2021-2022: Freight Frenzy

Thank you for following along on our second FIRST Tech Challenge Season. We are an all-girls team in NW Montana. At the 2021 #UltimateGoal State Championship, we were the 2nd ranked robot, 2nd place Inspire, Motivate Award winner, and Promote Award winner. #FIRSTForward #FreightFrenzy

This page is arranged chronologically, the newest at the top.

3/5/22 – Montana State FIRST Tech Challenge Championship results

We are humbled and excited to report that we received the Inspire Award and Winning Alliance Captain at the Montana State FTC Championship. It was an epic day! Now the fundraising for the World Championship begins. Keep up with our fundraising efforts for Worlds here: www.roboscoutsquad.com/world-championship-2022 and our GoFundMe tinyurl.com/rss22

There are so many to thank, first Fort Benton High School FB3 (cubed) for agreeing to be our alliance partner in the semifinals/finals. We definitely couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you to all the volunteers today, coaches, mentors, and parents for making FTC possible in Montana. Thank you to all of our alliance partners today: @fusion4133_robotics, @7002.couch.potatoes, @ehackers8271, and Team #2879 Technical Difficulties.

We were in 1st position all day until match 4 had a few major issues and we dropped to 6th. We made a comeback in match 5 to clench 4th place in qualifiers. Captains 2 & 3 allianced, putting us as 3rd Captain. We were fortunate to get our 1st pick in Fort Benton Cubed (FB3). We had worked really well together in a qualifying round. Semi-finals were very hard-fought between our alliance and Protostars/E-Hackers, and then finals. Whew! We had a nice celebratory dinner at Olive Garden with FB3 as well!

We were blue for all of the semis and finals – 18240

Congrats to E-Hackers from Eureka who received 2nd Inspire and will join us in Houston!

Thank you to our season sponsors and tech partners Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, Guiffrida Enterprises LLC, Advanced Powder Coating, Kalispell Toyota, Signs Now Kalispell, Trailhead Supply, Kalispell Toastmasters #3147, MacKenzie River Restaurants, and Bitterroot Screen Printing

(There are 2 extra trophies on our cart, we finally got last year’s today as well)

2/20/22 – A Pit Cart, Side Panels, and Arm Coding

Not giving it all away quite yet, but we got the side panels done. They look so nice and match our new pit cart. Special thanks to SignsNow in Kalispell for the black coroplast we used as a base for the cart sign. It’s covered in black shimmer vinyl. Our decals are silver and blue/purple chameleon carbon fiber automotive vinyl. You have to see it in person to appreciate it. It’s so nice to have a Cricut in the RoboScout Squad family! We also got some good work done on our arm coding. 2 weeks until state!

To Do:

  • Velcro camera
  • Trim intake shaft
  • Test autonomous timeout
  • Touch sensor coding
  • Autonomous coding
  • Cable managment
  • Lots of drive practice
  • Paint / put velcro on alliance markers
  • Finish up notebook/portfolio

2/19/22 – LEDs are on board

Took Grover to mentor Richard’s shop. We had 2 pieces of metal to be cut, one of which was the LED channel for our light strip. Once we got that placed, Kennedy took some time to get the lighting settings just right on the Blinkin. It’s a fun job, but someone’s got to do it.

2/18/22 – The WORM is back!

Lexi put in 3 hours of hard work this evening and reassembled Grover’s back right quadrant, and he is better than ever. Drive train repaired, lift arm much stronger and smoother! We’ll be back at work Sunday to test the rear body panel, clean up the cables, and finish autonomous programming.

Our worm gearbox is a thing of beauty.

2/18/22 – #FreightFrenzy at FedEx

Super interesting outreach this morning. We were up bright and early for a tour of our local FedEx.

Why so early? Because that’s when the magic happens. Trucks arrive all night long. We were there to see unloading and sorting and loading up local trucks. We learned about the facility logistics, schedules, independent contractors, and safety.

