«I was truly blown away by these kids – to the point of tears in fact. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Renaissance Robotics (my personal favourite in Oshawa) ended up taking Chairman’s Award.
It was a truly enriching experience and I was honoured to be a blue shirt.»
–Captain Sami Mandalawi, Attractions and Diversity Officer, Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre
«We started the team mini challenges yesterday. Before we even started, one my students came up to me with tears in her eyes. When I asked her why she was crying, she said “Because this is going to be so much fun.” Tears of joy in a 6 year old. Definitely worth all the hard work. :)»
–Grade One Teacher, Coach of a FLL Jr. team
«I have been involved with FLL for 3 years now with Heather & Bryan Kelso; first as a parent, then as a part time coach and finally as a major sponsor (Jeff & Tanis’ No Frills) for our first North Bay Regional and rookie coach of two teams for M.T. Davidson School. (What an amazing experience).
I opened up our grocery store to all the local FLL robotics clubs to come for a tour of our backroom to see how we dealt with garbage and what I thought were waste issues in our business after the announcement of the Trash Trek concept. We had half a dozen local teams come though for a tour and ask me questions on everything from wasted food, plastic bags, plastic wrap and how much we send to the landfill. Each team was excited and had great questions which got Tanis and I thinking about how much garbage we, as a business, generate and if there was something we could do about it. To make a long story short, we found a company who not only recycled cardboard but included plastics, waxed cardboard and pop cans with their pick ups. For a grocery store doing our volume with roughly 100 staff and a pharmacy the amount of plastic, drink cans/bottles and pill bottles thrown out weekly is nothing to sneeze at.
Statement: “Jeff & Tanis’ NoFrills has reduced their plastic going to the North Bay Landfill by roughly 75% and wax cardboard by roughly 90% due to the efforts of the local First Lego League teams efforts and ideas on waste and waste reduction during their 2015 season which focused on the world wide issues of garbage/waste and the problems it creates.”
One of the biggest issues in implementing ideas in the business world is the financial cost/impact on the bottom line. I can say, for our business, the changes we have made has been a positive impact not only on our bottom line….but with our staff as well. The amount of plastic we have diverted from the local landfill weekly has been astonishing (not to mention eye-opening). Since our staff physically sees how much is being recycled they make an effort to keep the program going, which is over half the battle in starting and keeping the recycling going daily. From a business perspective, our garbage fees have gone down, recycling revenues have stayed neutral to slightly up with the new company and labour expenses are neutral as well. In other words, there is a positive impact on our bottom line, which makes this a sustainable program and is a win for both our business and the environment.
This 2015 season was an amazing event put on by the Kelso’s and the volunteers. I watched as we went from a handful of teams in North Bay competing in Sudbury, to hosting a Regional Event with a dozen or so teams from our city and the surrounding area. The amount of effort and energy that the kids, coaches and teachers brought to the event/season was amazing and the ‘real world’ impact that they have made in our area was impressive.
The core values that the FLL has promoted along with the team building, mentoring and skills that the kids have been exposed to have been things I personally feel every kid should be exposed to and embrace. Along the way I got to spend some serious quality time with my own kids as a parent and see how they handled group situations, problems, presentations and a lot of things I have to deal with in my
business. The growth I saw in my own kids along with the others I coached was quite the experience and make the time spent well worth it.
Feel free to have others give me a call if they wonder about the benefits this program has on their kids and community.»
–Jeff Buckton, Owner of Jeff & Tanis’ NoFrills, North Bay
«I have seen the change that participation in FLL has brought about in students, particularly those who are not sporty, and have no other outlet for their talents. It has transformed shy, introverted students into leaders in the school community.»
–Jo Goossens, FLL Coach (and school VP)
«FIRST is an opportunity for young and creative minds to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a fun and engaging way. My experience on a rookie FIRST team has helped me in various ways. Not only did it help me develop technological skills which I can apply in my future career, it helped me develop valuable team work skills by the way we must cooperate as a team as well. This is essential to the workplace as it is a team effort to accomplish the task. In the beginning of the season, I was a clean slate. I had minimal experience with the mechanical aspects to building a robot. Throughout the build season, our team was under the pressure to construct a robot within six weeks. Most of what we had learnt came from these six weeks. By the end of the intensive build season, we felt we were on par with some of the more experienced teams thanks to the support from the helpful community which FRC had built up. They were keen to share whatever knowledge they had hopeful that we do the same. We definitely felt welcomed in every competition we went to, despite only being rookies.
Many valuable lessons were learnt. One important lesson which will stick with me will have to be time management. Having only 6 weeks to design and build a robot is stressful, but very rewarding. However, time is the biggest obstacle which needs to be overcome. Our team implemented a schedule to set days on which we would design and build. After the build season was over, I realized how much time we have in our days and used it much more efficiently. Homework was effortless and studying was manageable. This is just one of the valuable lessons our members learnt apart from the vast knowledge of the mechanical and electrical aspects.
