitches (team members pitch in the targeted classes that are aimed to recruit a variety of talented people)
- Word of Mouth - use those friends you have and get them in!
- Assembly Presentation
- Club Fair
- Team Interest Meeting - Info Presentation + Q&A
- Open House - an open shop marketed towards families to show what subgroup activities will look like in person. (note: targeting it towards families allowed us to recruit members and mentors as well as market towards younger siblings)
- Team Orientation - the end of (active) recruitment we gave them an info dump of team + FIRST info
NRG Recruitment Philosophy: Our team focuses on targeted recruitment. As a typically larger team each year, we aim to recruit a diverse group of underclassmen each year. Targeted recruitment emphasizes our aim to be an inclusive and equitable team. We’re looking to recruit underrepresented communities whether that be a minority social economic class, race, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, grade, etc. This also means we might target recruitment towards smaller subgroups ex. Business or marketing and we want to tailor robotics to get more people with varied interests ex. Graphic designers, business people, writers, etc compared to just targeting AP STEM classes.
Photos from our Team Interest Meeting:
Photos from our Open House:
Team Processes Updates:
Knights in Training (KiT): Knights in Training is a new certification system recently added in the offseason to standardize training in robotics. Each subgroup has three tiers: Squire (Beginner), Page (Intermediate), and Knight (Advanced). Each tier consists of skills and knowledge that team members must demonstrate. As the tier levels increase, the difficulty of the tasks get progressively harder.
Page Level Systems:
Squire Level Systems:
Knight Level Systems
note: there are more skills that didn’t fit in the screenshot for each tier
Under my Shield (UMS): Under my Shield is an adaptation of Team 2412 - The Robototes’s Under my Wing Program and Newport High School’s Link Crew Program. New members will pair up with a veteran from the same subgroup in order to shadow and learn from them.
We will be having 25 training season meetings before kickoff. Our VPs of each subgroup have their own individualized training curriculum plan which we’ll be keeping members updated on each week.
Saturday 9/24 we are having a mock kickoff for Rapid React with the BA (more on the BA below). It’s intended to act as a hook but also an immersive experience for both new and returning members. It introduces them to how FRC works a bit. It’ll refresh the minds of veterans and prepare rookies prior to our 3 upcoming offseason comps (Girls Gen, Bordie React, and Block Party) in October. They can learn and explore what designs actually were used at comp and see which designs were successful. We’re also making attendance a requirement for rookie members who would like the opportunity to be on Drive Team for PNW Block Party. Their learning can also be reinforced through match scouting and a scouting scavenger hunt we’re calling “Chasing Lightning”. We’ll include a debrief of the event in next week’s update!
We’ve been working with the rest of Bellevue Alliance (BA) teams (492 and 949, as well as OA members 1899, 2412, and 7461) to strengthen the alliance and provide more infrastructure for the organization. We’ve also been working on developing a playbook for other teams looking to start their own local alliance. This is currently still a work in progress,
Phew! That was a lot. Let’s hope we have enough energy to keep this thread updated. Thanks to our CTO for writing the bulk of this post. And thank you for reading!
Best of luck to all teams this year!