Our FedEx is very unique in that it was the first in the nation to combine FedEx Ground and FedEx Express in one facility. It became a model to roll out in future locations. There’s only one other so far, a new one in Texarkana. Since it’s also FedEx Express the staff have TSA security clearance because packages leave there and go to the airport.

Due to security, we couldn’t take photos inside. We can tell you, they get a ton done in a tight space.

They have interesting equipment and we made note of several concepts that could be helpful on a future robot. CJ also explained about their complex software that is able to read from package pickup details and assign it to a delivery truck and where physically on that truck at its destination point.

Thank you, CJ for the tour! It was really cool!

#FedEx #FedExGround #FedExExpress #FIRSTFORWARD #FreightFrenzy

2/16/22 – Toastmasters Visit and a lame Grover

We had a wonderful visit from Sid and Dix from Kalispell Toastmasters. They listened to our presentation and gave feedback/suggestions. We are so thankful they were able to spend time with us this evening.

Lexi was hoping to rebuild the worm gearbox tonight, but the new motor hasn’t arrived yet. During our demo for Sid and Dix, the right rear motor stopped working, ugh! We broke it down, and sure enough, bum motor. Lexi will be working on Grover Friday evening and getting his whole right rear quadrant back in shape.

Katie and Jessie worked on autonomous. Lexi and Kennedy worked on recording more machine learning videos to feed into the ML tool for TSE detection. We also selected our color scheme for our robot and pit cart sign.

2/12/22 – Worm issues and Silicon works

Worm issues never really did resolve. We thought we had it, but now we want to use the encoder. At this point, we took out the worm and switched to a basic miter gear set. We’ll code it tomorrow and test. Maybe the worm will come back, we’ll see.

We tested silicon on the intake, and it works great! We have another piece still to test that is a bit firmer, also a tomorrow item.


  • Mount camera to right front channel
  • Mount power switch to left front channel
  • Install support beam between front channels
  • Test intake materials
  • Mount front touch sensor

Still to do:

  • Test autonomous timeout
  • Move battery location
  • Mount bucket sensor
  • Design and install side and rear panels
  • As items are in final build, add loctite
  • Autonomous coding
  • Touch sensor coding
  • Cable management
  • Complete presentation script
  • Lots of drive practice

2/9/22 – Presentation Rehearsal Begins

Grover’s new shoes fit perfectly! This evening we began presentation rehearsal, cut different materials for our intake, and did initial testing of a custom laser cut rear panel.


  • Installed 5-hole channels around front motors
  • Reassemble wheels
  • Hole punch arrived

Still to do:

  • Mount camera to right front channel
  • Mount power switch to left front channel
  • Test autonomous timeout
  • Test intake materials
  • Move battery location
  • Install support beam between front channels
  • Mount touch sensors
  • Design and install side and rear panels
  • As items are in final build, add loctite
  • Autonomous coding
  • Touch sensor coding
  • Cable management
  • Complete presentation script
  • Lots of drive practice

2/7/22 – Grover’s New Shoes and Body Panel Planning

Special thanks to the AMAZING Zack at Advanced Powder Coating in Kalispell! He made unexpectedly fast work of powder coating our wheels in a shiny black with a subtle shimmer. We are so thankful and these new wheels will look EPIC on Grover!

Side panels are in the development stage. We have acrylic panels cut and ready to mount. We just need to decide what to put on them and what color scheme to go with. We also sent a schematic for a rear panel to Guiffrida Enterprises, where they will laser cut a thicker acrylic panel for us to light up.

2/5/22 – Montana FLL Remote Qualifier

The qualifier was remote, and judging was done over Zoom, so we were able to help. Our team made up more than 20% of the judges for this event. The virtual experience was very interesting. We saw many amazing Innovation Projects and creative robots.

In great news, all three Kalispell West Valley School teams (54614 TechVipers, 54610 TechyNerds and 53487 The Lumberjacks) will advance to the Montana FLL Championship on 2/26 at Montana State University.