Having had the FRC experience, it helped me get an insight as to what career path would be right for me. As a student, it was hard for me to grasp certain concepts taught in physics or mathematics unless I saw it in motion. Being on the robotics team, I finally got to make connections from what we learnt to the real world. This in turn helped me pick an appropriate career path. I never would have thought engineering would be as difficult as it is. Despite the difficulties, the final product was definitely worth the time and effort spent. The journey along the way was worthwhile, especially being on a rookie team. I eventually chose to pursue a career in engineering. I also want to come back and mentor the team I was with; ensuring I share my insight with the younger generation and to pass on the knowledge. I will take the lessons learnt while being on an FRC team and apply it in real life. FRC allows students to take what they have learnt in class and apply it in real life situations, incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. It is a truly exceptional experience which every student should indulge in.»
–Nithusan Ranjanathan, student from FRC Team 5719 the Titans
«Hi! We are the St. Francis RoboDogs from Harbour Grace, NL, Canada. We recently attended the World Festival in St Louis, MO. We are really happy that we had the opportunity to attend this event. We met so many new friends and had lots of fun. We loved participating in FLL and experiencing the other elements of FIRST (JrFLL, FTC, and FRC). We love all of the friendly competition and gracious professionalism that everyone shows at World Festival. FLL has taught us how to compete with other teams, be prepared for the future and be a team! We would recommend that every school start a robotics team! We had the time of our lives and we will never forget it!»
–RoboDogs, FLL Team 334
«My son Michael, joined Makeshift 4039 only 4 short years ago in its inaugural year. I thought maybe he could learn how to build a robot and find some like-minded kids. What he did find were opportunities beyond either of our wildest expectations.
The first term he became familiar with was “Gracious Professionalism.” Initially he learned how to use some tools and problem solve in order to become competitive in a game. With “Gracious Professionalism” becoming the new brain worm, he became captain and driver of the team, learning how to recognize talent in others and encouraging them to just jump in and get engaged.
As a team member he has come to realize there is a constant evolution in this organization so there must be some succession planning so that the momentum the team has built will not only sustain itself but surpass itself.
Michael has learned how to help create an image and brand a group. To create excitement, to be recognized in a community so the youngest kids coming along will aspire to a challenge that provides fun, creativity, friendship and skills that other courses and organizations just don’t have wrapped up into such a wonderful package.
Business planning, time management, deadlines, garnering sponsors, feeling the humility of other AWWW inspiring teams lending you more than a hand but their hearts, bus and money……..all the fantastic paying forward is incredible.
On the field he has had to engage in conflict resolution. He has networked and brushed shoulders with people who could end up interviewing him for employment one day.
His mentors have inspired him to take seriously that he is a potential role model and have contributed to his future involvement in FIRST . The have helped shape him, so if they are feeling a little lighter, it’s because he has taken a piece of each one of them.
Michael has experienced how to handle media and to establish an awareness to make sure every team member knows how important they are to the success of the group, and they are.
He has toured sponsors’ respective businesses to take a look into future opportunities and gained the insight into what different roles in a company look like.
One thing I am sure he has figured out is the importance of being happy in your profession and to have the passion to get up every day and want to take it on.
As a Dummy (mom and dad in one) I am so grateful he found such a beautiful opportunity and group of people. As I write this I realize this experience has less to do with building a robot than I thought.
As Michael made his shift to pursuing an engineering degree at McMaster University he not only continues to join their extracurricular groups but continues to mentor Makeshift 4039 and is working on bringing a regional event to Mac.
This oration seems to be a lot about my son but I truly can’t encourage other parents enough to support their kids and tell others about the experience that is there for the taking. They can ALL do it! Just jump in and have a great time!»
–Laurel Meier, parent from FRC team 4039 MakeShift Robotics
«The kids we get are typically not kids who are involved in organized sports. But this is their niche, and it’s so something they’re good at. It’s a cool opportunity to work together with kids who think like they do. It’s what they love doing.»
–Jen Vanderkooy, mentor for FRC team 4678 the CyberCavs
«There’s a lot of room for everyone, and it’s not just for those who are mechanically minded. It’s been fantastic. It’s kind of the way you’d wish every class would be.»
–Matthew West, mentor for FRC team 4678 the CyberCavs
«My name is Madison. I am 12 years old and I have been working with my brother on the Cybergnomes team 2013 for 6 months. F.I.R.S.T Robotics has affected me in many positive ways, through the program I have learned many new things. F.I.R.S.T. Robotics has allowed me to learn and develop new skills such as CAD, programming in C++, machining, fundraising, photography, public speaking, button making, and safety. In the future I would like to be an engineer because I watch my big brother and team at the shop work on the robot and I would like to understand why they put some parts where they do and how it works.»
–Madison, younger sibling of team member on FRC Team 2013 the Cybergnomes
«Thank you, for introducing us to FIRST Robotics. What an awesome experience we had this weekend. Our students were so happy when they left yesterday. They learned so much throughout the build and competition sessions and gained confidence with their abilities. I have seen so much growth with many of our team members who are coming out of their shells glowing with confidence.»
