I totally agree- this needs to send over to FIRST. What a touching email! And to send out some behind the scene thanks- Thank-you to Karen for organizing the tournaments in my area. What I do as a coach is great and personally touches the lives of my kids, but none of it would be possible with out people like Karen, Eric and Dominick! A big thank-you to you organizers :) These stories belong to you too! Regards, Brandy On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM, Haydee Cooper <[log in to unmask]>wrote: > Wow, Eric, that is one amazing e-mail/essay! > I seriously think somebody from First should put it up on their website. > > Haydee > > *From:* Eric Palmer <[log in to unmask]> > *To:* [log in to unmask] > *Sent:* Sunday, November 18, 2012 9:50 AM > *Subject:* Re: [VADCFLL-L] Parent Involvement/Expectations Contract > Sample? > > Great question. This is very personal for me. I have cried, yelled and > screamed, and ranted in front of my family (never in front of the kids, > other than the crying part), and swore that I would quit FIRST. But…… > I’ve notice that with all volunteer activities for parents that maybe 15% > commit 95% of the time and effort involved. This is a fact of life and is > unfortunate but is not likely to change much. > Each coach has to make his or her own determination about invested time > and return on that investment. > > For a little history > - coached FLL first time in 2006 and had 6,7 and 8th graders (my oldest > was a 8th grader) > - coached my youngest again in 2009, 2010 and 2011 > > I've had the privileged to observe and in some cases work with, team > members from past teams and I do run into many of them and their parents > routinely. Feedback is uniform and always amazingly positive about the > outcomes. FIRST changes lives for the better. > > Most of the team members I have kept up with are outstanding young people, > and many personally thank me, as do their parents, for the experience on > FLL. I have seen some of these kids grow up to and go to college. Others > are seniors in HS this year and as well last year's team is 7th, 8th and 9 > th graders. > > My own assessment (and that of their parents) is these kids are much > better off having been on FLL teams. I will tell you I and my assistant > coaches worked on core values, teamwork, decision-making, critical thinking > and other related skills a lot. I count that effort as having a big impact > on the maturity of the kids. > > So what does this have to do with parent involvement? Again, my opinion > only! Parent involvement matters less than being an aware coach and being > active in molding the kids. Good parent involvement does make the time > commitment a little less for the coaches. > > Honestly if I had know how much work there was in coaching and how > difficult parents can be, I would not have coached my first team. Going in > naive was good for me. When I was done with the season I knew I would stay > involved. I had to wait for my youngest to age up some but I knew. But > first after each season was over I told my family I was done with coaching. > That lasted about two weeks till I had the sense that my time was little > cost compared to the maturation of the kids. > > I've had parents that were perfect, parents that I never saw, and ones in > which I wish I would never see at meetings or anywhere (and had to ask them > to not be so involved). I even had one parent that I only saw at the > regional tournament. He came up afterwards and said matter-of-factly “I > wouldn’t have been so negative if I had known what this was really like and > how good it is for my son?" All I can say about that to myself was “Duh!” > > After the first year I did get to where we had frank conversations before > season with each parent. We talked about parent involvement needs, > commitment on the team, and what other activities that each kid was > committed to during season. I used a contract, but that was more about the > commitment of the kids and not the parents and as well was about the team > fee. I even turned away a few for lack of commitment. Not sure it > mattered because parent commitment varied anyway. > > Some of my difficult kids and parents have resulted in: > > - a shy quiet young man, when asked what was the best part of the season > "I found my voice" > > - My most difficult first team member: ran into him at a FLL tournament > when he as a senior in HS. He came up and hugged me and said with tears > streaming down his 6’3” frame: "I just wrote an essay on the topic of the > person who has made the most difference in my life and that was about > you'. He is now in college after having a successful HS career. > > - My youngest first team members are seniors in HS and are > captains of the FRC high school robotics team and are model young men. > > I could go on and list out a lot more. All of this is worth it. I > haven’t even mentioned the benefits to my two girls. > > And now that I’m done coaching, I am glad it is over because it was a lot > of effort. But I would not trade it for anything. And yes I'm still > involved. I judge and help to organize a FLL tournament. And I have moved > my time commitments to FRC (the big robots) for a HS team and as a > tournament volunteer. I recruit others to FLL actively and I occasionally > take a new coach under my wings to guide them through the difficult process > of coaching. > > So please don't let difficult parents stop you from continuing on with > coaching. FIRST robotics changes lives in so many ways. And if you are > done, please keep FIRST going strong. Volunteer and recruit and judge. > Eric Palmer > On Sat, Nov 17, 2012 at 8:49 PM, Lori Hand <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > > That is a really good question. I was lucky to have 2 assistant coaches > who > helped a lot. Yet still there is so much planning,coordinating to be done. > I > am completely DONE for a while. Half the parents did not help at all. I > am > not sure they said thank you. > In my sheet, I requested the parents to volunteer for 1week of meetings. 8 > weeks, 8 meetings I was thinking. Yet half the team's parents did not, > even > with repeated emails , volunteer for anything. I can not lie, the next > time > I pick a team, the amount of help a parent gives will matter, if we I do it > again. > > One way to know, is to organize a club / or other meetings to get a feel of > which kids /parents work out the best. FLL is an all volunteer effort and > I > feel that many parents do not help out at all. Oddly enough, these parents > are also the ones who complain the most. So my thought is this - > make your time a complete "Gift" of time and since your child is in it, > count it as your time to help your child and live with whatever the parents > have to offer. > Or select a team that includes consideration of how much others can > contribute and make it a prerequisite with a failure to do clause. > At our coop preschool, if you do not coop, its $30 per class. A fee gets > involvement fast ,generally speaking. I KNOW its not about the $, but for > many that will give you the kids /parents that are serious. A parent won't > sign up if they can't help. > > The down side is that a great kid might get left out. > > Coach Robotic Ninjas > Glen Allen VA > > -- To UNSUBSCRIBE or CHANGE your settings, please visit > https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-l.html and select "Join or > leave the list". > > -- VADCFLL administrative announcements are sent via > VADCFLL-ANNOUNCEMENTS-L. Visit > https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-ANNOUNCEMENTS-l.html to > subscribe. > > > > > -- > About Me <http://about.me/ericpalmer> > http://www.thingiverse.com/DaddyOh > Join the 3DPrinter Revolution > http://makerbot.com/ > > To UNSUBSCRIBE or CHANGE your settings, please visit > https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-l.html and select "Join or > leave the list". > VADCFLL administrative announcements are sent via VADCFLL-ANNOUNCEMENTS-L. > Visit https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-announcements-l.html to > subscribe. > > > ------------------------------ > To UNSUBSCRIBE or CHANGE your settings, please visit > https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-l.html and select "Join or > leave the list". > VADCFLL administrative announcements are sent via VADCFLL-ANNOUNCEMENTS-L. > Visit https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-announcements-l.html to > subscribe. > -- To UNSUBSCRIBE or CHANGE your settings, please visit https://listserv.jmu.edu/archives/vadcfll-l.html and select "Join or leave the list". -- VADCFLL administrative announcements are sent via VADCFLL-ANNOUNCEMENTS-L. 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