2/3/22 – Still lots to do

The scrimmage over the weekend gave us knowledge and drive! Grover has major upgrades already in structure and durability, coding knowledge is being shared and exciting things are still to come. We disassembled our wheels and they are going to be powder coated. You’ll notice Grover is wearing the old pink and purple shoes.


  • Leather not allowed
  • Diassemble intake
  • Cut silicon test strips
  • Disassemble wheels

Still to do:

  • Test autonomous timeout
  • Get hole punch to try new materials for intake
  • Get 2 5-hole channels to mount around front motors
  • Move battery location
  • Mount camera to right front channel
  • Install support beam between front channels
  • Mount touch sensors
  • Design and install side and rear panels
  • As items are in final build, add loctite
  • Autonomous coding
  • Touch sensor coding
  • Cable management
  • Complete presentation script
  • Lots of drive practice
  • Reassemble wheels

1/30/22 – Modifications

Lexi wasn’t able to come to Helena so she spent the day after the scrimmage trying to address issues discovered the day before.


  • Removed lift arm assembly
  • Moved carousel spinner to surround back left motor
  • Disassembled worm gear box, reassembled inside top of 5 hole channel and mounted above back right motor
  • Attached linear slide we built for last season (but didn’t disassemble) to the worm gear box
  • Attached bucket intake to new arm
  • Tested for basic functionality

Still to do:

  • Test autonomous timeout
  • Get 2 5-hole channels to mount around front motors
  • Move battery location
  • Move hub location
  • Mount camera to right front channel
  • Install support beam between front channels
  • Mount touch sensors
  • Design and install side and rear panels
  • Ask in official Q&A forum about leather straps, potential rebuild of bucket (again)
  • As items are in final build, add loctite
  • Autonomous coding
  • Touch sensor coding
  • Cable management
  • Complete presentation script
  • Lots of drive practice

1/29/22 – Our First FTC Scrimmage

We had such a great time in Helena and we learned so much! Thanks Protostars and Fusion for hosting.

  • Leather might be an illegal material under the rule forbidding “animal based materials” <it is illegal>
  • It’s hard to stand on one leg and shake the other when you have a broken knee
  • Zia (drive coach) needs to stand between us so we can hear her in noisy environments
  • Tightening all screws before the match was sucessful, we had no loose screws or mechanincal malfuntions. We did lose a set screw for the worm, but we couldn’t reach the worm to replace it, thankfully it’s on a hex shaft and laterally constrained so the missing set screw had no impact. We’ll set it with loctite when we rebuild next week in prep for state.
  • We were soooo lucky our arm had zero issues, we still aren’t sure that we like the string, too risky
  • It can take a long time (several minutes) for the match to start after the READY, our auto is timing out somehow, need to figure that out.
  • Our cycle time is too long, mostly due to getting cargo out of the bucket, we need a trapdoor
  • We need to get everything inside the wheels, our carousel spinner stuck out just over the wheel and it got hung up on the bolts on the field walls
  • The motor axle on the worm gear is too long, it needs trimmed or otherwise blocked from snagging on anything
  • We need side panels
  • See if we can modify drive code to have a slow mode or accelerate slowly

1/27/22 – String Struggles

Is she laughing or crying? The string struggle with our linear slide is real. It’s about to claim its second victim. Lexi is done, if Kennedy gives up, Z is on deck. But at least we are put together enough for our first ever in-person scrimmage this weekend. YAY!!!! 🤩🤩🤩🥳


Ignore the super cheap alien taped sharpie marker plastic side panel. We’ll do better before state.

Lexi created scouting sheets for us to take to the Helena scrimmage this weekend.

1/25/22 – West Valley Warrior FLL Pre-Qualifier

We had a great time this evening with the hard working West Valley Warriors! Their six rookie teams had a mini-tournament before the Montana FLL Qualifier. This was the very first time these kids have run their robots in front of an audience. All of them did well under pressure. They have learned so much. We brought snacks and swag, provided encouragement, shared our expertise, demoed our FTC robot Grover and helped with judging presentations and reffing the robot games. Three teams will advance to the Montana FLL Qualifying tournament next weekend. We are so happy we could be part of their rookie adventure.

