WE’RE BACK!!!! Join Us…

Well, it’s probably no surprise to our friends, fans, and family– FTC Team Brick Buddies is returning for the 2014-2015 season!  Some teams didn’t even know we took the year off, considering we still volunteered for FTC and conducted Hardware Inspection at League Meets.  It was great, that everyone said how much they missed us and wanted to see us come back. It motivated our decision to return.



Our kids were never far from their roots, still doing robotics, still hosting our annual FLL competition. Although, the break enabled our team members to hone new skills: Some learned CAD (finally), some started high school and we’re able to become involved in other activities (remember we were middle schoolers!) and one of our kids took the time to get a perfect score on the Math section of the SAT.  And for Jon and I, we can’t say, it wasn’t so terrible having some free weekends with our respective families. So, in all, it’s been time well spent.  But, FIRST is a family and we missed it.  The kids missed being together.  They missed building a robot.  And, when THE KIDS say they wanna build a robot, that’s when it’s time to put back on the team shirt!

This season, we’re also accepting applications for a few new team members.  We’re a Community Robotics team.  We’re looking for high school students, ages 14 and up.  We’re looking for students who are interested in Programming (C+) or Building skills or have experience working with tools or something else you feel might be a great asset to a competitive robotics team.  We typically practice on Sundays.  If you are an FLL kid, aging out, or maybe you were on an FTC school team and you are unable to stay after school for their meetings, and a weekend team would work better, let us know.  Interested students should fill out an  FTCapplication and email it to kappelers@yahoo.com.  If you have questions, please contact us.  Can’t wait to see everyone at this season’s Kick Off!


Time For SUPER JR. 2013

Brick Buddies has been busy this week.  After catching our breath from a great Workshop Day for our area FLL teams, we’ve switched gears to our younger FIRST fans in Jr. First LEGO League.  We’ve started hosting a very unique Jr. FLL Expo and this season, we’ve gone big time and are working with LEGOLAND, Florida.  We’ve now opened registration for Super Jr. 2013 which will be held on Sunday, February 10th.  Details can be found under the Super Jr 2013. tab.  If you are a Jr. FLL Team in Florida, we hope to see you in February!  


We were shocked and delighted yesterday to see Brick Buddies among the Phase One winners of the MoonBots Challenge!  We are excited to be among the finalists moving on in the competition.  The MoonBots Challenge is an international Robotics Challenge in conjunction with the Google Lunar X Prize.  This year, over 145 teams entered the competition.  We know we face some stiff competition ahead of us, not to mention the double-duty of competing in both FTC and MoonBots, simultaneously this Fall.  We’ve got quite a schedule to work out!  So, we’re going to enjoy our day of jubilation and then tomorrow, it’s back to practice.  Thanks to all our supporters, our parents, and our new partners, Earthrise Space, Inc. for helping us in this effort!

“Build By The Bay” LEGO Event, Saturday April 7th

Brick Buddies is very excited to welcome a full slate of Jr. First LEGO League teams to its Regional Jr. FLL Expo this Saturday at the Glazer Children’s Museum.  Jr. FLL is a program for kids, ages 6-9, who are interested in exploring new topics in science and learning to work together as a  team, using a LEGO-based program.  Glazer Children’s Museum is our partner in this great event.  Come out on Saturday and learn how you can get your child involved!  There will be a lot of fun activities– LEGO Challenge Build, Workshops about FIRST, LEGO Education and Building Tips from LEGO Masters. We also have a Robotics Champions Showcase of Award Winning Teams from all of the FIRST programs.  And, plenty of Museum activities are also scheduled!  We’d like to welcome all of our teams: Jr. Buddies, Homeschool LEGO Leopards, Dino Dangers, Peace Bots, LEGO Warriors, Robo Stangs, Lomax Panthers, South Florida Robotics, Snacula, LEGO K-9s, Super-Cocoas, and Thundercats!

Area Jr.FLL Team Getting Ready for April Expo!

Team Homeschool Lego Leopards  consists of homeschool students from Pinellas & Pasco county. Everyone on the team is a rookie, including the coach! The kids embraced the concept of teamwork and really got involved in the project.  They selected pizza as their snack and have been busy researching how the ingredients get safely to our homes. We enjoyed an informative field-trip to Publix to learn about food safety in their stores. Once the team started building they couldn’t stop! They have built several models of things that were meaningful in their research including: a refrigerator with working fan and miniature food, a sink with moving faucet, a remote control delivery truck with a delivery person, and a garden where their crops were harvested. It was great to see the teamwork and how the kids communicated and worked with everyones ideas. They are very excited to attend the Jr. First LEGO League Expo at the Glazer Children’s Museum, Saturday, April 7th.  If you are interested in getting your child into this organized LEGO program, join us next Saturday and see how you can get involved!


Our Jr. First LEGO League teams are hard at work and the work is hard!   Every few days, I come across an email in my inbox: “My kids loves LEGO.  How can I get them involved?”  And this is how… Jr FLL (for kids 6-9) or FLL (for kids, 9-14).  Here is what our kids who LOVE to play with LEGO are learning.  It’s not all about them.  Learning to work together is hard-won skill.  It takes time.  Learning to work collaboratively, sharing your ideas, and listening to another person’s input are all valuable lessons in which we use LEGO as the tool.  By the end, they’re less likely to say, “I built this” and more likely to say “WE made this.”  Contact us to get involved with Jr. FLL or come out to our event, “Build By the Bay” at the Glazer Children’s Museum, Saturday, April 7th.  To Register your Jr FLL Team for the Expo, see our Jr.FLL Page.  See you there!

Start A Jr. FLL Team in Tampa!

Do you have a child that loves building with LEGO or learning about the way things work?  Or maybe LEGO isn’t really their thing, but they are a good friend and work well together in a team setting.  Those are skills kids work to develop as part of the noncompetitive program, Jr. First LEGO League, for children who are between the ages of 6-9.  We are a FIRST Robotics team that is helping grow and mentor new Jr. FLL teams this season in the Tampa Bay area.

William shares a Jr. FLL model

We are encouraging parents and teachers to start new teams at their schools, a community center or even start one in your own living room!  Jr. FLL is a low cost program and you can tailor the program to run anywhere from a month to 6 or 8 weeks.  To recognize Jr. FLL Teams, we are hosting a Jr. FLL Expo, Saturday April 7th at the Glazer Children’s Museum.   Start a team!  Check out our Jr. FLL section and download our Resources.  We help answer your questions and give you a curriculum to get you going! Get involved with FIRST today!