2012/05/07

Fox Valley Robotics Lab Meeting

A small group of Fox Valley people interested in robotics met for a couple hours tonight, 07 May 2012, at St. Joseph Middle School in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, to discuss possibilities for connecting more mentors with area students who want to be involved with competitive robotics and to discuss the general concept of launching a Fox Valley Robotics Lab.


St. Joseph Middle School has set aside one of their classroom as a dedicated robotics lab, primarily for the VEX competitive robotics program. The robotics lab is currently underutilized, and there are more students in the Fox Valley region interested in robotics than there are robotics teams available for them to be on. The lack of teams is due primarily to the lack of mentors plugged into the competitive robotics programs, although money for robotics kits and associated equipment, as well as space to meet and work in, could become a problem if there were enough mentors for all the interested students.

Because of there being more students interested in competitive robotics program than there are available resources to facilitate them being involved in the program, Marc Couture organized tonight's meeting, as well as another similar meeting at St. Joe's this Thursday, 10 May 2012, at 6 PM (go in the main door along Oneida Street). Marc is the lead person in Wisconsin for VEX robotics, and has been involved with FIRST robotics and organized youth robotics for many years. His specific purpose for the meetings tonight and on Thursday is:
"for the general public to attend to learn more about the opportunities available to become part of a volunteer group of instructional staff (or mentors) for area students that seek to become more engaged in their education through competitive robotics."
Marc's vision for how the St. Joe's robotics lab will be used as "the Fox Valley Robotics Lab" is:
"to provide a community based service open to all students willing to travel to St. Joseph Middle School for the purpose of building their skills to be effective designers, builders, programmers and any other valued role required of a competitive team (CAD, animation, web design, marketing & PR etc)."
After the second organizational meeting this Thursday, Marc will send out a follow-up email to all the people he knows are interested in the concept of a Fox Valley Robotics Lab for this region's youth. The email will summarize his thoughts about the two meetings and what the next steps are for moving ahead with better utilizing the fantastic resource the Fox Valley has in the St. Joe's robotics lab.

If you're interested in being involved with youth robotics in Appleton or the Fox Valley and can't be at Thursday's meeting, contact me at bwaldron {att} gmail [dott] com.

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