–Matt Gancasz , teacher at Judith Nyman Secondary School, Brampton, Peel DSB
«I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity providing insight into future careers and possibilities.»
–James Randle, FRC Team member
«I’m able to learn all of the different parts of robots and how they function. It’s something not everyone can learn. I’m increasing my knowledge every day. I think I might start making robots in my spare time and start using robotic applications within my life.»
–Oliver Campbell, FRC Team member
«My son’s life changed the day he went to his first meeting at WAFFLES HQ – January 5th, 2014. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact factors that contributed to his increased success in school and life in the months that followed, but I can honestly say that his involvement with WAFFLES has changed him – allowing him to demonstrate the potential we always knew he had, but couldn’t seem to draw out. Perhaps it was the numerous like-minded people sitting around the table with whom he could exchange ideas without fear of sounding geeky. Perhaps it was the that he felt his ideas & contributions were valued, despite the fact that he was one of the youngest members of the group, challenging and inspiring him to think at a higher level. Or maybe it was the exposure to the wonderful group of mentors he looked up to that modeled maturity, respect, and kindness at all times. Whatever it was, it is clear that his experience at WAFFLES over the weeks & months that followed has had a tremendously positive influence on him. His teachers started commenting on how much more engaged he was in classes. His initiative, motivation, and time management skills all improved exponentially during that first build season, and he has continued to build on these skills ever since. I truly believe the the collective positive changes we saw in him contributed greatly to his offer of an academic scholarship to a local independent high school. I am so grateful for his involvement with FIRST programs, and more specifically, for his involvement with this incredible and inclusive community FRC team, WAFFLES.»
–FRC parent for team 4476 the W.A.F.F.L.E.S.
«My involvement with FIRST Canada lead me to study Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, and even helped me land my first engineering summer job after my first year of studies.»
–Karen Chang, Cell Therapy Program, Princess Margaret Hospital and FIRST Team 188 Alum
«Having FIRST at our school inspired many of us to choose engineering as a career path by showing us an exhilarating and challenging side we might not have otherwise seen.»
–Colleen Decker-Mason, Consulting Engineer and FIRST Team 771 Alum
«Basically my son has been over the moon with the program. His interaction with his 2 younger siblings is amazing. He regularly discusses the program and how much fun he is having…and how much he is learning about teamwork. He is very passionate about his project. All in all it has shaped him to be a more responsible caring young man…..Bravo!»
–Craig Coulis, mentor FLL Team 347
«FLL has been a great team-building experience for students with a variety of interests and backgrounds. With the help of mentors from Oakville Trafalgar High School, our students have learned new about programming as well as how to work together as a team to solve a problem and present what they have learned.»
–Julia Osena, mentor FLL team 8730
«The FLL program has energized science in our school. Students in younger grades are eager to become members of our FLL team. Having an FLL team has led to a Jr. FLL team which has increased participation and interest in science.»
–Anthony Galioto, mentor FLL team 12651
«FLL has positively effected our children in so many ways. It has allowed our children to build with lego which is something that they have enjoyed ever since they would not swallow it. Along with that on a larger scale it has taught them to work better with others, to use their intelligence to create, problem solve, speak to judges, and research! These are all valuable skills.»
–Shelley Pautler, mentor FLL team 3419
«We’ve been participating in the FLL competition for several years and I’m always amazed at what odd and wonderful things the kids learn. We had an eclipse occur during one of our practices and took the opportunity to have a teaching moment.»
–Sergio Mammoliti, mentor FLL team 13361
«FIRST is an excellent way of learning for kids & great exposure for them to learn real world challenge!»
–Gopal Kataria, mentor FLL team 14432
«FIRST is a great program, an excellent challenge for the kids. Great introduction to technology. Also, the themes are great. Our kids chose seniors for their project this year, which I doubt they would have considered if not for senior solutions 2 years ago.»
–Christina Visser, mentor FLL team 5070
«The FLL program provides an excellent apportunity for our students to apply the technological problem solving process.»
–Stew Hynes, mentor FLL team 346
«The FLL program has been a wonderful experience – not just for the technical skills which the kids develop, but also the intangibles – teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and interacting with others outside their usual circles.»
– Phil Zwart, mentor FLL team 8728
«I loved it from the beginning, four years ago, and I still love what doors it can open for the students.»
–Derek Lambert, mentor FLL team 12651
«We created a community team in Windsor where we pulled children who who were interested. Due to two corporate sponsors we were able to start the team without the children paying any fees. We wanted children who wanted to be here! We have an awesome group who had so mucn fun learning this program from the bottom up! More companies need to invest and mentor our youth into a future that is sure to be filled with Technology. STEM is the future! Lets embrace it and celebrate a program that is helping our children with the direction of the future. Thank you soooo very much From the LegoBots»
–Celine Cipolia, mentor FLL team 13564
«This is our first year in FLL, and everyone is amazed at how the kids are growing up and starting to see themselves as creators.»
