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Concur.

Kids on the lower end of the age limit have always been welcome and FIRST is working to resolve their registration system (probably for next year).  I've had several kids younger than 9 on my teams in the past and it's always a gamble.  Some do fine and are contributing members of the team.  Some struggle to understand the concepts but those are few.  The biggest challenges I've seen are attention span and social skills - neither is necessarily controlled by the 8 year old genius but equally important (as genius) to the success of the team.

Sent from my iPad

On Sep 7, 2014, at 11:48 PM, "Tom Welsh" <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:

Based on the nature of the FIRST programs, and my understanding of "comprised of team members no older than the age limit" from the FLL Coaches¡¯ Promise (see below), I recommend that parents and coaches make an individual assessment for each child (under 9) to determine if they are ready for all things FLL.  FLL is a big step and requires kids to "build, program, research, choose a problem and innovative solution, and present at a tournament."  Keep in mind that the overall goal is to inspire kids to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math.  We want them to get a hands-on perspective of STEM - and have fun without being overwhelmed.

That being said, I have had the pleasure of meeting several kids under 9 that are beyond Jr. FLL and indeed ready for FLL.  In those cases, I've been recommending that we treat the issue FIRST is having with their STIMS as a software "bug."  This is a new system for FIRST LEGO League and I'm sure that they haven't had the time to fix all the "bugs" and will eventually allow FLL teams to register kids without the lower age restriction.

VADFLL.org<http://VADFLL.org> does allow registration without the lower age restriction so in my mind it's just a matter of time before the larger FIRST program fixes their logic flaw.  Until then we've registered several 8 year olds as being nine until the issue is resolved.  So bring on the youngsters and please make sure they have fun!

Thanks,

Tom Welsh
Nova Labs Robotics - Founder/Head Coach
FIRST Robotics Teams (4 FTC teams, 7 FLL teams, and 3 Jr.FLL teams for 2014-2015)
http://robotics.nova-labs.org<http://robotics.nova-labs.org/>
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

FIRST¢ç LEGO¢ç League (FLL¢ç) Coaches¡¯ Promise
1. The children come first. My role as a Coach is to inspire my team and help them get excited about science, technology, and engineering. This means that I will step in to guide and support them when they need it, but I will make sure my team¡¯s robot, Project, and Core Values materials are the work of team members.
2. The children do the work. Adults may teach my team new skills, handle logistics for the team, ask questions to get team members thinking, and remind them of the FLL rules. Team members are the only ones who decide on strategy, build, program, research, choose a problem and innovative solution, and present at a tournament.
3. My team is:
¡ã comprised of 10 or fewer members and all team members participate on only 1 FLL team per season.
¡ã comprised of team members no older than the age limit in my region on January 1 of the Challenge year.
¡ã registered as an official FLL team.
4. FLL will communicate with my team via the primary email address I provided when I registered my team. I am responsible for reading and relaying all aspects of FLL guidelines and rules to my team, other Coaches, Volunteers, and parents.
5. I will encourage my team members, other Coaches, Volunteers, parents, and team supporters to develop and practice a set of FLL Core Values that reflects the FIRST goal to change culture in a positive way by inspiring others through our team¡¯s actions and words.


On Sun, Sep 7, 2014 at 2:42 PM, VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Here's a post in the FIRST Forums

http://forums.usfirst.org/showthread.php?21769-New-screening-process&p=83668#post83668

This coach says, "One other local coach mentioned that parents with children under 9 were not able to register for an FLL team. I contacted FIRST and was told that they can be manually added to team rosters and that a paper waiver form will need to be filled an submitted for these kids at local events."

In Virginia-DC FLL, you have to provide the ages of your team members twice--once on the FIRST website, and once for VA-DC FLL registration. I haven't heard about a lower age cutoff on the VA-DC site.

Steve Scherr
VA-DC FLL Referee Advisor

On Sat, Sep 6, 2014 at 8:38 PM, Shari Robinson <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
I have a pair of 8-yr-old team members moving up from my Jr. FLL to FLL, since the bottom
age level in FIRST has always been soft.  Using the stims registration process, however, shows
them to be ineligible based on birthdays.  Based on the way FTC has worked, I would like to
assume that they will need to bring paper consent forms to competition.  Is this a correct
assumption?

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