Why it's worth it


Team 648 was presenting their team and robot to the incoming Freshmen at Moline HS tonight. We were surrounded by other clubs and organizations involved with Moline. While we only got nine students to sign up, there was one special person that committed to join the team. That person? A 4-year old child. He didn’t know what was going on or what the team was about, but was very entertained by my Vex robot.

This cute little child was following the robot around all night. When the robot moved he followed. As I made it do circles around a pillar, he did circles, too. When it turned around, he backed away. It was so cute, too bad my camera’s batteries were dead.

When I started talking to his father as we were packing up he (his father) committed to his child’s education in science and technology. He wanted to know how early his son could start robotics and what he could do to enrich his son’s education. Unfortunately, there are no FLL teams in the Moline School district, so I had to tell him he’d have to wait for Vex*.

I used to think FIRST was about my learning experiences, but now that I’m out of high school and am a seasoned veteran of FIRST I’ve realized that this organization is about more than my own enjoyment, it’s about the enjoyment of others. Younger people that I inspire. I certainly inspired someone tonight and I’m hoping this story will inspire you, too.

*Today I visited with the local Boys and Girls Club Organization and they were very enthused about starting one or more Vex teams in the Quad Cities, what a busy day for promoting FIRST!

That’s really cool. Just imagine who we can intrigue. If we all started being fascinated and knew about these programs at that age, FIRST would be so large a program, companies would seek out those that were involved in FIRST, especially aspiring engineers.
Way to get FIRST out there!!!:slight_smile: (Especially with VEX, since it’s so new.:D)

Yay for heart warming stories. Whenever we take the Aim High robot out some where we are always followed by a crowd of small children who want to play catch with the big orange bot. Times like that make you remember other things that FIRST is about.

Sounds like you’ve got the first recruit (and coach?) for the new 2011 FLL team.

This is a perfect opportunity to get someone to start a Junior FLL team in Moline. Who knows where it will go from there. Caterpillar has jumped in with both feet in Peoria and this year had 32 (?) FLL teams and their own regional in addition to the four FRC teams.

Same story here. We had ours out before a basketball game and the kids kept chasing it around and catching the balls, then throwing them back into the hopper. :cool:

Yeah, that would be nice and I wish it were that easy. There’s no “Caterpillar-like” interest in the Quad Cities.

There are several FLL teams in the Quad Cities area (Davenport and home schools), don’t know anything about JFLL, though.

I have another meeting with the Boys and Girls Club in May, after I’m out of school to present Vex to them again. I have a feeling there will be a large growth in the number of FVC teams in the QCA. I’m anticipating at least 3 teams within the Boys and Girls Clubs and then one more at my church. I’ll work more over the summer to spread the word more. Our team is going to work hard to promote FIRST (I’ll make sure of it).

Yes you are so right. For me that is one of the reasons FIRST is so fun.

John Deere, who’s Corporate Headquarters are in Moline, Illinois might just take exception to that quote! :wink:

Thats such a cute story!!

I think the answer is there is no age requirement to join FIRST. We have a student who is the brother of one of our juniors. I think he’s 10 now, and he is probably one of the best CAD designers on the team! The night of his birthday would have been a typical robot build night (during build season), and he had told his parents that he wanted to have his “party” at Robotics… he didnt want to go out to dinner, or do anything else, he wanted to be at robotics :slight_smile: Unfortunately, school was canceled that day… but we hijacked the robot and some tools from the locked school and headed over to Harris with a portion of our team. He said that was the coolest birthday ever!

Another even younger story, when I was in high school one of the engineers had a son the year I joined. When the little boy was 3 years old, he would always tell his dad he wanted to go see the BIG ROBOT!! He would come in, laugh & play with the robot, and then sit on the floor in our little makeshift field room and sort nuts & bolts… at 3 years old!

Kids are amazing… and they definitely brighten your day. Never underestimate them!

This is one of my favorite things about FIRST, the fact that any man, women or child can see how amazing and fun FIRST really is.

When MOE dose demonstrations we sometimes bring out or 2001 Championship robot Lil MOE we put a glove on the arm used to lift up the 2001 platform and shake and high five kids hands with it and the kids love it, they walk up to shake a robots hand and some have even talked to it and waited for a reply. It is great that more and more teams are showing off their hard work to younger kids because if you can get them involved in the JrFLL age and they see how much fun it its you will have a kid who can go from jrFLL-FLL-VEX-FRC and FIRST’s mission will be complete.