Anybody who has ever been involved in a team sport knows that the coaches can either make or break the experience. One of the best things about FIRST is the dedication and enthusiasm of the team coaches. Whether they join because of their own love of robotics or to be supportive of their child's aspirations, so many of the coaches are making an impact on these kids in the most wonderful way.
Steve, coach of FIRST LEGO League 9811 (Da Flyin Ewoks), is a perfect example. As a 5th grade teacher in Ormond Beach, FL, Steve was approached by a neighbor who was involved with an FIRST Robotics Competition team that wanted to create more of a network in the area where kids could progress up into the higher levels of FIRST. It wasn't long before Steve was on board and became the coach of this FIRST LEGO League team. And although they have gone through some changes is format, team names and grades, they continue to expand and work their way to the Regional Competition every year.
For the first three years, the team was comprised of only rookie members each year. Now in their 4th year, they retained two members from last year. This has been a good change as the veterans have been able to mentor the rookies and offer their experience to the team.
Steve has found that he is able to incorporate all that he teaches in the 5th grade into coaching for FIRST LEGO League in a way that is exciting for the kids. The kids love it so much, they make sure to fit in the practices around all of their other extracurricular activities. And Steve loves to take kids who are completely new to FIRST and watch them move up to the larger robots after just one year. He also has a lot of fun having his daughter on the team.
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