By Dana Chism, Jr.FLL Program Manager
Greetings FTC Teams,
First off, let me congratulate you on starting another successful FTC Season. I hope you are hard at work mastering the plans for an awesome competitive robot for this year’s FTC Ring It Up! Challenge! I wish you a lot of luck in your competition season!
As your team is meeting weekly and preparing for your FTC competition, perhaps you are thinking of how you can get more involved in FIRST®? If your team is thinking this, we have an idea for you!
Over the past many seasons, we have heard wonderful stories about how some of our high school FIRST students are giving back and mentoring younger kids in the FIRST® LEGO® League and Junior FIRST LEGO League programs. We have seen this mentorship start to take off, particularly in Jr. FLL®, and we really think this is a perfect way for FTC teams to give back to the youngest FIRST’ers and help grow the mission of FIRST!
Mentoring a Jr. FLL team is very simple. Teams of up to six, 6-9-year-olds usually meet for a minimum of 6-8 weeks and build a LEGO model based on the season theme that has been presented to them for the year.
This year the Jr. FLL Challenge is called SUPER SENIORS and has Jr. FLL teams exploring the world of aging by working with a Senior Partner to learn about their life experience and all the change and innovation they have seen throughout their lifetime. The teams will then build a model out of LEGO elements with a motorized moving part that represents a part of their learning. (The Challenge specific details are shared with the Jr. FLL team online once the team is officially registered for the season.) The team works together to decide what to build and how to build it. Once they have completed building their Jr. FLL model and Show Me poster that compliments the model, they share what they have created together as a team at a Jr. FLL Expo.
An FTC team can serve as a valuable resource by helping many more young innovators have an opportunity to experience FIRST at the youngest level. We encourage you to help start a Jr. FLL team in your local area. There are so many ways to serve as mentors to Jr. FLL teams the possibilities are endless. If your team would like to help grow Jr. FLL, we encourage you to contact your local Jr. FLL representative to see how you can help. The list of representatives is provided on our FIRST website under Jr. FLL, U.S. and Canada Contacts. If there is not a representative listed in your area, stay tuned, we are adding more and more representatives daily.
Another way FTC teams can give back to FIRST and help grow the Jr. FLL Program is by hosting a small Jr. FLL Expo for teams in your local area to attend. Jr. FLL Expos are no more than three hours long and provide an opportunity for the Jr. FLL teams to share what they worked on as a team and celebrate their learning with other Jr. FLL teams. At this level of FIRST, there is no competition. Everyone is a winning participant, which makes hosting an Expo much simpler! There is a Jr. FLL Expo Guide on the Jr. FLL website explaining all the details that go into hosting an Expo. Many Expos charge teams to attend and food and beverages are also sold which can be a wonderful fundraising opportunity for FTC teams.
We hope you will consider this for your FTC team and encourage you to contact email@example.com if you have any further questions.
We thank you for your support in advance and wish you the very best Ring It Up season!
-The Jr. FLL Program Team