We introduced FIRST to the younger generations through our FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams at the Montgomery Upper Middle School. We mentored the Team for two years, helping the students build their interests in STEM and lead them into a high school career. Our Team also volunteers at the Summer Enrichment Robotics Program, where fifth through eight graders participate in one-week sessions about robotics, science and technology.
For the 2016 season our team mentored two FIRST Lego League teams. One of the Teams was called the EcoCougars and the other Team was called the Aqua Cougars. We had numerous volunteers this year that included team members from all different sub-teams who specialized in programming, designing and building the robot, and the logistic components of the team. It was a great opportunity for our team members to not only interact with the students, but also meet many new people from our Team.
The process of creating the presentation was demanding. Our Team spent hours guiding the students in the process of creating a well-rounded presentation. In the final weeks, the programming of the robot took place. It was great to see all of the members of the two teams getting involved. Many of the students had no prior programming or building experience but by the end of the season, they coded like professionals.
One of the teams, the Aqua Cougars, won the Inspiration award at both the Bridgewater District Event and the State Championships in Mount Olive. Our Team was very proud of them, since they were consistently productive and focused throughout the season. Even though the students were very different, we were able to see them grow into young leaders. Many of them are planning to join our Team in the future and coming from all the volunteers, we believe they will be a great addition to the Team because they are innovative and intelligent.