Steve is always right and quiet involved, considering his stamina and dedication. As a volunteer, we consider every team is successful. After all FIRST and other STEM based organizations have set pathway towards sound learning and filled void where schools cannot provide.
Please look up for other STEM based activities in the School (Science Olympiad ) and the Department of Defense/ARMY website https://www.ecybermission.com/
We thank all Teachers, Coaches and educators for making FIRST program a self-learning fun program without making it very competitive to solve every game challenge. When kids solve it new Stars are born, lets see those sparkling star.
My two kids had fun doing FLL and continued either FTC or FRC and learned core values of FLL and regularly volunteer or mentor through either their College or High school.
Retired FLL Coach and FRC Mentor
Volunteer & Regional Judge - eCYBERMISSION
GMU/Fairfax Tournament Coordinator
(AD: Seeking Volunteers for GMU/Fairfax Tournament)
This is so well said, I think I might forward it to all my team members and their families. I keep talking about the endpoint being to have a good time and to learn something you didn't know before. We will always have "rookie teams" bc the robot was bought by our school's PTA and in an effort to include as many students as possible (and not have a repeat team) we can't really have that continuity required to get "very good" in any one area. That said, it's hard to perfect a team or have them learn from mistakes, etc, so we (my husband and I) as coaches are really in it for the fun and the love of it, and not to win any awards. Of course, it would be nice but we are not devoting all of this time every week for that as a goal. While I am absolutely certain the kids feel the same way because they are having a blast, I'm not always certain the parents of the kids feel the same way. It's unfortunate but unless you become involved you truly don't have an understanding of what a great, rewarding experience this could be, for the kids AND the coaches!
-Penny (team 2237)
Well said, Steve!
On Oct 2, 2015, at 4:50 PM, VA-DC Referee Advisor wrote:
There have been a lot of helpful and informative replies to these questions, and I just wanted to supplement those with some Core Values observations.
FLL creates an annual Challenge as a way to spur interest and excitement in teams about robotics, solving problems, and applying technology to achieve goals. Teams only get a limited time to work on the Challenge in a competitive way, and that focuses interest, and introduces some real-world engineering constraints. (This is the way that all FIRST sponsored robotics programs work.)
As it says in the Coaches' Handbook, teams learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals. The Core Values include:
We learn together.
What we discover is more important that what we win.
We have FUN!
It is true that FLL tournaments have a competitive element--that adds some spice to the mix. But what I'm looking for as a referee or judge is that teams are competing with their own personal bests--to do the best that they ever have with this Challenge. Our goal in putting on tournaments is to allow the teams to "show what they can do"; they've worked all season long, and this is our opportunity to see that and celebrate what they have accomplished.
There is, officially, no such thing as losing an FLL tournament. There's a participation award for every child (and often coaches), and most of us long-time volunteers recognize that this is the most important award that we give out. The experiences that the team has are the real long-term reward for the work they put in during the season. (And many coaches have heard from me that the most important part of the tournament is not when the teams meet with the judges and referees...)
Yes, we do have awards to recognize excellence, and to provide an additional incentive and inspiration for all teams to do their best, and the hierarchy of tournaments is part of that structure. But you'll see that the journey really is its own reward.
So, if your team goes to a tournament and is not invited to advance to the next level, is that all there is--are they done? Not necessarily.
There's probably a break, to relax and get over any disappointment. But after tournaments, team members are often full of new ideas, that they are eager to tinker with and try out. We hope that they continue to improve their skills with robotics, and problem solving, and sharing their experiences with others. We encourage teams in areas with multiple tournaments to attend one before or after their tournament, just to see more ideas, and stay excited. There are also opportunities to attend via the internet, locally and around the world, if you aren't able to go to one in person, and to be in the audience for FTC, FRC or other robotics events. Or mentor a Junior FLL team!
As Nick Swayne said, there is some interest in friendly events in the springtime; I know that there are some opportunities already, and teams can organize and host a friendly get-together with another group.
FLL and intellectual pursuits are like athletics--if you totally stop doing things at the end of a season, you'll get rusty, and need time to get the kinks out the following year, but, if you stay active in related activities, you can continue to improve skills, and round out your abilities by trying new things.
That's more than enough philosophizing for today. In just one more month, we'll have tournaments underway, with teams talking about what they can do now that they couldn't do before, what they are most proud of accomplishing, and what makes the judges and the other teams say WOW!
Virginia-DC FLL Referee Advisor
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