Champions are made in the offseason
Wow, has it been awhile since we’ve updated the blog! Needless to say, we’ve been incredibly busy these past few months, creating a robot for the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition challenge: Steamworks!
If you haven’t already been following us on our Facebook page here’s a quick summary of how the season went!
2017 Season Recap
Our first Build Season was a triumph! We managed to have a working robot by Bag and Tag, as well as the practice robot for prototyping, testing, and practice purposes by working out of numerous garages generously offered by the parents on our team. Thankfully, we were able to move into our new workshop (graciously donated to us by K.T Urban!) in the last few days before it was time to stop building. Our first robot, Brynhildr, was wrapped up in its bag at 9:00 PM, February 21st, ready for battle. At the end of March, Valkyrie attended the Silicon Valley Regional - one of the most watched and most competitive qualifying events across California. The competition was tough; we faced numerous obstacles in the road to victory, matching up against teams with numerous regional wins under their belts; some of whom went on to play on the final fields at Championships; one of which would later become the World Champions at St. Louis! We came out of the event with four wins and five losses, ranking us at 37th of roughly 60 teams at the event. Even though we were not selected to play in the Eliminations, we kept our heads held high, and immediately began preparations for the off-season.
With Silicon Valley Regional behind us, we’ve been making massive strides to prepare for more events over the summer and fall. We’re looking forward to everything from off-season competitions, to local trainings, even outreach events!
Chezy Champs: “The Best in the West”
We were graciously invited as one of 46 teams to compete at Chezy Champs, an off-season tournament hosted by Team 254: The Cheesy Poofs (Winners at this year’s St. Louis Championship!). The event takes place at Bellarmine College Preparatory, San Jose, from September 16th - 17th. The event will include teams from all across California, and a few others from out of state. This competition is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in recent FRC history, and we’re excited to be a part of it. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring some new material to the table….stay tuned on that!
Madtown Throwdown: Double Trouble! (Hopefully)
Later in the year, we are hoping to attend Madtown Throwdown, another offseason hosted by Team 1323: Madtown Robotics. This event will be less intense than Chezy Champs, but just as fun! Signups have yet to come out, but hopefully we’ll be able to compete with some local friends of ours as well. Madtown Throwdown has some interesting rules - for one, teams are allowed to register not just one, but multiple robots, and have a separate drive team and pit space for each. Perhaps we’ll be fortunate enough to have this rule apply to us - again, stay tuned!
As part of our new volunteering initiatives, we’re hoping to have several students (and mentors) from our team register as volunteers at every event in which we compete. The events take a lot of work, and we want to help make sure they run smoothly!
Bay Area Business/Media Workshops: Collaborative Learning!
Our team became part of the fourth annual Bay Area Business/Media Workshops, helping lead workshops on Public Relations and Marketing, as well as Graphic Design! Two of our team’s mentors have helped coordinate and plan the curriculum for these events. Members from over 10 different teams attended the July series, and we’re hoping to drastically increase the number of attendees for the August session! If your team is interested in attending these workshops, you can contact us for the signup link soon!
Internal Trainings: Fun For All!
We are still running trainings for our own members as often as possible, ranging from code meetings to grant writing workshops. Nearly every week, we have had some workshop or another available to those interested. Here’s some of the upcoming trainings in our summer lineup:
- Business Operations
- Chezy Champs Pre-Scouting
Workshops like these, on top of our weekly team meetings, trainings, and projects, have been keeping everyone on their toes. No shortage of work for us!
WRRF Workshops: We’ve Always Got Room Improve!
We only know so much, so like most teams in Northern California, we’re planning on sending members to learn from others at the Western Region Robotics Forum’s annual Summer Workshops event. While it sounds like most of the actual workshops are still to be determined, there is always some topic or another that we can learn from and improve upon internally. Ideally, everyone from our team finds a workshop that they are interested in so that we can make the most out of this huge learning experience!
Let’s face it - we’d be nowhere without the support we’ve received from our families, sponsors, the community, and FIRST. We figured it’s high time we pay it forward and inspire others.
Google FLL Jr. Expo: Think Of The Children!
A couple months back, we sent several members over to Google in Mountain View to help work as Judges for the FIRST Lego League Junior Expo! Our team learned about the projects and research young elementary school students had worked on, and how they aspired to become more proficient in STEM. Fun was had by all, and our students left inspired by the Jr. FLL teams and vice versa.
Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire: Bringing Bots to Cali’s Coast!
Part of FIRST’s mission is to help promote STEM by bringing FIRST programs to regions that do not already have them. Santa Cruz, CA is one of these areas. With some of the Valkyrie mentors trying to generate interest in FRC at Santa Cruz high schools, we decided it would be a good idea to demonstrate our robot at the Santa Cruz Mini Maker Faire, which had never hosted an FRC team before! Youth of all ages had fun driving our robot around and learning more about FIRST and the various programs it offers. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing a rookie team out of Santa Cruz in the near future…
Bay Area Maker Faire: “The Big One”
Collaborating with WRRF once again, we, along with many other teams in the Bay Area, demonstrated our robot at the FIRST Robotics panel at Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo! While we were all business during our demo time, everyone had a lot of fun exploring the different exhibits on display, meeting up with old friends, networking with new ones, and generally having fun with STEM! A huge thank you to Team 100: The Wildhats and Team 2643: Dark Matter, as well as WRRF, for helping coordinate such a fun experience for us! We hope we can show off our stuff next year as well!
As mentioned earlier, we’re looking to volunteer at all of our upcoming events, and we’re currently planning more community outreach and demos in the near future. For more updates on those, make sure you’re following our Facebook page, where all of our event information is broadcasted!
The hustle and bustle of robotics never really stops, and we’re ready to make the 2018 season our best! As they say: “Champions are made in the off-season!”