We on MOE have done things the same way for a few years now, and this is how we do it…
In the spring, after nationals are over, everyone basicly takes a breather for a week or two, while waiting for our tools and robot to arrive back to our shop in the crate. When we get everything back, we prepare for our first offseason competition of the year, PARC. Also, since we are a team made up of students from many schools in the area (14 different schools this year), we bring MOE on tour. Basicly, we set up demos at all of the local high schools, and go do demonstrations to try to recruit people for next year. That keeps us busy until school lets out in June.
Over the summer, we have a few subteams with set tasks to work toward. For instance, this past summer we had a team working towards community outreach, trying to find new ways that we could get in touch with the community, a segway team, which was working towards a working self balancing scooter, and a top secret “superdrive” team (sorry, can’t give any details). Since these were simply subteams, it allows for those who want to keep going to do so, and those who need a month or two break to get what they want too. Also taking place during the summer are numerous demos at museums, tech summits, etc.
Then, when school starts up in late August, we begin our season too. MOE University is in session. We have undergraduate level courses for the new students such as machine shop training, drive train basics, sheetmetal shop, pneumatics, animation, web team, electrical, programming, mechanical design. Basicly, it gets the new students aclimated to what we’re doing, and exposes them to all of the different aspects of the team that they can get involved in. These undergraduate courses are taught by a combination of mentors and returning students. There also also graduate level courses that the returning students sign up for. Some are continuations of summer projects, and others are further developments for the robot, web or animation. Once the new students get their machine shop training, they can also join in on the maintence of the past season’s robot for the offseason competitions to come, since the demos really take a toll on the robot. Once the offseason competitions and classes conclude at MOE U, it’s mid December, and it’s everyones last chance to rest up before it all starts again.
Hope this helps.