Shoe Recycling Program Underway for 2013-2014

ShoeBox RecyclingOur Shoe Recycling program is continuous, running year-to-year and throughout the summer. It has turned out to be an important source of funding for the team, and we’re proud of what we’ve done to help the environment. A huge Raider Robotix thank you goes out to everyone who has made it possible though their donations.

If this is the first you’re hearing about our shoe drive, the concept is simple. Everyone has old shoes they’re no longer using. Maybe they’re outgrown, maybe they’re out of style, maybe you just don’t like them anymore. Still, those shoes are serviceable and you just feel rotten throwing them out. So there they are, taking up valuable space in the bottom of the closet, year after year.

Here’s what to do. Give them to us! We’ve partnered with Shoebox Recycling who recycles them to those in need. We collect and ship the shoes in exchange for cash, which goes directly to supporting the team. It’s a win-win-win-win proposition!

We accept all kinds of shoes – men’s, women’s, kids, as long as they’re complete pairs and reusable and re-wearable. Athletic shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes, work boots, sandals, heels, flats…. it’s all good. There are a few, though, that can’t be accepted. Flip flops, crocs, skates, etc. Here’s a cool color flyer that has all the details.

Okay, you’ve decided that yes, you can help us by donating your footwear. How do you get it to us? That’s easy, too! Simply email us (shoes@RaiderRobotix.org) and we’ll take it from there.

Maybe you’re wondering if you can take it to the next level. After all, if you have unwanted shoes in your closet, it’s likely your friends, family and co-workers do too. And the answer is yes, you can! We can arrange to get an attractive box to make collection easy. (See that flyer for a picture.) Then email us and we’ll get it picked up.

Did you notice the other flyer we use to publicize the program? We’ve got one of these in Microsoft Word format that you can customize or personalize. The blue box in the upper right corner is a perfect place for your own message, for example, The Acme Widget Corporation is proud to support Raider Robotix – FRC Team 25 by recycling used footwear! Donate today!

Thank you again for helping us with this most successful program. Over the years we’ve shipped thousands of pounds of shoes. It’s good for you, good for us, good for the planet AND its people.

Heritage Day Demonstration

For the past 31 years, North Brunswick has held its annual Heritage Day Festival, a time for the entire community to come out and celebrate everything that makes up our great town. This year, Raider Robotix was once again in attendance. Many team members walked around the festival handing out team fact sheets and talking to passers-by to help spread awareness about our team.  We also demonstrated our 2012 World Championship winning robot, Rasheed “The Sheed” Wallace. The demonstration consisted of our robot launching basketballs into a crowd of children who were eagerly awaiting to catch them. “Seeing kids’ faces light up with smiles as they caught the basketballs really touched us deeply,” team member Jason Levash said. “If you asked a few years ago if many kids in our community were interested in robotics, the answer would have been no. Today, we were ecstatic to see that Raider Robotix has a sparked an interest in STEM with the younger members of our community,” he added.  Overall, participating in Heritage Day was a great way to spread the message of FIRST, as well as strengthen the bond we share with our town. After seeing how much of a difference we truly make in this town, Raider Robotix is eagerly counting down the days until Heritage Day 2014. Skip to 00:15 of this Mycentraljersey.com video to see our bit of the action.

Announcing the formation of Raider Robotix Parent & Mentor Association, Inc.

Our parent support organization, Raider Parent Mentors, has been incorporated as Raider Robotix Parent & Mentor Association, Inc. The newly formed corporation enjoys 501(3)(c) status as a charitable organization, as a member of Parent Boosters, USA.

The first annual meeting will be held at the High School August 8, 2013.

At this important meeting, members will vote on the Bylaws and Officers will be nominated for the coming school year.

Enroll today.

North Brunswick Youth Sports Festival Outreach

Build Crew 2012

Team member Ashwin teaches an elementary school student how to drive at the Carnival

Last weekend, the North Brunswick Youth Sports Organization held their annual June carnival near DeVry University. Our program was represented by team members and alumni who ran a booth at the event, greeting the public and inviting them to play a game where they could win a goldfish as a prize. FTC teams 3568, Ice Wolves, and  6508, Radioactive Raiders, brought over their smaller robots to demonstrate and get young passers-by interested in FIRST. Children from elementary to middle school ages inquired about the program and our upcoming LEGO Camp and were able to drive the FTC robots. The team also collected shoes for our Shoe Drive in partnership with ShoeBox Recycling and the Milltown Payless Shoes store. The team raised a considerable amount as a result of the event and is grateful to the North Brunswick Youth Sports Organization for letting us be a part of their event.

Build Crew 2012

The FTC robots

Seeking New Sponsors

Early last month, Raider Robotix received the unfortunate news that our primary corporate sponsor, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), would no longer be able to financially support FRC teams for the upcoming 2013-2014 FIRST season. Bristol-Myers Squibb has been a sponsor of Raider Robotix since the team’s fourth season in 2000. That year, the company’s generous support and talent allowed us to build our first national championship winning robot. Since then, BMS has aided us throughout the last 14 years, which has included 11 Regional wins, 5 Championship Division wins, and a World Championship title.

The following article appeared in the Home News Tribune on May 31, 2013:

North Brunswick Township High School Robotics Team Faces Financial Woes

Written by Steph Solis

North Brunswick Township High School’s Raider Robotix team has conquered national and world championships, but it ends the school year with a challenge: seeking new sponsors.

Team 25 has started scouting businesses and organizations to fund it for the FIRST Robotics Competition’s 2014 build season. The registration fee alone costs the team about $6,000.