1/16/22 – Super Grover’s failed flight

Maybe naming the robot Grover was bad karma. He took flight off a table today. Lexi rebuilt the 3 things that broke. Good as new! We need to order a new spare servo and a couple other parts. Never turn on the robot on a table. 🤦🏼‍♀️

1/13/22 – West Valley fun

Had some fun with the West Valley FLL teams tonight! They are all coming along great! Kinda miss those LEGOs sometimes. We are planning a scrimmage for them, so they can narrow down their 6 teams, to 3 that will compete in the Montana FLL Qualifier.

1/6-9/22 – Scrimmage coming up on 1/29

Working hard trying to get everything wrapped up in time for a scrimmage at the end of the month. Protostars and Fusion are hosting in Helena. We are so excited. Last season was remote, so we have yet to play a live game with other teams and we haven’t even met the other FTC kid in Montana yet. This will be fun. We still don’t know when our state championship will be. Lexi is having fun with the 3D printer. Its a shiny purple duck!

1/2/22 – Zen Stacking

Zia was zen stacking and we ❤️ it! Our first 3D print was successful, we have a second print in progress. Grover now fits within size constraints and we checked a few of our small tweaks off our checklist. We are also making great progress organizing our closet.

1/1/22 – It’s ALIVE!

Woohoo!!! Our first 3D printer is working. Ender 3V2. For our first print we chose a battery mount from FTC6547 on Thingiverse. It finished in the middle of the night and has a wonky corner. We’ll have to see if we can mitigate that on our next print, which is a hub mount. We have a webcam setup so that we can check in on it and it’s plugged into a smart plug so we can shut it off remotely if needed.

12/31/21 – Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!! Our overarching game goal is to be an agile, alliance friendly, all-around robot, the complete package. We want to be able to adapt to work with any alliance partner. We are almost there! Just a tiny bit over size constraint, so we need to make a couple slight adjustments on Sunday, but it all works! Other than dressing Grover up…drive practice and finishing auto are all we have left. Still no tournament date. We are excited!  <in hindsight, we wish we were that close to done>

12/23/21 – Is build ever really done?

The side panels are off, the worm gear got torn down and rebuilt. A coding issue was to blame for the jerky worm, thankfully that’s resolved now. The linear slide string has claimed its first victim.

12/19/21 – Christmas Party

We took a break from building and coding to celebrate Christmas together. We always have fun Christmas parties. This year we had a gift exchange, holiday treats, a mystery puzzle with a QR code to maybe win $10,000, and a saran wrap ball. Great times, but we only won 25 cents.

12/17/21 – We got a 3D printer for Christmas – Lexi assembled it

11/30/21 – Sharing Holiday Spirit

Brightening our community this holiday season by decorating trees in the United Way building. We also had an opportunity this evening to share our robot with a group of younger girls ages 6-14.

11/28/21 – Redundancy is a Good Thing

Building redundancies, rebuilding Grover for better cable management, and a Black Friday selfie. We also think we are done with the intake hopper, that only took about 6 revisions.  <nope, move revisions to come>

11/24/21 – Redesigning Our Space

The Girl Scout office needed a layout change, so we moved our field, and we are working on moving all of our equipment to the small storage room to the left of our field.

11/21/21 – Everyone has their hands in something

We are all busy with different things. Kennedy is spending time on documentation, so Katie is working on assembling the latest iteration of the bucket. Lexi and Zia are working on Grover, the arm works, but seems to be catching, we’ll need to troubleshoot that.

11/19/21 – Innovative Outreach

What does a robot have in common with a leather, saddle, and pack supply shop? Kennedy had a great idea for her intake mechanism to use leather straps as “fingers”. We contacted a local pack and supply shop, learned about leatherwork, and cut our own parts from scraps. Thank you Trailhead Supply🐴 for sharing your expertise and helping make our robot design idea a reality!

