The Core Values developed by FIRST for all FLL teams are first and foremost. If you haven't familiarized yourself with them we suggest you go to our Intro to FLL and our FIRST Values pages before continuing.
For SVNH Kids FIRST having fun is more important than the pressure to compete. Gracious ProfessionalismTM & CoopertitionTM are not just clever phrases. They are the foundation upon which our team is being built. If the kids aren't having fun, we're doing something wrong as parents, mentors and as coach. If you have a suggestion or concern, PLEASE let me know. We need to model the behavior we want to see in our kids. If we have issues and can't communicate and cooperate effectively, we can't expect the kids to do so! FIRST judges teams as much on teamwork and team spirit as on the technicalities of the Robotics and Research Projects.
This is our 2nd year. After an amazing rookie year, we are have a lot to live up to. As our team name indicates, our focus is on fun & learning, not stress & serious competitiveness. That said, there are some things we ask of the kids and families in terms of commitment:
• I am still something of a beginner coach. That means that not only do I not have all the answers ~ I don't still don't even know what the questions are! If you have experience or information, PLEASE share. I am looking for one other adult to share coaching responsibilities, as well as parent/mentors and guest "experts" who would be willing to share their experience, skills and expertise with the team. Even if your skills are not science and technology based, no worries! We need someone to do the t-shirts and other PR materials, someone to take over as liaison with the bank and non-profit administrative paperwork, someone to organize and coordinate snacks, rides and other parental support, AND we need technical assistance with both aspects of FLL: the Research Project and the Robot course. In other words, there is more than enough work for each family to do its share... and then some!
• We expect all teammates to participate. This means graciously doing your part. In football, not everyone can be the quarterback but there is no QB without a complete team. The same goes for our team. The competition judges four areas: the robot mission, the project, robot design and teamwork. The team can negotiate leadership positions within each of these areas but all members are expected to teach and learn from each other. There is no riding the coattails of your teammates.
• We expect families to put real time & effort into supporting & mentoring the team but also into allowing the kids time and resources to work on both the Robotic and Research Project aspects. This is a real investment in our kids and the future that they build. Attendance is vital. If possible, we need to meet more than once a week. Kids need to have access to a computer and an email account with which to communicate with other team members and coach. This doesn't mean you have to own computer or have high-speed at home but you must commit to library or other access. (Team members are welcome at our home where we do have computer and internet access). Please bring a jump drive, a team folder and a notebook to meetings as well as snacks to share.
• Equipment, t-shirts, registrations & entrance fees all take money (or donations). We expect families to fund raise approximately $300 or more each. It is a lot of money but it is doable. Check with your work to see if they do employee matching donations. We have some tools we've developed to help everyone get started if you wish to make use of them.
• Tournaments make for VERY long days. We start early in the morning (to be there no later than 8am) and go all day in a loud and rowdy environment! We will be expected to be wearing a team t-shirt so we can be readily identified. Kids will not be allowed to wander without an adult. (Adults are expected to wear the team t-shirts as well as children so we can easily spot if a child is without a team parent or mentor). All paperwork MUST be completed.
These sound like huge barriers. They are not. We gaining experience as we go along and these are some of the things we have discovered already as guidelines for families to be able to decide if this is for them. If your child was on a hockey team or equestrian program there would be time and equipment investments, same here.
FLL is a sport for the mind! GO TEAM!!!