Information from Info Meetings

It’s hard to get people together in the summer.  We had two awesome information meetings, where a total of 18 families came out to learn more about New Kent Robotics and FTC.  But there were a few families who had unavoidable conflicts, and they asked if the information would be available some other way.  First, if you have not, I would suggest you take the website tour – simply follow the link at the bottom of each page.

After that, most families have three basic questions that I will try to answer here: When? Where? and How Much?

When will the team have meetings?
This is what I communicated during the information meetings:
We will plan for 3 meetings per week – 3 hours per meeting
      – 2 Evening meetings
            – Tuesday and Thursday OR Monday and Thursday
            – 5:00-8:00 OR 6:00-9:00
      – 3rd meeting
            – Friday evening OR
            – Saturday morning OR
            – Saturday afternoon
This schedule may be dependent on limitations based upon where we are able to find meeting space.  Which brings us to question number 2…

Where will the team have meetings?
We are still looking for meeting space, and I have asked all parents to help find the appropriate space for our team.  Some notes to keep in mind:
      – This space needs to be donated, our budget does not allow for rent.
      – Heat and A/C are needed, as well as electricity and lights.
      – We need to have access during the times listed above, weekday evenings are critical since I work until 4:30.
      – It would be nice if tables and chairs are also provided, the same is true for Wi-Fi.  We will figure something out if we find something that fits all the other requirements, though.

I also see 3 basic “levels” of usage for any space:
      – Team in a box concept – everything we need will be brought each meeting, packed up and carried out after each meeting.  Our goal would be to always leave the facility cleaner than when we show up.
      – Some storage – is there is a closet or someplace we could store some items between meetings, so they aren’t in the way for other activities?
      – Semi-dedicated – if there are no other activities between some meetings, and the area has little to no traffic, could we leave stuff neat, but out?
As you can see, it is more desirable to tend towards the bottom of that list.

We are hoping to partner with a local church or business.  We would like the space to be close to the New Kent Courthouse area, and then expand our search westward towards Quinton.  If we need to start meetings before we find acceptable space, we will simply meet in my home.  We do have a promising lead that could solve all space issues, but I cannot say more until it is confirmed.

How much will this cost each family?
A robotics team can be expensive, and I’ve provided a sample budget on the website.
We are asking every family to pay a $250 activity fee for each child on the team, and we request this payment be made upon signing up for the team.  We have priced out options for a team uniform, and that should cost $30 per team member. (Additional shirts for siblings, parents, friends will probably be $25 each)  Additionally, there is some fuel cost associated with traveling to competitions.

We understand that $250 is a lot of money, but I want to point out that this is a year-long program.  If you look at just the meetings during competition season, it works out to about $5 per meeting.  But even after the competitions, we will be pouring into the kids teaching them SolidWorks, Java programming, website design, etc.  Plus, they always get more out of a season than just robotics – for instance teamwork, problem solving, and public speaking.

If you have additional questions but do not yet have my email address, please fill out the Contact Us page and include your questions in the comments area.  I will get back to you quickly.