<2/7/22: Bummer side note, there’s a rule that specifically disallows animal based materials, so leather is out. Despite not being able to use the straps in competition, this was a creative, “outside of the box” outreach, community partnership and educational experience. Thank you Trailhead Supply for supporting our team!>

11/19/21 – FTC Official World Championship News!

It was announced last week that there would only be one World Championship event in Houston rather than also having a second in Detroit. What they didn’t say was how bids to Worlds would be handled with a reduced footprint. Normal team counts are 160 for each event.

New update today, each region (Montana is a region) will send 2 teams to worlds. Another 10 spots will be available based on a formula around average teams participating in the past, which won’t affect us. If a region is unable to send teams, their spots will also be distributed similarly. 160 teams total, half of the total count normally advancing in a season.

For small regions like MT or ID that only get 1 spot, it’s nice to get a second. Regions like UT that had 2, stay the same. Larger regions (most) are seeing a decrease. The frustration on Discord and Reddit are already easy to see. The need to consolidate resources for only one event, makes sense…. and the frustration of fewer teams advancing is also understandable. No doubt it wasn’t wasn’t an easy decision for FIRST to make. #FIRSTchampionship

11/17/21 – SWAE Outreach & Spot the Boston Dynamics Robot Dog

Wow! And that doesn’t begin to cover it! We visited SWAE last night. They work in tech textiles and modify some pretty epic equipment.

Their current problem-solving adventure is figuring out how to protect the joints on Spot the Boston Dynamics Robot Dog. They asked us to come up with ideas to help, so we did some research and brought a couple concepts along. Everyone got to drive Spot and we had so much fun.

SWAE is also working on body modifications for a Lamborghini SUV and a McLaren. They have a completed Lamborghini in the shop that they built a custom carbon fiber body that has gold woven into it. They explained their 3D printing and powdered steel technology as well. It was all very impressive! We shared about FIRST, our robot Grover and we got to drive Grover around their nice floor. We didn’t know Grover could drift, but he can! Special thanks to Gail Linne for suggesting the field trip.

11/16 – Machine Learning Tool Beta Test

We were fortunate to be selected for the new FTC Machine Learning Tool beta test. It’s a really simple way for teams to build a model for TensorFlow. We hear it should be released to all teams soon, maybe in just a few weeks. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science which focuses on the use of data and algorithms to imitate the way that humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy.

11/10 & 11/14/21 – Still building… and a new mentor!

Positioning our arm is proving to be a challenge, but we think we’ve got it now. Our intake bucket is now in its first coroplast iteration (no more cardboard). We’ve decided to change from gecko wheels to leather flaps, a strategy kind of like automated carwash brushes. We will be visiting a local leather shop on Friday 11/19. We have an exciting outreach coming up on 11/17 (more to come) and we acquired a new team mentor this week, Jack Rumple who moved up here recently from CO. He previously worked with FRC 4418 Impulse for 5 years. We are thankful to have his expertise to help our team.

11/7/21 – Robot build, Drive Practice and Zooms

Today was a day for sisterhood outreach! We started our Sunday on a Zoom meeting with Girl Scout FLL team Tuxedo Leopards from Casper, WY. They gave their rough innovation project presentation/outline and showed us their prototype. They’ve got a great idea. We asked them judge type questions to help them flesh out their presentation, and gave presentation and interview pointers.

After lunch we worked on the robot, with a goal of having the arm attached and being able to test the carousel spinner using the remote control. We figured out that the sticky worm gear has something to do with the encoder, cable was fine, so it’s either the port on the control hub, the motor encoder itself, or something in our program, we’ll mess with that later. At the moment we settled on removing the encoder cable and we’ll install touch sensors to help keep the arm within limits. Didn’t get the arm attached yet, but we were able to test the spinner. The carousel spinner does work but in practice the gecko wheel kind of bounces the robot backward with our easy-to-scoot chassis. We may try a different kind of wheel.