–Dave Dolson, FLL Mentor team 8404
«It has been unbelievable to see how the team has grown. They have become leaders, learned each other strengths and learned skills they will not realize for years to come»
– Brad McCloy, mentor FLL team 8404
«This is unquestionably the best program my kids have been involved in. They are learning engineering in a real-world setting. They are collaborating with peers. They are developing presentation skills. My son loves hockey. This is an entirely different world and one in which everyone can turn pro!»
– David Hoover, FLL mentor team 11053
«It was great seeing how they all worked together with their own team & helped others as well…& even got help from others!»
–Cheryl Hoover, mentor FLL team 11053
«To introduce myself, my name is Brent Freer. My wife, Laurie and I coach team 1787 “Sensored” (Bluewater Robotics). This is our third year coaching. FLL is an awesome program. We continually hear from parents that this program offers opportunities for kids that don’t play sports. The day they want to go to school is “robotics day”I look forward to next year and more.»
–Brent, FLL Coach for team 1787 Sensored
The weekend went off perfectly for us and I can’t tell you what this experience has meant to our little team from a Model School for Inner Cities.
Thanks for everything and look forward to next year!»
-Elisa, FLL Coach, and her team The Ogden Dragons
«When I was first asked to join FRC Team 3739 by my father (he was a mentor before I was involved) I was hesitant. After all, I was a grade 8 student with no knowledge in robotics. Upon the release of Rebound rumble, I was hooked. This competition was unlike anything I had experienced before. Over the following build season I had gone from scribbling notes on a piece of paper and handing them to my friends to present, to hosting a build night later in that same season. My teammates and I decided to form a new team with support from the University of Western Ontario and another high school in the area. We called our new team FRC Team 4814: United Robotics team of London. Thanks to this second chance, I was able to help others learn valuable skills and gain experience in the STEM fields. Our team was fortunate enough to qualify for World Championships in St. Louis in 2013, which is the most memorable moment of my high school experience thus far. Seeing 30,000 other students gather in St. Louis and compete in a friendly yet competitive manner was incredible. Our team went on to Captaining a Curie Alliance to the Finals in that division!
Fast forward to the end of the 2013-14 season, and our school’s section on the team had grown enough to split off of FRC 4814 and go back to our RoboRoots with FRC 3739: Oakbotics. I am looking forward to Co-captaining this team during this build season, and competing alongside London’s other Robotics teams at the Windsor Essex Great Lakes Regional in 2015! Over the course of the previous 3 seasons, FIRST has changed my life for the better in a variety of ways, such as giving me marketable skills (for example: presentation skills, business experience, etc.), helping me find like-minded peers in London, and expanding the opportunities I have for the future.
I am so lucky to be able to spend the rest of high school involved in FIRST. A special thank you is due to my Mentors and Teammates, for helping FRC 3739 become a Fantastic success!»
– Thomas Steele, Co-captain of FRC 3739, former member/Safety Captain FRC 4814
«It’s a lot of hard work, and long hours on the lathe, I want to move on to a trades school after graduation, or sign on as an apprentice for welding or machining.»
– Patrick Belford – FIRST team 2013 Build Team Leader
«It was the greatest experience of my life; you got to hang out with like-minded people… I just wanted to learn more.»
– Judah Page, FIRST Team 2013 Team Captain.
«Wow !! As a parent I attended North Bay to support our team and my 2 kids involved. It was such an enthusiastic experience to see teens engaged in such a positive and passionate “peaceful” event. Not only inspirational but also incentive for higher pursuits. Thank you for developing an innovative way to compete!»
– FRC Team Parent
«Around January… I felt underestimated because I was the only girl doing robot stuff on the team. Well, in the past 6 weeks, I have learned how to program everything on the robot in Java (not LabView), wire all the electronics that were broken and do the entire pneumatics system by myself (with the help of the experienced teams that came to our shop, of course). The point is, I now know how to do it! So in doing these things that everyone didn’t want to do, I gained the respect of all (most) of my team members. Now whenever there is something wrong I am always the first person they ask. Pretty neat, eh? So all those Charles Gordon girls have nothing to be afraid of coming into FRC having been coached by someone as awesome, super and inspiring as you!
Also, apparently my principals/mentors noticed and nominated me for the Dean’s award. On the first day of competition, I discovered that I made the top six entries out of 60. So, yeah I was pretty shocked seeing as I didn’t know anything coming into the season and everyone thought I was just a “useless” girl.
I think we did fantastic and I learned so much about programming and electronics among other things! Oh man you learn so much in FRC! That is why I want to get more people interested and not afraid to do it just because they don’t know much!
I am so glad that I still have two years in the program because there is so much to learn, do, and organize, this is only the beginning!»
– Hanna, current FRC team 4914 student and previous FLL student
«I can give many examples of students who have applied themselves to their studies so that they could participate on the robotics team, opening up opportunities that they would not have had, had they continued their “average” class engagement. My team has had 89% of its graduates go into STEM fields of study at post secondary institutions since its inception in 2007, many discovering their chosen field of study through FIRST Robotics. Students discover that STEM is practical and can be very fun. The time my students spend with the professional mentors who come in to help with our team gives them a taste of the various fields that our mentors are involved in, opening their eyes to what is available to them as well.
