I used to do FTC, before I joined FRC. I have competed in plenty of FIRST events and have felt that other events were substantial downgrades when compared to FRC. When I would see people running through the competition wearing a “volunteer” shirt. I never understood what all the fuss was about until I became a volunteer, EVEN WORSE, a volunteer coordinator... When I was given the option of being in charge of an FLL Qualifier, I took it without hesitation. It’s simply LEGOs, how hard could it be? Let me tell you… I never thought that there was so much work to be put into these competitions.
We had to make sure we had the right amount of judging rooms with the appropriate layout.
Had to create a layout for the competition within the school
Learn how to use the sound equipment from the band teacher
Learn how to use the gym scoring system in order to teach the scorer how to do their role
Make sure there weren’t any volunteers eating away at the pizza instead of doing their jobs.
Control the parents from flipping the cafeteria because the pizza came thirty minutes late.
and so much more…
The day before the competition, we worked from 12 pm to 2 am, setting up everything. Then woke up in the morning and came back to school at 7 am. On the day of the competition, my job was to ensure everyone was doing their roles. So I was that person wearing that “volunteer” shirt running back and forth. My legs shook every once and a while after the games and judging sessions were done, but it was well worth when I got sit down and see how happy the kids were when they received their awards. It was then that I knew how powerful FIRST events can be. Motivate the youth in your community or city. Host an event that parents and children won’t forget. A place that allows them to put their hard work and determination into a tangible item or result. It may be physically and mentally tiring, but the smiles on the children’s faces will be the true award of the competition.