Having the opportunity to coach the Bayou Builders FLL Team #4043 the past three seasons has been a whirlwind! Ben and I have been so fortunate to work with so many amazing young people and to see first hand the transformation that can occur through participation in a quality robotics program. FIRST is definitely "more than just robots!" We have been truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to compete at three international competitions in as many years and to have been a part of close to 50 different community outreach events impacting thousands of young lives.
During the 2017 FIRST World Championship in Houston this April, the team had the opportunity to meet with Earl Shipp, Director of DOW's Gulf Coast Operations. It was inspiring to witness how Mr. Shipp engaged the team and to hear his admiration regarding their accomplishments. As a result of this meeting, DOW has committed to providing us the funding to start three new community-based FIRST robotics teams!
What an amazing opportunity!!! To think that we are about to be able to provide our area with two new community-based Jr FIRST Lego League (JrFLL) robotics teams (composed of 1st - 4th graders) and a community-based FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team (composed of 7th - 12th graders) is a tremendous! ...and it all came from the inspiration derived from a crew of 10 dedicated students 8 - 13 years old...the Bayou Builders!
HYPE Robotics (Helping Tangi Youth Pursue Excellence in Robotics) was created as a means to manage the Bayou Builders and our three new teams. We are committed to supporting quality STEM opportunities throughout southeast Louisiana and to create and support transformational FIRST robotics programs in our area. The operation of HYPE Robotics will also be used to provide our FLL and FTC teams with an opportunity to learn about and practice real-world business management skills.
Our ultimate goal is to grow HYPE Robotics' success in such a way that we can provide expansive opportunities for involvement in proven successful FIRST robotics programs regardless of the financial means of participants. We want to create and support FIRST robotics experiences that impact all socio-economic communities within our area and truly develop the STEM skills and confidence needed to attract even more diverse business opportunities throughout our region.
FIRST is all about creating experiential-based programs that create meaningful experiences for young people in science, technology, engineering and math in exciting ways. It truly is more than robots! Sure students get to learn about the mechanical, electrical and programming aspects of building a successful robot...but they also learn about the importance of teamwork, collaboration and true support in community growth.