The competition did not go well. Several of the kids who came did NOTHING. Some of the kids who came obviously had never done anything to contribute, so I was baffled as to why they were allowed to come. One kid actually kept doing things he was told not to do. A few weeks ago, the school robotics club sponsor announced there would be no program next year.
I've decided that by-golly the kids who have worked hard and have a genuine interest will be back next year. I looked at the rules and community clubs or organizations are allowed to compete so long as they can prove everyone on the team falls within the allowed ages. Furthermore, the teams can be sponsored by an individual or entity in the form of cash or materials. It may be possible for a bot to be built, entry fees for the competition, transportation and hotel rooms can be gotten for less than $1,500. The rules state a club can also can use volunteer consultants, so long as the students themselves do all the work and the consultants merely provide instruction. Therefore, I'm going to lead a community robotics team next year. I have workbenches in my garage, I've found several marine technology websites by credible organizations that offer step-by-step instructions on building the underwater robots, I have several contacts in the petrochemical, technology and hobby fields whom I can ask to sponsor us, I know a few kids on the high school team whom I will ask to serve as consultants, and I will beg and borrow whatever tools necessary to get those kids to compete again next year.
Even if their school does decide to scrape together a program next year, I'm still going to ask the students I have in mind if they would want to do it as a neighborhood club, rather than going with the school. I really think we could do this, and I'm going to ask Jamie's friend's parents if they want to help. Of course, all of this is contingent upon if the rules continue to allow a community club to compete. I'll let you know in November or December when they post the rules if I will be sponsoring a robotics club of my own. Until I know whether or not I'll be allowed to lead a team, I'm not saying anything to Jamie or his friends. I don't want to get their hopes up for no reason.
P.S. I'm too exhausted to try to upload pictures from the competition tonight. Sometime this week after I wrap up my finals I'll post the pics under a post entitled, "Bots, Part II".
P.P.S.S. Because the Robotics II class has officially been canceled for next year, Jamie was put back in orchestra. I'm VERY happy about that!!!!