One of the most important goals we have as a team is to continuously increase the positive impact we have within our community.
As each year progresses, we have developed a complete marketing and community outreach plan that encompassed many of our original goals: building a thriving and energetic technology program at our high school, expanding with presentations to local elementary and middle schools, mentoring FLL teams, working with engineering mentors from our corporate sponsors, and emphasizing the importance of responsibility within the STEM community.
Team 3128: The Aluminum Narwhals’ Robotics Summer Camp
Our robotics summer camp is one of our main ways that we are able to contribute back into the community. Through this 5-week camp, we bring students on campus for a week long course using the VEX IQ and VEX EDR kits to teach them basic principles of engineering and programming while sparking a future interest in robotics. By holding it at Canyon Crest Academy and inviting team members to be a part of it, we continued fostering a culture within our own team of spreading excitement about robotics and passing on what we’ve learned. Furthermore, by inviting campers year after year to bring their excitement and interest to our school we are building a reputation of actively encouraging the growth of young minds within our community.
Campers complete a series of tasks with their robots that walk them through programming basic motors and sensors, and all of these concepts culminate into one complex challenge that tests all of their newly acquired abilities at the end of the week. We do all of this in a fun camp environment where campers also take part in various recreational activities.
Not only do we engage the younger members of our community, by putting on these camps we also are able to help fund the academics at our school and allow our own team to expand. Last year’s camps were so enormously successful that we are hoping to expand our total capacity next summer from 200 campers over four weeks to 1000 campers over five weeks. Along with this, we will be inviting 60 volunteers from our high school to participate in mentoring these campers, as well as hiring a full-time set of staff members from our team alumni and the surrounding community.
STEM Expos in San Diego
The Aluminum Narwhals have appeard at Balboa Park’s Maker Faire (2017, 2018) and PETCO Park STEM Expo (2018) and will be at Petco Park for this years event on March 2, 2019 PETCO Park STEM Expo. Come see our students (and our new 2018 “Deep Space” robot) in action.
The Aluminum Narwhals go to different schools every year to present and demonstrate our robot to younger audiences. Through robot demos/presentations at local schools, this helps attract attention towards the FIRST program and the goals in which it pursues, encouraging schools to fund and support their own FIRST team. Likewise, interest in robotics at a young age draws attraction for students to enter our high school and because an FRC member, expanding the quality of our projects.
Mentoring and Assisting Other Teams
Through our yearly robot presentations at elementary schools, these efforts have widely spread the influence of FIRST and eagerness for a program dedicated towards robotics. This year, 3128 Team members are mentoring two community FLL Teams: The Chickeneers and the Pandamoniums. Both Teams have competed in their local regionals and have done well - we are hoping to see them in Houston TX in April for World Championships!
Qualcomm QKids Presentations
Qualcomm QKids is a yearly event that we began participating in July 2016. Every year, Qualcomm invites local STEM organizations to come and present in personalized booths while elementary-middle school students of Qualcomm’s own employees are welcomed to tour around and get themselves involved. Held within Qualcomm’s headquarters, children come piling in for a chance to view our latest robot and listen to the year’s game task. Through this event, our team raises awareness of FIRST and promotes our annual robotics summer camp designed to get young children on track for a possible focus in robotics in high school.