Outreach is an incredibly important part of FTC, and our team works hard to promote STEM in our local community. Our team goal is for every person to contribute at least twenty hours of outreach each season – last season, we reached and exceeded this goal with a team total of 769 outreach hours with an average of 70 hours per person! We believe participating in outreach gives everyone on our team the opportunity to both further their own enthusiasm about STEM and share it with the community. We strive to participate in events to learn from experts, help in our community, mentor FIRST teams and promote FIRST and STEM.
We attend local events to show people our robot and tell them about our team and the FTC game challenge. In addition, we love mentoring our seven local FLL teams. It gives us a chance to share our experience with them, as well as still be a part of the FLL game. We also taught a weekly programming course through the town recreation department to elementary and middle school kids. Last year we attended Boston Greenfest, and Boston Scientific’s Bring Your Child to Work Day, where we raised awareness about STEM and FIRST programs by presenting our robot and explaining how it works, as well as promoting the FIRST programs and their goal.
As a team, we enjoy attending events, as well as organizing our own. Throughout the course of the season, over 70% of our outreach events were ones we organized ourselves. One of our favorite events have been our trips to Perkins School for the Blind, a school for students with various visual and cognitive impairments. At Perkins, we worked with their Residential Maker Group to develop a drill press to make jewelry out of keyboard keys.
We are also passionate about visiting companies and connecting with engineers in our community. We have visited companies such as iRobot, Ruland, Rethink Robotics, Robai, Boston Scientific, Boston Dynamics, Rogers Corporation, Amazon Robotics, and MITRE. In addition, we have connected with several mentors in our community who have presented to us on topics such as minimum viable product, operations research, and motor control. We love all the interesting things we can learn from professionals.