So, I did volunteer and qualify as a "Project Judge" becaucse I had nothing going on this weekend and. I had always been curious about the "First" Competitions I did speek with Dean Kamen proffesionally once and was impressesed by him also. I had never had the time to really investigate "First" before (Although I certainly was aware of it)!
I Love watching young persons celebrate expanding themselves "Beyond" the classron and, have even choached an "Academiic Triathalon" team! I Know that our chidren want to work hard and achieve greatness!
I was much more than impressed by the students and the organized matches! Several presentations "BLEW ME AWAY" As a "Newbie" they teamed me with a highly experienced judge! He was also stunned by several teams presentations!
A few detractions: Posters need to be "In Your Face" Apparently, none of the guaidance in "First" explains that the posters need to be "clearly visable" to the presentees at all times---I'll fix that (I may have just done so) Lunch could have been five minutes longer! Maybe that was my fault for not anticipating the energy of hundreds of bright 4th to 8th grade students- I found I needed a few more calories to permit this old guy to keep up with them all day! (So, when you try it for the first time -bring a "Snickersrs bar"
I was delighted by the teams thought patterns and, I thoughly enjoyed interacting with those budding scientists and scholars!
So, If you ever find yourself "looking forward" to a free weekend day------- WOW! FUN stuff to support! Go ahead and try one and post back!
Glad you enjoyed your first FIRST experience. If you have a lot of spare time (not just the odd free weekend) mentoring is a lot of fun. Like I said though, a lot of time. I was putting in >20 hours a week with my old team. I expect FLL is a little less time commitment than FRC though.
After the new year I plan to start helping out with an FRC team again. I haven't been involved for the past 3 years after I relocated and left my team in Ann Arbor.
A couple of years ago I took part in both FRC and FTC events and did a few training sessions as well. The excitement that some of these kids would get when they figured out a tough problem was contagious. Being the guy with the LabVIEW experience that all these little knowledge sponges wanted absorb put me in pretty high demand at the events I attended. But it was a lot of fun.
I even fondly recall one young engineer that towed her father's line that LabVIEW was inferior and C was "the only way to go." Unfortunately even with her father's expert help one team was unable to get their robot to do anything and faced the prospect of having traveled to the competition only to watch.
LabVIEW to the rescue!
Although there wasn't really any time to get them much for autonomous mode. They were able to at least compete in the Teleop portion of the event, and I do believe they won at least one of the scrimmages. I made some converts that day.
Although I don't do as much of it as I used to, that excitement of making something DO something is what got me into electronics and automation in the first place. I still get excited when it's time to take off the E-Stop and push the big green button. Watching a group of future techs and engineers high-fiving and bouncing with excitement the first time their robot does what it's supposed to was a good reminder for me why I got into this in the first place.