RoboScout Squad Moves up!

We have our sights set on FIRST Tech Challenge and it’s a GAME CHANGER!

Wow! When we vowed to make lemonade out of these COVID-19 lemons, we weren’t sure what the outcome would be. To recap, in January our team won the Montana 2020 FIRST LEGO League State Champion Award. We were fundraising like crazy to head to Houston, TX to compete in the World Championship. Then, coronavirus hit and in mid-March, the FIRST World Festival and Championship was cancelled. While we certainly understand the reasons for it, the magnitude of disappointment is hard to express. We know it is shared by many worldwide who’s events, milestones and travel were squashed.

In our announcement about the cancellation, we planned to do two things with our funds raised. Here’s where we are at:

  1. To take the team on a well deserved alternative educational trip – Though travel restrictions were recently reduced, we are now seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Travel outside of Montana this summer, isn’t going to happen. We are hoping to travel within the state, meet a couple of other teams and have a robotics boot camp to start our new season. Also, there is more tournament travel in our future than in previous seasons, we’ll plan some extra educational activities while we are on the road.
  2. Use the remaining funds to fund our next robotics season – This is where our huge announcement comes in……..

We have decided to take our tech skills to the next level. We are now competing in FIRST Tech Challenge!

Here comes that lemonade. This jump wouldn’t have been possible without our generous donors and team sponsors. The equipment alone to get started in FIRST Tech Challenge is almost $3,000. Add to that travel expenses for the 3 Montana tournaments in November, December and January and this is no easy feat financially.

Why did we choose to make this jump? We have a few reasons:

  1. We won the Montana State FLL Champion title!!! Aside from being able to go to the World Championship, there isn’t much more to accomplish in FIRST LEGO League. We had a truly awesome season capping off a successful three year run.
  2. We are ready for a new technical challenge. Bye-bye LEGOs, we are moving to aluminum and steel components. We’ll be learning CAD to design custom parts for machining or 3D printing. We’ll also be moving from eV3 coding to programming in Blockly and Java in Android Studio.
  3. Our team members are already aging out of FLL. FTC goes all the way through high school, ensuring that our team members can stay with us until they graduate.
  4. Our future! FTC participants have access to apply for $80 million in FIRST Alumni scholarships. Even if they choose to attend a college that doesn’t specifically offer FTC scholarships, colleges know that FIRST Alumni have the leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and STEM skills to make them an asset to their institution. Business leaders in top companies worldwide are also well aware of the advantages of hiring FIRST Alumni.
  5. We can still mentor FLL. We look forward to taking a look at the new FLL season when it launches in August and the team would be happy to answer questions and mentor FLL teams.

We are so excited to begin this new journey! Even better the Game Changers season theme for FTC is #ULTIMATEGOAL! We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our #ULTIMATEGOAL and our progress though the rest of the summer and the new season as we #FIRSTRISE to the challenge. Keep an eye on our new FTC season page to keep our fans, supporters and sponsors in the loop. We will also update our FLL information pages with current season links as they become available.

For now, enjoy the season “teaser” for FTC ULTIMATE GOAL. We anxiously await the 9/12 release of the complete challenge. In the meantime we’ll get robot parts ordered and start learning the basics of FTC. If you have questions about FIRST robotics, FIRST LEGO League or FIRST Tech Challenge, please let us know. We would love to help you get started.

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