One of North Brunswick team’s major sponsors, Bristol-Myers Squibb, announced in a letter that it will be unable to sponsor it next season because of unforeseen budget cuts to its New Jersey Community Grants budget.

Raider Robotix, who won For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology’s world championship competition in 2012, was sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb for more than 15 years and has been mentored by Bristol-Myers Squibb employees.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb letter addresses only the budget for the following season, but there is no guarantee of whether the cuts are temporary.

Despite the budget cuts, Bristol-Myers Squibb employees will continue to mentor Team 25 members and its other sponsored teams.

The budget cut affects all of the robotics teams Bristol-Myers Squibb assisted, including those at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Montgomery High School and Hopewell Valley Central High School, among others.

Changing sponsorships is not uncommon for robotics teams, but securing the funding is crucial for each team. The FIRST guide to creating a robotics team lists sponsorships as one of the key items needed for a new team. However, members said the process can be difficult, especially for such a large sum.

Teams have to build a new robot and training field each year, depending on the game FIRST creates for that season. The process can cost thousands of dollars. Raider Robotix is one of many teams that have had to recycle parts (or “cannibalize” the robots, as Team 25 members say).

Sarah Sleiman, who does public relations for the team, said she has spent the last couple of weeks researching grants and potential sponsors.

“It’s really hard,” said Sleiman, a sophomore. “I research what businesses and companies would fund education. (I) go online, hunt through the website, fill out a 10-page form, which is dreadful. Maybe they contact you two or three months later.”

Sleiman and other members raise funds for Raider Robotix locally. Sleiman said she visited more than 50 small businesses last year to seek donations for Team 25’s expenses and managed to get a handful to donate roughly $100 to $200 each.

Over the years, Team 25 has prepared to manage a tighter budget. They used to receive thousands of dollars more from sponsorships, which they would use to stock up on parts and other expenses, assistant coach Bob Goldman said.

North Brunswick has expanded its contributions to the robotics team. The school is opening a new machine shop next year, which will help the team produce its parts and build its robots and training fields more easily.

Since Raider Robotix launched in 1997, it has stood out as one of the top teams in the country. In 2000, the team won the national championship. Team 25 has won dozens of regional tournaments and won awards at the national and world competitions. The team won the world championship in St. Louis last spring.

North Brunswick celebrated the victory, holding a pep rally in honor of the members, head coach Wayne Cokeley said. At the pep rally, Cokeley told students about the team’s success and the impact of science and technology.

“Raider students drive nuclear submarines, design medical diagnostic equipment and work with NASA on the next Mars exploration robots,” he said at the pep rally. “Raider Robotix graduates are changing the world for all of us, and we have barely scratched the surface of the $15 million scholarship money that’s available to them.”

Members said that sponsorship is crucial to keep the team in FIRST. It is where many students get hands-on training in programming and other skills in science and technology, as well as access to scholarships.

Without Team 25, students said, they would lose access to science and technology training, as well as FIRST scholarships.

Senior Kevin Ramachandran, who heads the team’s scout crew, said he chose to pursue computer science in college because of robotics. He spends 45 hours a week on average doing scouting work during build season.

“When I came here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Ramachandran said. “This made me know what I wanted to do.”

Despite concerns, members said they believe Team 25 will survive the funding issue. Students such as senior Kelly Petersen, a member of the scout crew, say that sustaining Raider Robotix helps the school’s reputation.

“We’re probably one of the biggest reasons why (North Brunswick is) known,” she said.

Source

Since the article was published, Raider Robotix has received a $50 donation from Cornerstone Architectural Group. We thank them kindly for their assistance. Any amount of support will help us towards our fundraising goals.

If you or your company is interested in sponsoring Raider Robotix or learning more about what our program offers, feel free to contact head coach Wayne Cokeley directly at smwonder@comcast.net. We can also be reached on the web via our official Facebook and Twitter pages.

FTC Team 3568, ICE Wolves, Wins Big at NJ State Championship

On Sunday, March 10, 2013, four of North Brunswick Township High School’s FTC teams competed against 45 other teams at the New Jersey FTC State Championship.

Team 3568, the ICE Wolves, pose with their trophies after winning the NJ FTC State Championship!

Team 3568, the ICE Wolves, pose with their trophies after winning the NJ FTC State Championship!

Team 3568, the ICE Wolves, seeded 8th out of 24 teams in the Parkway Division. They were then selected by the first place team to join their alliance. They went on to win their division and ultimately the championship!

Team 6508, the Radioactive Raiders, were also in the Parkway Division, where they finished in 11th place and were picked by the 4th seeded alliance captain. However, the Radioactive Raiders were bested by the ICE Wolves in the divisional semi-finals.

In addition to winning gold, the ICE Wolves also won the state level Motivate Award! The Motivate Award celebrates a team’s enthusiastic spirit and efforts to make themselves and FIRST well known throughout their school and community.

Congratulations to the ICE Wolves and our three other FTC teams for a very successful season!

Raider Robotix Proudly Presents Evil Machine 11!

EvilMachine11This year Raider Robotix once again worked with Team 103, Cybersonics, to build our 2013 entry into the FIRST Robotics Competition.

    Robot Features:

  • Picks discs up off of the floor.
  • Adjustable tilt allows for shooting discs into the high goal from multiple locations.
  • The climbing mechanism is able to hang from the top rung of the pyramid for 30pts.
  • Programmed for multiple, multi-disc autonmous modes.