The atmosphere and expectation of excellence that begins on the team spills out into school work, employment and community activities. The community service aspect of the team also becomes natural and many students continue to give back to their communities long after high school.
For myself – it has inspired me to continue teaching and has given me many more applications of that which I teach. It gives me many practical examples of where the knowledge and theory can be applied. It also encourages me to bring experts into my classroom to act as mentors for the team as well as support my classes. Students can see Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math theory playing out in front of them. Through the many aspects of FIRST, they grow in an understanding of time lines, organization, team work, practicality, and cooperation.»
– Stan Hunter, Mentor for FIRST Team 2056
«As background, through IBM I’m involved with a consortium (Southern Ontario Smarter Computing Innovation Platform – SOSCIP) that focuses on developing skills and research in Canada. It’s jointly funded by fed/prov, industry and academia. As we work with the universities, I think about where will we get the next generation of engineers and researchers to continue these programs and build Canadian skills and expertise. In my limited experience with FIRST, it is obvious to me that FIRST is the seed – the starting point – for developing those skills. I was amazed by the knowledge, passion, professionalism and business acumen that FIRST grows in the students. FIRST graduates are clearly that next generation that will feed into programs like SOSCIP and others like it across the country.
I fully intend to continue to volunteer to judge and mentor for FIRST Canada. And will be (at a personal level) evangelising for my peers to do the same.»
-Richard McDonald, IBM and FRC Judge
«“That’s not really my thing,” was my first response when I was approached to join the local robotics team. I remember being so confused as to why they were asking me, a dedicated theatre and dance student, to join an extracurricular that was so foreign to my lifestyle. This curiosity drove me all the way to watch FIRST Team 1305 at their 2011 Greater Toronto West regional. The second I walked into the field area I was blown away. The crowds of colourful and spirited high school students, the music blaring, the robots zooming around, and the overall atmosphere confirmed that this was exactly where I was supposed to be.Of course I was still cautious in my decision to officially join because I didn’t know much about the program and doubted my ability to contribute to the team. I went to a few outreach events and team meetings and started to realize that there was a great deal of potential for me to fit in and help out in areas for which theatre had prepared me. I was introduced to the Chairman’s team and immediately found my niche that foreshadowed my personal growth in public speaking, writing, and self-confidence.I have been a dedicated member of FIRST Team 1305 for three years. I am currently the Business Manager, team FLL (FIRST Lego League) Coordinator, member of the Chairman’s team and a non-stop spokesperson for my team and the entire FIRST robotics program. Although I don’t plan on pursuing engineering or science careers, FIRST has prepared me to better my future in business, and it also helps me with my current initiatives. I am the founder of a non-profit organization, Dreams to Read. Our mission is to create second chances for women of developing countries to get an education. We currently have a successful class of 25 women in a small village in Kenya, and are working to start a second class in India within the next few months. I also am a provincial qualifier for DECA (a high school business competition), a past participant in my school’s Me to We group, Students’ Council and dance team.My fondest memory to date is winning the Chairman’s Award at the 2013 Waterloo Regional. I remember holding that trophy in my hands and thinking how incredible a feeling it was to win, but the best part was that I know I’ll experience such feelings again in my life, because FIRST taught me how to win and how to achieve my goals, dreams and aspirations. FIRST Robotics has changed my life. FIRST taught me I can accomplish anything and gave me the tools to do so. Thank you FIRST for an opportunity that will last a lifetime.»
– Abbey Thompson, FRC team 1305
«My time on FIRST team 1241 has been the hardest, longest, and most rewarding time in my life. Over the years, I’ve grown into positions of responsibility, fulfilling roles such as human player, tool boy, head of manufacturing, and head of design. Now in my senior year, I was humbled to be announced as project manager and robot co-driver. With humble beginnings as a shy grade 9 student, I started my first days in robotics doing odd jobs and shadowing seniors. I relentlessly attempted to contribute to the team, willing to do some of the most challenging and tedious work on several occasions. I gleefully accepted the opportunity to be “Human Player”, throwing inner tubes across the field for our robot to score on the rack. The position pushed me well outside my comfort zone, forcing me to keep calm under the pressure of thousands of people around the stadium. In my second year on the team I ramped up my involvement even further, taking on a lead machining role and even dabbling in the design process. The experience I earned from machining robot parts landed me a summer job working alongside true industry professionals. That year I was given a position as the “Tool boy” in the pit crew. I was responsible for ensuring maximum efficiency in the pits, as well as fixing robot subsystems where need be. The experience forced me to not only function under extreme pressure, but to think critically when all hope seemed to be lost. In my third year, I took a huge step forward, and headed tool design and manufacturing. Emotionally shattered by having the first renditions of our Frisbee shooter fail, along with my peers, I was pushed to iterate the shooter to maximize its potential. I was absolutely honored and humbled to see the same shooter take home the 2013 FRC World Championship. Now in my fourth and final year on the team, I look forward to helping the team grow to even further heights, by fostering the growth of young students, and by attempting to inspire my peers.
