LEGO Camp – the 2011 Session

The 2011 edition of LEGO Robotics Camp was one of the best ever! This was the 3rd year I had Camp participants working on their robots.the pleasure of working with the student volunteers of Raider Robotix – FIRST Team 25 to make this happen.

The student volunteer logistics were a bit unusual. One had graduated this past June, but had helped run the Camp in the past and strongly pressed to work the program again. Two others needed to leave the camp near the end to attend the Indiana Regional Invitational, an off-season competition; they needed to cover their absence with other team members. Then there was the robot demo that some of our Camp crew ran for Ms. Russo’s enrichment classes, at her request. The team’s 2010 season PR person, now graduated, stepped in to help with that. So we had a rather large crew this year; 10 on my student volunteer roster.

18 registered participants attended the Camp this year, our largest number ever. Everyone – we survey the kids at the end – reported having a great time! Some told us that the final challenge was a bit *too* challenging. Okay, so there’s something to work on for next year.

The LEGO Camp program is similar each year, but each crew of student volunteers brings its own signature to the activities. Generally there’s a new challenge each day or so. Each calls upon participants, working in small groups, to design and build a machine from LEGO parts to complete the challenge. I’m always delighted to see how the strengths of one team or another perform better at each challenge. Seldom does one team dominate.

Camp participant tries her hand driving the Raider Robotix competition robot.It’s becoming a tradition that Camp participants enjoy the opportunity to learn about – and even operate – a Raider Robotix competition robot. This session was no exception. We took over the library, where the team practiced for the 2010 season, and all participants had the opportunity to try driving and placing tubes on the grid. Some did better than others, but I’m pleased to report that there were no mishaps or injuries to kids – or to the robot!

Believe it or not, some members of the Raider Robotix team had their first exposure to the FIRST Robotics program through our LEGO Camp!

All told, it was a very successful Camp and parent survey results concur. Check out some pictures in the team gallery.

You might be thinking that your child would be interested in participating in next year’s Camp, and that’s great. You need to know that the program has limited capacity. We fill up fast and when that happens we have no choice but to turn would-be participants away. Don’t let that happen to you!

Learn more about the program on our LEGO Camp mini site and make sure you get onto our early notification email list. Then you’ll hear about the details of the next program just as soon as they’re available, well in advance of our usual publicity efforts. Further, our promise to you: we hate spam as much as you, maybe more. We won’t use your email address for anything – other than to tell you about the LEGO Camp program. No exceptions.

See you next year!

A Salute to Team 25’s 2011 Graduates

After a fantastic season, I decided to put together this tribute to the 2011 Team 25 graduates. Sure, some will keep working for the team but as alumni their role will change. Over the years, this is part of the core crew that’s collectively pulled off some amazing stuff, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. We’ll all miss ’em.

Out of the thousands of photos we’ve taken over a period of a few years, I think you’ll like these.

Enjoy! Moves to New Hosting Company

At 11:00 EDT March 27, 2011 we threw the switch, updating DNS to point our domain to a new hosting company. It’s the first such move we’ve made in our history.

By 3:30 EDT the change seems to have propagated to most of the larger DNS providers. If you’re reading this then you’re seeing us on the new server.

Please report any problems that appear to be related to the move.

Now we can get back to work.

Web Site Re-Launched

Las Vegas 2010 Team

The team takes a break at the Las Vegas Regional competition in 2010.

With another Build Season behind us we figured it was time to revisit our Web presence. Yeah, yeah, we know; our old site hasn’t kept pace. Sure, we picked up an award for it and that’s all well and good, but we were getting tired of taking the flack for being stagnant. What you probably don’t know is that there actually have been a couple of interim efforts to update. Unfortunately, each stalled before leaving the gate.

Enough talk of the past! For those of you that keep track of such things, the re-launched site officially went live at 16:54 EST on February 27, 2011. The smell of the new paint should have dissipated by now. The tools have been put away – well, most of ’em, anyway – so you’re probably good to doff the safety glasses while you look around.

Weiss’ Pilot Transition Program

Incoming members of Team 25 were often overwhelmed by the unfamiliar and intense activity of a new FRC season. Roger Weiss‘ program eased the transition. The success was eventually spun off into a new school curriculum.

In these March 2009 photos we see our FTC members (in our signature Hawaiian shirts, mostly visible) competing in New York. Most are currently successful members of our FRC team.

Raider Robotix Classroom Closeup [Video]

Below is a copy of the Classroom Closeup special, produced by Adam Bauser, about Raider Robotix that aired on NJN.

Team 25, Raider Robotix ( is an award-winning robotics team from North Brunswick High School that competes in FIRST ( competitions. By organizing into sub groups that include a build crew, drive team, scouting team, public relations, animation group, and spirit team, the organization provides opportunities for students to explore their interests in engineering, science, and more. Strong support from the local community, parents, and alumni contribute to the team’s continued success.

Robotics from Adam Bauser on Vimeo.