Every year we see many posts here from parents desperately looking for a team that their son/daughter can join. This email will hopefully give you some ideas.

1. The first place to look is at the school at which your child attends. Many schools have teams, but not all. Some schools have EV3's and will say they have "a robotics team", but they aren't competing in FLL. It might be an after-school club or something like that. Be sure to ask if the team competes at FLL tournaments.

2. Some churches and community organizations have FLL teams. These can be a little harder to find because you pretty much have to just know about the team. Although I have seen some public libraries forming teams, which is really cool.

If 1 & 2 don't work out, perhaps work with the school, church, organization, public library, etc, and see about forming a team there. Don't be surprised if they ask you to help coach!

3. There are some "neighborhood" teams which may be associated with a business. Generally there is a fee associated with joining the team in those cases. These seem to be getting quite rare.

4. If none of the first three options work, there's ALWAYS the option of starting your own team. Some teams work out of their garage, or maybe a basement or in that little-used dining room. This is a lot of work, but it is very rewarding and, in my opinion, very much worth the effort. There are often grants available for new teams, which can make it financially a lot easier. By starting a team of your own, you may be able to open it up to other kids in your area that are also looking for a team to join. You can work with those parents and see if they can help you with the coaching.

Please don't think that "you can't do it" or stress over the fact that you may not have ever done anything like that. Or maybe you don't think you know enough about robotics. We were all first year coaches at one point. When I was a rookie coach, I wasn't smart enough to ask the community for help. Many of you that come to this listserv looking for teams are already ahead of where I was in my first year. Trust me, you can do it. The very nature of FLL will ensure you will have no shortage of help from this virtual community, and from other teams. Please, if you can't find an existing team to join, I strongly encourage you to form a team of your own. The FLL experience is too valuable to pass up simply because you couldn't find a team.

Please post questions about forming teams here on the listserv. I'm not kidding when I say there are teams that would EAGERLY offer help with getting a new team up to speed.

Have fun, and good luck.

Skip Morrow
FLL Coach, Norfolk Collegiate


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