My role as team co-lead and co-driver has excelled my leadership skills, pushing me to not only push myself, but to push others. To seek and find the best in every member of the team while simultaneously ensuring we get the best final product possible. To hopefully see everything FIRST has given me spark in the eyes of another shy grade 9.»
— Nathaniel Milani, FRC team 1241
«I find this is a great program and think all schools should be a part of the FIRST FLL program.»
— FLL Coach
«The First Lego League Challenge has become a coveted program at our school offering students an exceptional learning experience throughout the year. I am impressed by the wealth of opportunity FLL offers students who are passionate about science and technology and the level of resources available to coaches. The students involved with this initiative have all grown personally and are now enthusiastic ambassadors of the First Lego League to fellow classmates. As a parent and coach, this experience has been incredibly rewarding and I will always be a huge advocate for this outstanding program. We look forward to participating in next year’s challenge!»
— Lisa Andrade, Parent & Team Coach, Aurora, ON
«I have always enjoyed building with Lego and have participated in FLL for the past 5 years. It is exciting to see all the capabilities of the robots with their sensors and programming. I am looking forward to FRC to expand my knowledge and possibly shape my educational and career choices.” »
— Brandon McAuley
«Personally I have seen changes in myself this season, These were some signals that led me to think that I may have an addiction to FIRST Robotics:
- I was continually following posts and OPR ratings on the Chief Delphi site.
- I was having nightmares that the bumpers on the robot fell apart during competition.
- Immediately after build season, I spent my spare time watching robot reveal videos on YouTube.
- I still think team 1986 built a great robot, and let’s face it, it was fun to walk around saying “release the Kraken”.
- I considered painting my house 2056 blue
This year brought new challenges to the robotics season as an unforeseen teachers action provided some unique problem solving opportunities for the team. As mentors we wanted the students to have the chance to compete at the regionals and take advantage of the automatic entrance into the World Championship. Team 2056 students had been preparing for the build season for over 6 months and all stakeholders in the team did not want these student efforts to be wasted. A solution to the problem quickly became evident and we decided to start a Stoney Creek Community Team with design and the build beginning between Gridpath and Arvin Air. Gridpath has been tremendous in their efforts in both creating an inspiring and positive environment for the students.
We knew that we were flying by the seat of pants and had no idea how the quality of the robot would be affected by our actions. We certainly appreciate everyone’s flexibility. The effort put forth by mentors, parents and students was absolutely amazing. The persistence of students was both motivating and inspiring to me., I still cannot believe we had over 50 people in the Arvin Air lunch room. Everything came together and there was no doubt that our quest for a possible 15 regional victory was plausible.
It has been a true honour to be a mentor for Team 2056 with this special group of people. I would like to thank all parents and all sponsors for their continuous support of Team 2056. As a parent I was sitting at this Celebration Dinner just two years ago and I asked myself what skills and knowledge could I bring to Team 2056 to help make the team better. I am asking all the parents in the audience tonight to ask yourself the same question and let us know where you can assist this team. As a sponsor, I know it has been a great investment in our community and in our future leaders in the workforce and society. Again, I ask the sponsors to think about what you can do to assist this terrific group of students and mentors. Your support can be financial, gifts in kind or getting an employee to assist in the mentoring of the students. If you have knowledge or expertise that can help improve Team 2056 please let me or anyone on the steering committee know.
I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Margaret Mead, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”»
— Parent of FRC team 2056
«”Supporting FIRST Robotics Canada fits perfectly with our organization’s vision and goals. Especially because the FIRST LEGO League introduces young students to real-world engineering challenges through guidance by mentors, coaches and other professionals. By participating in FIRST, students get to discover different career options; they learn to think critically, work collaboratively as part of a team, and communicate effectively. What is learned by participating in FIRST will help today’s students think outside the box, address the challenge facing scientists today and in the future, and make positive contributions to society. What more could we ask for?”»
— Representative from the Queen’s University Faculty of Education Community Outreach Centre
«”We’re all interested in robotics. …It’s way better than playing video games,” he said. “If your job was to learn something new every day and to help someone, that would be awesome.”»
— Shubham Kaushal, Jr. FLL participant
«Some students on my team learned more about science, business and about themselves than they have in their entire highschool career. We had an incredible time at St. Louis and we are pumped up and ready to prepare for next year’s competition.»
— FRC team 4519
«I want to say thank you for a great season. Team 610 is still buzzing from our very unanticipated win at World’s last week. It was just amazing. Watching our team work through the trials and tribulations of such a tough challenge, and then win it all – there are just no words. Thank you, thank you for all you have done.»
—Team 610 mentor
Herman is from Fort McMurray, an Albertan city eight hours North of Calgary.
Like most of us, Herman wanted to build robots.
Unlike most of us, he was the only student on FRC Team 4625, the Trappers.