Then we were joined on Zoom by Girl Scout FTC team 14822 RoboGirls. They were anxious to talk about autonomous, but we just aren’t there yet. Their programmer is hard at work trying to write their code. We talked about needing multiple autonomous programs for the 4 different positions on the board and each needing code branches for the bar code randomization. We’ll be better able to help once we dive into autonomous, which will be this coming week.

In other news, our qualifier has been moved from Nov 20th, to……we don’t know. We are anxiously awaiting a survey from our FIRST Partner. At this point, there’s Thanksgiving, then our coach is gone for 2 weeks, and Christmas is only a week after that. So, we are pulling for early-mid January. Our state tournament may also be up in the air, it’s tentatively 2/25.

11/4/21 – Outreach at West Valley

Mr. Honcoop, the middle school science teacher at West Valley, started teaching LEGO robotics as an elective class. Coach Krista noticed they registered a team for FLL and asked if we were interested in helping them. She emailed and now we are mentoring the 7th and 8th graders. They have a lot of kids in the class and are meeting one evening a week to get in extra build time. We shared about our FLL experience, what judges are looking for, and what makes a good presentation. We walked around the room and helped the teams and gave feedback as they worked on their robots. It sounds like we’ll go back again in a couple weeks and see how things are going.

11/3/21 – Buggy Worm

Every motor, servo, and controller button we are currently planning to use, is coded for. Yay! But we have a problem, our worm gearbox is sticking. We broke it down all the way to the bare motor shaft and it’s still doing it. We reached out to goBilda to see what they recommend. <it was a bit of encoder related code>

10/31/21 – Halloween

Kennedy suggested a Halloween party for our 10/31 meeting. We brought snacks to share at robotics and watched Hocus Pocus. In attendance were a Skeleton, a Witch, a Minion, a Tired Teenager, & Harley Quinn.

10/28/21 – Katie earns her white lab coat

In our high schools, when a student completes 2.5 years of biomed courses, they earn a white coat. Yay Katie!!!

10/22/21 – Work on Grover’s appendages continues

No school day!!! The carousel spinner is attached and it works!!! Lexi got the worm gearbox built for lifting the extension arm and Kennedy is plugging away at the intake between school musical practices.

10/20/21 – Grover v1.0 chassis drive and carousel tests

The walls are around the game floor and we finally have a drivable chassis! Never mind the masking tape holding the battery on, or the crazy driving. We did add faster drivetrain motors this year compared to last year. We may need to slow it down in the programming until we get the hang of how zippy it is. 🙂

Katie spent some time updating the config file and teleop program. In our moment of after-school silliness, we have named all of our ducks and applied facial expressions. Yes, we named the one on the right “Dinner”.

10/17/21 – Sunday Funday

Build build build on either side of a crazy game of Exploding Kittens! Jessie forgot the direction of play and had to wear the “cone of shame”. We also have a working carousel spinner!

10/13/21 – Let the build begin

Busy busy builders. Lexi started building the extension arm. Katie and Zia started working on the new chassis. Jessie started working on the cardboard prototype for the box for our intake. Kennedy started working on the intake mechanism. Everyone worked together to get the floor assembled, cleaned, and taped.

AND, we have a name for our robot……………. GROVER!

10/10/21 – What do we have here?

The only good thing about no practice for 3 weeks, is the parts on our wishlist had time to arrive. We made a mess opening stuff up, but it’s a sign of progress. Katie brought in several autonomous path ideas. We all had a good laugh about AndyMark’s packaging, um…. we’d like Pepperoni with Extra Cheese and a Goat please!

