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Changes for the Flying Toasters

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi

For the past seasons we have tried many different ways to provide a better experience, better way of developing skills, and a better way to have a more cohesive team. We have tried lecture type sessions, hands on type sessions, and project based sessions. Still we want more for our students.

Looking back on previous years, going over reflective feedback, the coaching staff sees a common theme. There are two seasons for the team, one that runs from Kick-off in January thru end of April, and one that runs the rest of the year (from MARC in June thru Bloomfield Girls Competition in November). So we have labelled them FIRST Robotics Competition (January thru May), and The Flying Toaster Camp (June thru December).

The Flying Toaster Camp is designed to 1) form the team, and 2) build the students skills. Typically, our first team meeting has been in early October. It becomes very frantic and hurriedly as we try to get ready in three months for the FIRST Game reveal in January. For new students to the team, it can be overwhelming.

This year, we have moved our first team meeting to June so that we can have more time, more experiences, more team bonding events, more excursions to our partnerships, more post season competitions (five to be exact vs. two typically), and more development of skills. The coaching staff is looking at depth and breadth of experience, and hope these changes will facilitate that.

Funding for the team is also changing to be inline with the two seasons. The Flying Toaster Camp is funded by the individual $250 non-refundable team fee. This is to cover the expenses from June through December, including the competition event entrance fees, supplies and materials for the team, food, etc. If paid by June 25th, a Flying Toaster team shirt will be ordered.

Unlike the Flying Toaster Camp where there is already a robot developed with just improvements and maintenance costs as well as team bonding and skill development costs, the FIRST Robotics Competition season we have to cover the development of a the robot(s) for the new game, materials to build the robot(s), field, etc; team supplies, entrance fees for FIRST events, travel costs, and the list goes on. Typically, we see a budget of $50,000 for this period. To fund this much larger budget, we look towards corporate sponsorship and our partnerships to help us in meeting our needs.

Stay tuned for more information over the next couple months as the coaching staff and mentors work on bettering the Flying Toaster Experience. We over me.

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