You see, Herman is a rookie. He started the team along with a teacher from Father Mercredi High School and three other students. Like most of us felt in our rookie year, build season was challenging. Unfortunately, the other three students quit.
But this isn’t a pity story for Herman, but one of inspiration. He is the one-person team that could.
At fifteen years old Herman walked into the Western Canadian FRC Regional, Thursday, April 4, his family shortly behind him. It was just him and his robot, as his teacher showing up later in the day. With courage, he sat in his pit and got to work.
Soon, the rest of the regional heard of this one-person rookie team. They were curious, so they checked it out and talked to Herman. When SWAT (FRC Team 771) and the Robodawgs (FRC Teams 216, 244, 288) found out his robot wasn’t functioning, they got to work. With help from both veteran and rookie teams alike, Herman had a functioning, inspected robot by the time the pits closed Thursday. The regional administration had also given him special permission to have people from other teams be a part of his drive team. He will also have a handmade banner for his pit and scouting help, in case he happens to be in a picking position.
And as you watched the regional pull together for this one-person team, you can’t help but feel inspired. When you meet Herman, he has nothing but the biggest smile on his face. He is the embodiment of FIRST itself – determination, courage and a malleability that is common to a lot of rookie teams.
FIRST is about taking a big idea and making it happen. Within Team 1305, it was taking the feel of competition home with us for North Bay to experience – and winding up with a celebration of science and technology that includes all levels of FIRST Robotics Canada, reaches 3000 people annually and has helped create rookie teams. For Simbotics, it was the creation of an app that was downloaded over 1500 times in 65 different counties. For rookie teams, it is often just getting a robot that can compete.
Some ideas are easily successful and some are more challenging, but the great part about FIRST is that the FIRST Community is always there to support you. Today was just one example of how FIRST is a family, and families stick through things – thick or thin. Thank you Herman, for inspiring and reminding us what FIRST is all about.»
—Emily Haws, 2013 Team Captain of FRC team 1305
«I am the teacher mentor leading the team this year. We just competed in the GTR West competition. My students had one of the best experiences of their lives today and didn’t want it to end. They have been working extremely hard all season, and as a rookie team, I believe they have accomplished an incredible amount and want to continue to share what they have learned and built with other teams in the competition. We are the only Catholic school in Sudbury currently participating and want to represent our city in the North with our sister team LoEllen Robotics, who qualified in Waterloo. Our school has a population of 400 and we had 30 members join in the first year which is incredible! »
— Julianne Falconi
« I had so much fun and it was the most amazing experience I have ever had! I learned so much and I am truly grateful for what FIRST has taught me. I learned not only about the mechanical and electrical part of the robot but also about working as a team, solving problems, organizing, being efficient, presenting, being a gracious professional, and so much more…
I have always loved science and technology but I just cannot express how much my love and passion grew over the last few months I have been involved with FRC program. Thank you for this great opportunity.
I can’t wait for the world championship in St. Louis! »
— Genie Kim
« I just wanted to say, “thank you” to all those who work so hard on FLL. It is an amazing opportunity. Our team is not a school, but kids from the Association of Bright Children, Hamilton Chapter. The Association for Bright Children of Ontario is an all-volunteer, provincially incorporated support and advocacy group, with many chapters across Ontario. Bright children are often academically bored at school and risk becoming disengaged. Our all boy team comprised of six grade 7/8 students learned so much from this experience. When we asked them what they learned from FLL this season, we had responses like this is the first time I’ve ever had to work at something, we learned that from failure comes success, we learned determination and patience. Our son agreed with an FLL statement, “it’s the hardest fun he’s ever had”. Thank you for providing such a rich and rewarding life experience especially for those who cannot find these challenges elsewhere. »
— Sandra Starr, FLL Mentor
«The FLL has played a fantastic role in Tristan’s life both as a creator, thinker and problem solver since his first involvement back in 2009. He has always loved learning, reading and inventing and the one thing that FLL has given him is the ability to do all of these activities, which up until that point had been done in a solitary manner, within the context of a team. FLL has been like playing on a high level organized sports team. He has always been aware of the importance of individual responsibility, but especially now when it comes to the FLL team.
The FLL experience has helped Tristan to learn that the choices we make create our consequences. His team worked diligently over the Christmas holidays, even when friends, classmates and most students were relaxing. Being in a team working towards an FLL goal has also helped Tristan to realize how important he is and every member of a team is in creating and achieving success. He always makes the choice to show up fully each time he goes to Robotics as his entire team depends on him whether he is personally tired or not. His group work in FLL has helped Tristan have an experience of friendly competition.
His robot building and programming skills have continued to develop as well as his critical analysis and problems solving. He is always coming up with new ideas on improving everyday items around the house and has now gotten into drawing out sketches of his inventions. After winning the National FLL this past weekend, he expressed that even though his team had won, he still felt that the 2nd and 3rd place teams had worked really hard and he was impressed by their projects and robots. He was quite humbled by the fact that the judges had chosen his team as the overall winners. He knows and has learned the level of commitment and diligent hard work it takes to produce the quality of work that got all the teams to the finals. At the same time, he was sensitive to others who had lost, remembering what it felt like to work really hard and not win. His attitude towards previous years when his team had not won has always been one of disappointment, but always with a positive attitude about what he and his team could learn from the experience to propel them even further the following year.
