New Communications Position

Let us start off this post with an apology. We are very sorry for the lack of updates on the website and on social media this past year.

As many of you know we are a 100% volunteer organization. That means everyone, including myself, is not receiving any money for the work we do with the kids. We do this so every dollar donated goes directly to the robotics teams. In order to pay the bills we all have day jobs. Projects at these jobs over the last year have taken more of our free time than we would like to admit. With three new teams in 2015 plus a need for new sponsors, what free time we had remaining had to be focused there. That means that our normal frequent communications and some of our community outreach had to be put on the back burner.

The 2016 season is shaping up to be very similar with two new high school VEX teams so we have created a new communications volunteer position. This volunteer will help keep our website blog, newsletters and social media up to date. We see this position as vital for the organization going forward. If you or someone you know would be interested in volunteering please contact us: info@kalamazoorobotics.org

PS As soon as we have a new communications volunteer, we will be publishing a newsletter with the results of the 2015 season. We had some very big achievements for both rookie and veteran teams.

FLL (Grades 4-8) Tryouts

This weekend will start tryouts for our FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams. Students in grades 4-8 can choose to tryout on May 9 or May 16. All open spots on teams will be filled from tryouts.

If you are interested in joining a team for this season please contact us at info@kalamazoorobotics.org for more information about tryouts.

Potential Coaches Meeting

If you or someone you know is interested in coaching or assisting a team, we will be holding an open house on April 26 from 1-3pm. Current coaches will be available to answer questions and have robots on hand to demonstrate what each team does. Please contact us at info@kalamazoorobotics.org for more information.

March ’15 Newsletter

The Kalamazoo Robotics March 2015 newsletter is now available. Download it here. As always a big thank you to all our sponsors for helping to support us this season. You are the reason we are able to create such great programs.

2015_03_Newsletter

September ’14 Newsletter

The Kalamazoo Robotics September 2014 newsletter is now available. Download it here. A big thank you to all our sponsors for helping to support us this season.

2014_09_Newsletter

Ice Bucket Challange

A couple weeks ago I was challenged by a friend to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. If you have never heard of the ice bucket challenge you are faced with a choice, get a bucket of ice water dumped over your head or make a donation to an ALS research foundation. Afterwards you challenge others to do the same thing. You can read more about it here. The idea is to raise money and awareness for ALS. ALS or Lou Gehrigs Disease as it is known, is a genetic disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal column causing loss of motor controls leading eventually to full paralysis.

When I was challenged I decided it would be a lot of fun if I let the robotics team I coach, The Blue Cheesy Flamingos, be the ones to dump the ice water on me. I knew the kids would have a great time doing it. While I wasn’t exactly sure who I was going to challenge, my team decided to challenge all the other FIRST robotics teams out there. With a few hundred thousand students that compete in FIRST the team hopes this video will reach a lot of other kids.

If you know another robotics team out there, share our post with them and let them know they have been challenged!

August ’14 Newletter

The Kalamazoo Robotics August 2014 newsletter is now available. Download it here. A big thank you to all our sponsors who are making this season possible.

2014_08_Newsletter

Jr FLL Coach Opening

We’re looking for a coach for our brand new Jr. FLL team. You and a small group of kids ages 6-8 will research education. For the competition they will create a poster of what they learned along with a fun lego model with simple machines/moving parts. You can read more about the opportunity on Volunteer Kalamazoo.

If you are interested drop us an email: info@kalamazoorobotics.org

Kalamazoo Expo

Earlier this week our teams were invited to demonstrate at the Kalamazoo Expo hall during kids day. We got to spend the day speaking with parents and kids about FIRST and demonstrate some creations from our different teams.

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Our FTC team brought out a basic Tetrix robot to drive around. We had a wide array of reaction from kids of all ages. Some of the kids hopped around the robot and chased it.

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We had some kids who were not going to get near it but couldn’t take their eyes off of it.

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But the best reactions were from the kids as they drove the robot around. Some of them would jump up and down while others just ran over their parents feet with the robot like this little lady.

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We also had some creations from our team members that we displayed. The teams brought in a pneumatic LEGO truck, a LEGO water dispenser, a LEGO gumball dispenser and a homemade guitar.

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And what FIRST demo would be complete without a few science experiments. Cole was definitely our own Bill Nye. He constantly brought in groups of people to watch his egg in a bottle experiment.

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The Ooblek was also a big hit with kids and adults alike. Everyone was astounded at how it was liquid at rest but when force was applied it became hard.

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Overall it was am amazing experience for all our team members. We talked to hundreds of people and handed out many pamphlets about FIRST and Kalamazoo Robotics. It was so much fun, we are already looking forward to doing it again next summer.

Summer Fest Parade

Each year in our area we have a local festival for kids called summer fest. The entire week in devoted to activities for kids to learn and explore. As part of our community outreach to bring awareness about FIRST to the Kalamazoo area, a couple students from each of our teams came out and marched in the parade. Two students from team IDK decorated their terratrikes with FIRST and Kalamazoo Robotics posters. We even had an R2D2 clicking and chirping his way down the parade route in the back of one of the terratrike. Everyone had a great time tossing candy and we even had a couple people contact us for more information about joining one of our teams.

Kindleberger Summer Fest Parade