10/1/21 – Girl Scout Fall Nut & Candy Sales

If anyone wants to order candy, our annual fall fundraiser is going on now. Proceeds from nut and candy sales help our team with equipment, parts, travel, and troop activities. Thank you for your support! Visit any of our online stores to order through November 17th:

Zia’s Store

Kennedy’s Store

Lexi’s Store

9/29/21 – COVID got us on pause

3 of us are down with COVID — UGH! We had a zoom meeting on 9/29 to talk about the newly arrived field elements. We were joined by RoboGirls 14822 from Spokane. It was nice to “see” them. They are also excited about the new season. We all talked about component brainstorming and strategy. Here’s Vader the pug with our team shipping hub.

9/18-19/2021 – Kickoff weekend is here!

2021-2022 Freight Frenzy Game Animation

Things we learned:

  • We are either going over the barrier or around it – it will be interesting to see how teams approach the barrier as we see robots develop and tournaments happen.
  • Robots can only hold one piece of freight and cannot reach over the barrier to get it, you have to be in the warehouse to pickup freight
  • Ducks — We love the ducks! They are cute and fun, but are they a scoring element beyond them falling from the carousel to the mat? Maybe we missed that in the rules, we’ll check again and ask in the forum if needed.
  • No updated programming resources yet for Freight Frenzy, we’ll keep checking GitHub
  • The field is not arranged in a diamond as the video from July suggested

FIRST released a One-Page Game Guide with helpful information in an easy format.

All FTC Game Materials can be found here.

We started by breaking down the game into scoring objectives and then what kind of mechanisms we would need to meet the objectives. Of primary concern is the drivetrain, the robot either needs to be built to go over the 1.25″ double barrier, or smaller than 13.7″ to fit around the barrier, or perhaps both. After confirming our current chassis design would not work, we started testing different chassis and wheel options.

In talking through the autonomous objectives, it seems like there’s more strategy involved compared to last season, especially for in person events. We anticipate many versions of our auto code.

Of course along with building a new robot is the disassembly of our rookie robot Kermit. You can view our farewell post to Kermit here. Kermit has been stripped down to a chassis for testing only. We are waiting on a few parts to arrive, and then will begin on our all new robot, yet to be named.

9/14/2021 – Season Planning Meeting

We had a productive meeting. We decided on a tentative schedule for the season. We are moving our Tuesday night weekly meetings to Wednesdays, and for the beginning of the season we are adding Sundays. Our goal is to have a functional robot as soon as possible, so that we can then change back to weekly meetings until closer to tournaments.

Our new REV Driver HUB is now configured and Kermit is drivable with the new setup. The Rev HUB is cool. Larger touch screen, no USB hub, it can be charged while you’re using it, and it was easy to update in the REV hardware tool or over wifi.

We are so excited for kickoff on Saturday. Our plan is to disassemble Kermit and spend a few hours brainstorming, strategizing, prototyping and planning after the kickoff broadcast. Afterwards, we’re all going to the homecoming dance together.

9/11/2021 – Flathead Celtic Festival

We had fun volunteering at @flatheadcelticfestival today. We were asked to be the color guard ahead of the parade of clans. The “honored clan” this year was our first responders in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We also love to support our Lead Programmer Katie and Girl Scout Troop member Anna as they perform with An Daire Academy. We are so proud of them.

9/7/2021 – Girl Scout Cookie Donations

We had 3 separate days in the last 2 weeks where we took time to thank our #HometownHeroes by delivering donated Girl Scout Cookies. Every cookie season customers are given the option to donate cookies. Local Girl Scouts decide where to deliver the donations.

We visited Kalispell Fire Department, Kalispell Police Department, Veteran’s Food Pantry, South Kalispell Volunteer Fire, Creston Volunteer Fire, Evergreen Fire, West Valley Volunteer Fire, Smith Valley Volunteer Fire and the Flathead County 911 Center. We also made arrangements for the Sheriff Deputies and Sheriff’s Posse to have cookies in their command building during the Northwest Montana Fair. It was a great opportunity for us to learn about these different organizations and the services they provide, and share about what we do. Our visit to the 911 Center also helped us finish requirements for our First Aid badges.

