Team Duct Tape held its first official pre-season meeting last week, a combination CAD education session and Kickstarter fulfillment session, to create the duct tape gifts promised to donors, as well as the gifts for our “Guess the Game” Game winners. Both sessions went well!
This year’s pre-season meeting served as a refresher for last year’s students, and as an intro for a couple of incoming members, whom we’re excited to have on board. Koen comes to us with some VEX experience, and Jacob, although new to FIRST, plunged right in earlier this year at outreach events.
Next week, Jacob and Marissa will be representing TDT when they make an appearance on Daytime, with parent sponsor Learning is for Everyone, in a special back-to-school edition of the Channel 8 morning show (didn’t school just let out?!). The segment they’ll be in is about homeschooling, and since Jacob and Marissa are two of our homeschooled students, they’re great examples of homeschoolers learning by doing, and how FIRST can be integrated into educational environments outside of brick and mortar schools.
Then sometime in the next couple or three weeks, with most of the parts in for our 3D printer, we’ll put that together. We also hope to get in a cool local robotics facility tour, and a day of team building fun at a local YMCA. So by the time kick off rolls around in a month (check out our countdown timer at the top right – it’s counting down fast!) , Team Duct Tape members will be ready to hit the ground running – fingers made nimble (and sticky!) by hours of duct tape construction, minds made sharp pouring over CAD instruction, and teamwork strengthened by working together on a 40 ft high ropes course.
Whatever the new season brings, we’ll be ready – for something!
Our Kickstarter campaign was successfully financed thanks to the generosity of some great supporters, to whom we gratefully give our public thanks in the video at the link below. Now it’s time to get back to the business of learning through playing. We’re starting off with our annual summer pot luck for TDT current and alumni members, coaches and mentors the first week of July.
A couple of weeks later, we’ll be holding a CAD Day for team members interested in being part of our design team, then getting to work on our 3D Printer build. We’ll also hope to have some nice outreach opportunities later this summer as well.
Then, before we know it, it’ll be new season Kick-off day! Scheduled for Sept. 7, that gives us just about two months to get ourselves ready to hit the ground running!
And of course, 11th Hour donations are welcome! There’s just a few more hours left in our Kickstarter campaign and we want to make every last minute count. We welcome contributions of any size – just a dollar or two will do! – and will go an enormous way towards helping us have a successful FIRST Tech Challenge season.
Thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters, we’ve met our stretch goal with seven days left to go in our Kickstarter campaign. Additionally, students have raised another $400 on their own, so far, taking our summer fundraising efforts to nearly $2000, giving us a good start to the new season.
And we’ve also gained some thoughtful insights from some of our contributors, including this perspective setting post from donor Jake Schostag, who wrote, ” I was on a FIRST team in high school ≈15 years ago, and the experience has proven exceptionally valuable in my career. I’m not an engineer (at all). But having some background in CAD, programming, electronics design, etc. gained through that experience has provided me with a significant leg up on some of my counterparts in the regulatory compliance (legal) world surrounding electronics and power sports manufacturing.
“Get everything you can out of the experience. Engineering is a good place to end up – but the work you’re putting into this will be valuable for your future successes regardless of where you ultimately land.”
It’s really wonderful to hear from someone who was on a FIRST team when FIRST was less than ten years old, and who not only found the experience “exceptionally valuable” but valuable “regardless of where you ultimately land,” reinforcing our conviction that however much fun the robot build might be, this is totally about so much more than a robot!
This is about skills development in everything from tool use, design and programming to relationship building, team work and “stick-to-itiveness” – a particularly useful quality nicely symbolized by our signature duct tape mascot. “Rip it! Stick it! Done!” isn’t just a goofy cheer, it’s homage to conviction, endurance and durability.
Being part of a FIRST team means never giving up – on your build, your competition and especially on your team mates. It’s easy to be supportive and cheerful when things are going well. It’s a lot more challenging when things aren’t going well, when things break, when there are differences of opinion, when nothing works.
We’re going to take Mr. Schostag’s advice to get everything we can out of this experience, and we’re very grateful for his and for others’ support and encouragement . We’ll continue paying it forward to our students and our FIRST community, no matter where we land!
Rip it! Stick it! Done!