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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 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
[log in to unmask]

*FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) 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:
▲ comprised of 10 or fewer members and all team members participate on only
1 FLL team per season.
▲ comprised of team members no older than the age limit in my region on
January 1 of the Challenge year.
▲ 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]>
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]
> > 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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