I agree. In our area, the challenge is generally released the first week of
school each year when too many other flyers are being sent home. This past
year, I finally got the reigns of our Elementary School program and did
spring registration for a change. The odd thing is I don't know if it
gained us much extra time, if any. It's hard for some people to commit to
something several months in advance when they don't have a handle on how bad
sports practices and such will be. It's virtually impossible to get kids
together over the summer as their vacations and camps all overlap. Also,
everyone is very distracted in the first week or two of school.
Our Middle School program has it harder, though. Along with all the
aforementioned challenges, the rising 6th graders are coming from several
feeder schools, only one of which even has an FLL program. The first
quarter of 6th grade is pretty challenging for most kids and they are
worried about overcommiting. We still somehow ended up with a bumper crop
of 6th grade recruits this year.
So it seems no matter how hard I try, we still end up with a 6-8 week FLL
season. Other school systems (VA and elsewhere) that start in late August
or use a year-round schedule have a small advantage on us, I would think.
But to balance that out, the 80-20 rule applies in FLL as it does in life in
general - 80% of the work gets done in the last 20% of the time. I'd bet
that most teams meander through the first couple of weeks and then knuckle
down at the end so an extra week or two up front wouldn't make that much
difference. We have been living (and in some cases thriving) with this issue
for years, so maybe it isn't such a big hairy deal.
Unfortunately, moving the fall tournaments a couple of weeks later would
force them to post-Thanksgiving and you'd have to move states into January.
I'm not saying that's a bad thing, mind you, just different.
The schedule may have very limited flexibility. The challenge has to be
released all at once worldwide and I have no clue how schools work in the
other countries. My best guess is that our regional tournament dates were
simply picked as the latest dates that didn't hit Thanksgiving.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Blanpied" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] why november and december for tournaments
> I'll be curious too. I assume that FLL regionals and state tournaments are
> in the fall to allow the international tournament to fall within the same
> school year, or to not conflict with Odyssey of the Mind and other such
> things in the spring, but that's just a guess.
> The timing does create a challenge for school teams. My first two years I
> coached an elementary school team. The school would send announcements
> about FLL in the introductory package, which families would receive around
> Labor Day. By the time forms were returned, teams formed, and a first
> meeting scheduled, we were into late September with only about 6-7 weeks
> left. I pleaded for the school to solicit interest and form teams in the
> spring, so that we could meet a bit over the summer to get to know each
> other and begin work on background skills (robot building, programming)
> and begin to explore the theme topic in a general way, but no dice.
> Perhaps a compromise would be to move the fall tournaments a couple of
> weeks later, and shift States to after the holiday, but who knows.
>> I have a question about the timing of our tournaments. Why do we
>> have our tournaments during the busiest time of the year November and
>> December? There must be a reason and I just don't know. It would seem
>> to make more sense to have them later after we have had time to get
>> situated in the school year and not during the holiday season. I was
>> thinking March and April.
>>Fuqua Bot Boys
>>Formerly X-treme Lego Bots
>>Formerly Fuqua 4-H Robotics
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