Tristan has always loved sharing knowledge and information and being able to speak in front of the judges at FLL allows Tristan to practice being able to communicate in a clear and concise manner about his ideas. This skill is an invaluable tool in the rapid information and high tech world that we all now find ourselves. Having an idea or knowledge and being able to convincingly speak about and inspire people is critical in solving important world problems. All of the FLL projects throughout the years have all touched on important world issues and they have helped to open his eyes to the impact that he and others can have in the creation and development of the solutions to for these real world problems. Thank you. »
—Natalie Vena B.A., N.D. Naturopathic Doctor, Lvl 2 EMDR, MSc candidate and Claudio Vena
«We, the kids, parents and coaches, had a wonderful tournament. It was well organized, lots of super volunteers and on time through out the day. We had such a day because of some amazing improvements this year. Half of our team members are on the Autism Spectrum, so having the coaches’ meeting almost a week in advance with detailed maps and the schedule of the day made a huge difference by minimizing the unkonwn and stress for them. We will never thank you and your team enough for that. Also, thank you for understanding the special needs and behaviors of the kids affected by Autism by setting up an autism webinar for judges, a first in FLL. It is a nice add on for all Autistic kids involved in FIRST programs. Finally, thank you for promotimg and beleiving in FLL, lots of kids are involved in techology, science, robot and their community because of it. »
— Jean-Luc and Marianne, Coaches of The EXPLOSIVE LEGOBOTS, Senior Solutions 2012
« It was a great event and everything ran very smoothly. Even with the little delays, it felt like a very professionally run event. Congratulations. On another note. I loved the teamwork tasks this year. Instead of the rehearsed “We love each other” answers the kids probably spewed out in years past, the judges get to see them actually working together. Wonderful idea. For the task they had to do, were pieces missing from the pile that the kids had to use to build the figures? If they were, that was an awesome idea to introduce some controlled stress into the activity to see how they’d react. I loved it. I can’t say enough positive things about it, Dave. Our parents were amazed, the kids were pie-eyed and it’s been the talk of the school all week.
Thanks so much. »
«Thank you very much to you and your team for putting in all your hard work. This was our first year with a robotics club at our school and our first time as a part of FLL and it was an outstanding experience. The students can not stop talking about the event on Saturday. As a teacher and coach I have found the experience to be very rewarding. »
« Thanks to you. You had a very well organized, fun, energetic and enjoyable event. I am glad I went. My students had a great time and learned a great deal. »
« The team and I wanted to send our thanks to all the organizers and volunteers at yesterday ‘s event. Through all the schuffling and mayhem that comes with tournament day , I hope these people had a moment to reflect on what a strong impact the FLL program and their ef f orts are making on the lives of these young people. I heard from the parent of my shyest Roboteer yesterday that his efforts this year towards GARF and FLL were “the single thing that he was most proud of that he could ever remember”.
— Matt, FLL Coach
« Thanks again for all your hard work, the kids really appreciated everything that was given to them and all that they learned on Saturday. It was our school’s first time competing at that level and we look forward to next year, assuming we can qualify. The day ran very smoothly without any problems for us. Thanks again for all that you did. »
« We would like to thank you for everything this weekend. The kids had an awesome weekend. They had a blast! I can’t even imagine how difficult it was to organize everything. You had an amazing team of volunteers and the facility was awesome. All the teams that attended were incredible. The kids learn so much from this program. Keep up the great work! »
«It was an absolute blast. I only wish I had been involved earlier. I am also very excited about next year. Thanks for all of your great work »
«I joined robotics because I thought of it like a challenge, so all we started out with was some metal parts, motors, and a mentor. I had no knowledge on how to build the robot and how to program it but I knew how to wire it up so I became the team electrician and pilot of PATRIOTIX team 3530 robot! So we did the qualifications and nothing was working on the robot so I went in a corner and cried to at least get to St-Louis, praying to God that everything would go well later on …and a miracle happened…the Executive Director of FIRST Robotics Canada, Mark as I call him, who became a friend of mine…and a volunteer, told me to not lose all hope, even knowing I was really sad, because we were 2nd alternative and would maybe get a chance in the finals. They didn’t promise me anything but it happened. We got to the finals and won! I and my team were so happy that I cried and the team jumped on me with lots of joy. I got to say that FIRST Robotics Competition FRC was my first competition in my life, and I became regional champion from Quebec in it. This was the best moments of my life and I give my word to come next year too! Even knowing it was hard and stressing, I had the greatest time of my life and will never forget Mark Breadner (the executive director), my mentors, especially Carl Chaumont (the greatest mentor in the world!) and that one volunteer that were with me every step of the way!»
–Anand Prasad , Montreal Quebec 14 years old, 8th May 2012