7/13/2021 – Game Manual 1 released

Game Manual 1 was released today and can be found here:

Game Manual 1 Traditional

Game Manual 1 Remote

Items we noticed in the rules:

  • Coffee Beans are still forbidden in robot build 🙂
  • 7.3.1 <RG08> is still in the rules restricting the launching of game elements to 5 ft high and 16 ft out – maybe this was an oversight to remove it, or maybe we’ll have another shooting game
  • 1 external battery is allowed at the driver station to power the driver hub
  • A team scoring element is required, which must be larger than 3x3x4 and smaller than 4x4x8 and must have a team number visible at a distance of 12″ – more details to come in GM2
  • 18″x18″x18″ is still the size limit, but there is no weight limit listed
  • Promote video theme: “If there was one thing I would tell my younger self about FIRST, it would be….”

In addition, a tournament queueing video released by FTC recently shows a different field arrangement from last season with the teams on adjacent sides and the the field diagonally oriented to the audience.


6/26/2021 – Glacier Children’s Museum Family FUNday

Glacier Children’s Museum has been a community dream and trying to get off the ground for a couple years. COVID certainly put a wrench in their plans. On June 26th, several downtown Kalispell businesses agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds to Glacier Children’s Museum. We went downtown to lend a hand by providing edutainment for downtown shopping families.

Our robot is cool, but it really couldn’t compete with the EPIC foam monster in attendance. Kids came in swimsuits and street clothes to run and play in masses of bubbles. In addition to demoing our robot, we helped with cardboard creations with MakeDo kits. Special thanks to Zia, Katie and Kennedy for enduring the 100 degree asphalt to share and play.

We believe in Glacier Children’s Museum and hope their fundraising efforts and planning afford them a permanent location soon. We are thankful to Nature Baby Outfitter, Montavino, Norm’s News, Western Outdoor for their donations to this worthy cause. In the meantime, Montana Children’s Museum has traveling exhibits including one currently at the Lone Pine State Park visitor’s center.

6/17-18/2021 – Helping out at FVCC Kids’ College

Zia, Kennedy and Lexi helped out at FVCC Kids’ College. There was a weeklong LEGO robotics class taught with FLL goals in mind. We helped for a couple hours on the last 2 days with robots and programming, and judged robot games and presentations. We hope all the kids had fun and learned a lot. There was even a parent interested in getting FLL teams started in the area. That would be awesome!

5/28-30/2021 – Teambuilding and Outreach Trip to Coeur d’Alene, ID

We had a fun outreach and teambuilding weekend. For Ultimate Goal we were the only Girl Scout FIRST team in Montana. We met up at Triple Play with the only Eastern Washington Girl Scout FTC team, RoboGirls #14822 from Spokane. The hotel let us have a conference room to share robots and brainstorm for the #FreightFrenzy season. All of us had fun together playing laser tag, bowling, VR games, climbing the ropes course, driving go karts and more. What a great way to cap off our awesome rookie season and get ready for the next challenge.

5/20/2021 – #FreightFrenzy game elements confirmed

Check out the FTC blog: https://firsttechchallenge.blogspot.com/2021/05/2021-2022-game-set-team-pre-order.html for information about FreightFrenzy game set pre-orders! Here’s the AndyMark pre-order link: https://www.andymark.com/products/first-tech-challenge-freight-frenzy-pre-order

Yes, we will be (re)using waffle blocks and whiffle balls from seasons past. We don’t have any, so we ordered a few just to have for brainstorming.

2021-2022 Season Theme Reveal

How exciting! Freight Frenzy is the name of the 2021-2022 FIRST Tech Challenge season.

5/6/2021 — New tech coming for #FreightFrenzy season!

A Rev Driver HUB to replace the Driver Station cell phone. This is nifty. Ports for everything we need (no more adapter and extra cables). OS specifically designed for FTC. Improved wifi capabilities. It will likely be $170 with FTC discount direct from REV. Get on the mailing list if you want to be notified when it’s available to order.