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.

COMING BACK TO FTC

COMING BACK TO FTC FOR 2014!

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!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

Before team members head back to school Monday, Brick Buddies took to the road one last time this season out to the Seminole League Meet at University High School in Orange City. (What are the odds that there were two Meets at Florida on the same day at two schools called University High School?).  Their League boasts some of the friendliest Tournament volunteers we’ve met to date and some really great teams and stiff competition.  Lyman High School teams, B.A.D (3045) and G.O.O.D (4228) had a huge presence but displayed great GP on and off the field offering their help if we needed it since we had traveled.  Both teams have all around great game play and despite BAD, being called Built & Dangerous, they’re definitely both dangerous on the field! We were also impressed at all the great alliance partnering in the Seminole League.

JD, praying the robot doesn't fall off before the buzzer!

JD, praying the robot doesn’t fall off before the buzzer!

We won one match thanks to some great driving by our alliance partners, Electric Narwhals (132). And,Team 4227, Kiss My Bot is really showing Florida FTC how it’s done, when it comes to perfecting the End Game Lift.  We were excited to find ourselves in an alliance with them!  It’s a shame they couldn’t have traveled to any outside Meets this season, because their End Game Lift is show not to be missed. The Seminole League also seemed to have a huge contingent of female FTC competitors, more it seems than we’ve seen anywhere else!  Even the MC, was a gal.  A whoop, whoop to them. We had a great time with some great teams!

Having An Impact!

Florida First LEGO League is very competitive with 48 qualifiers going on across the State, as teams battle to secure a spot at Regionals. Brick Buddies has been trying to track the progress of some of our Workshop Day teams.  And we are proud to hear that many have earned Regional Bids already!  We’re so proud of them and we’d like to say congratulations and give them a shout out for all their hard work so far this season.  Team Ibots from Brandon is burning up the Table this season and grabbed a spot.

Winthrop Mindstorms

Winthrop Mindstorms

Rookie Team, Winthrop Mindstorms, from Valrico earned a Regional spot at the their debut tournament.  Pasco County’s Patriot Robots will be their county’s first team to reach the Regional level. We also heard that local team Cyborgs earned a bid as well as another Rookie Team from Fort Myers, Panther Tech! Way to go teams.  If your team qualified, we’d love to hear from you.

ROBOTS AT RUSHE – GREAT FLL DAY IN PASCO COUNTY

The reviews and results are in from our inaugural FLL Qualifier in Pasco County this past weekend.  STEM is catching on in Pasco!  We saw a lot of success in the all of the new Pasco County middle school based teams that participated. IMGP5272 We hope the First LEGO League program will expand to include some elementary teams next season as well.  Because 4th and 5th graders can be tough competitors.  The community team from Brandon’s Tech Playzone proved that with their young group of Techno Whizards who were awarded Tournament Champions.  Team IBOTS and Terrapins Reds tied for the high score of the day, both scoring a Table Run of 305 points, a huge score at early tournament!  Newcomers from Chasco Middle School, Gigabotz won the coveted FLL Core Values Award.  Team IBOTS won for Robot Design.  In the Project Category, Patriot Robots, from Bayonet Point MIddle, took 1st Place.  Also from Bayonet Point, Patriot Robotics, were recognized with the Rising Star Award.  From John Long Middle, Green Flames took home the award for FIRST Spirit, for showcasing great sportsmanship and Gracious Professionalism.  Teams that advanced to Regionals were Techno Whizards, Patriot Robots, and Terrapins Red.  Congratulations to everyone!  We had a blast.

NOVEMBER NEWS

We had some trepidation about going to the first Meet in the new League system a month earlier than normal qualifying tournaments.  But our hard work paid off in a great showing for our team, going 5-2 with our robot.  We enjoyed catching up with some friends but we certainly missed the diversity and friendly nature of the old Tournament system.  The team is already back to work making some adjustments and improvements for the next Meet.  We lost a servo at the first Meet and we want to firm up our electronics and be more reliable on the Field.  Several coaches asked us how our small team is so successful.  I think they owe a lot to their FLL background with the philosophy, “Kids Do The Work.”  We see a lot of adult involvement on the FTC level– in teams’ practices, in their Pits. I’ve never seen so many adults with their hands on tools and laptops. But our kids build the robot; they know how it works; and so they can problem solve to fix things and improve things.  That’s how it works for us.  The team is also busy preparing to host Pasco County’s first FLL Tournament on December 1st.  It’s hard enough to learn one Game’s scoring, rules, and penalties, but two Games– we’re getting dizzy!

FLL Senior Solutions Challenge Released!!

Hey FLL friends.  Several coaches have asked where the Robot Game video is posted.  If you went on the FIRST website today, there is a FLL informational video posted and then Scott Evan’s video explaining the game is linked halfway down the page.  It looks to be a great season.  Don’t forget to read the Mission and Game Rules!  Here is a link.  

How Lucky Can We Get!

We are a small cohesive team, sometimes for better or worse. There is no hiding in the background on our team! There is no time to ‘learn the ropes.’  So, with all of that in mind, we are so pleased to welcome our newest member, Sumukh Shivakumar, who will be a sophomore this year in the IB program at Land O Lakes High School.  He comes to Team Brick Buddies equipped with some mean JAVA programming skills from an extensive program at USF.  He is active in Mu Alpha Theta and competitive mathematics!  He plays the Indian drums and piano and likes playing tennis. Sumukh enjoys challenging problem solving games like Sudoku, Minesweeper, and Chess. We are happy to help add FIRST Robotics to Sumukh’s wide variety of activities!

BUDDING ENGINEERS WANTED

We have opened up our application process for potential new team members for the upcoming Fall 2012-21013 Robotics Season!  We are looking for a few good guys and/or gals who have an interest in engineering, programming, or mechanical building.  Team Brick Buddies is a North Tampa/Pasco Community Robotics Program.  Our FTC (First Tech Challenge) Team is for kids who are age 13 and up.  In our rookie season, we never ranked lower than 3rd at our Qualifying Tournaments.  We were part of a Winning Alliance Team and Inspire Award Winners.  At the State Championship, the team was recognized with the THINK Award, for documenting the engineering lessons they learned as rookies and that their robot design was solid and reliable all season. We play hard and practice hard!  In the Fall, we practice once a week on Sunday afternoons in Land O Lakes.  During the competition season, we practice twice a week.  The FTC Robotics season runs from late August until late February.  If you and your family might be interested in competitive robotics, fill out a Team Application.  FTCapplication