Microgrant recipient Caleb (14) from ID used his award to host a robotics club for elementary school students two days a week after school, giving them plenty of time to develop robots for the 2022 Superpowered FLL game and to learn the basics of robotics and STEM as a whole. His goal was to show the students how fun and valuable participating in robotics can be and jump-start their journey in STEM and in FIRST.
- What inspired you to start this project? I was inspired to start this project due to the lack of a robotics team for my local, rural elementary school. Growing up I was often disappointed at the lack of opportunities for students interested in STEM and thought that starting a robotics team would be a great start for introducing students to STEM at an earlier age.
- While working on your project, what surprised you? What surprised me the most about this project was how much goes into coaching a team. While in middle school, I competed on the robotics team. While on the team I often thought that the majority of the work of coaching was meeting at the school for practice twice a week. After coaching a team of my own, I realized now that much of the coaching work is done behind the scenes and outside of practice.
- What do you feel you learned from this experience? I feel that I learned a multitude of different skills while coaching the team, such as cultivating an environment of growth, teamwork and leadership! As coach of the team, I was the one the members looked to when something didn’t go right and it was up to me to show them that they had what it took to find the solution and that the solution was never to give up or let the problem defeat you. Learning how to get team members to work well together was something else I believe was crucial for me to learn while working on this project. This team brought together ten students with ten different personalities and backgrounds and required that they worked well together, which is something that is learned not a given.
- How did Karma for Cara impact your project? Karma for Cara is what allowed this project to reach this level of success! Without K4C, I would never have been able to obtain all of the tools necessary and pay the fees required to start the team. Not only were the students able to attend a district qualifier event but they were even able to advance onto the Southern State event where they competed with other teams from all over the southern side of the state!
- How will your project continue to impact others? After our season finished in January, I set out to to find someone to replace me as head coach of the team, since I will be attending university next year and will unfortunately have little involvement with the team due to distance. Within a couple of weeks I had found two interested community members who are in the process of taking over the team now! One of these individuals is the parent of a child on the team who saw the effects it had on everyone involved and understood how crucial it is to keep this opportunity open for others!
- How many hours did you spend on your project? 96
- How many youth volunteers or students were involved in your project? 1
- How many total hours did other youth volunteers or students spend on your project? 96