Executive Summary

Each year we are responsible for answering questions about our team. Below are the answers to the 2014 questions.

The impact of the FIRST program on team participants:

Participants in our FRC program learn life skills in a fun environment that facilitate the growth and success of our students. We do this by providing mentors who pass on knowledge to students that will aid them through college and life. We have recently started a college readiness course which teaches skills that might not be covered in the workshop, such as writing resumes. On average, 95% of graduating members attend college and the others continue on to trade schools, or the military.

Examples of role model characteristics for other teams to emulate:

Our RoboBees Assistance Program, scouting seminars, and Beta testing team are just a few examples of the ways we reach out to others. We have also created and mentored FRC, FLL, FTC, and VEX teams. We are active year round, encourage all members to step out of their comfort zone, and aim to change our culture by preparing students for a better future in an accepting, team environment that teaches STEM and life skills and providing opportunities to apply this knowledge.

The impact of FIRST programs on the team and our community:

Our team started the STEM wave in Southern Maryland. In our early years, we started many FTC teams in the area. We then became more involved in community activities such as the St. Mary’s County Fair, Blue Crabs baseball games, Relay for Life, and much more. This is where we introduce robotics and explain what FIRST is to our community. Support in the STEM field has grown significantly in Southern Maryland as we now have over fifty different robotics teams and engineering classes in our schools.

Team’s innovative methods to spread the FIRST message:

Our team has utilized music, video, stories and the arts to spread STEM throughout the community. Examples of this include holding numerous art and literature competitions, holding fun activity booths, and visiting elementary schools to spread the spirit of STEM. Last year, we started creating a series of children’s books that teach STEM, and we have translated the books into 5 different languages. The books have been made available on our team website.

Strength of Your Partnerships:

Our team has developed steady partnerships with NAVAIR, the PAX Partnership, SMCPS—our local school system—and CSM, among others. Through our SMCPS partnership we are able to bring FIRST to students from our local high and middle schools as well as home schooled students. We also have created friendships with other teams in our region through our Patuxent FIRST Alliance. We also started and now partner with a STEM awareness non-profit organization called growingSTEMS™.

Team Communications, methods and results:

Communication is a key element in the success of a team. We utilize many techniques to maintain contact between our team, the community, sponsors, and other partners ensuring that everyone is informed about our team’s activity. Our team website and the new Bee Cast are our major ways of releasing information. Newsletters are sent to sponsors and families on a monthly basis. Articles in our local newspaper, Facebook, and Twitter also keep our community up to date on the latest information.

Other matters of interest:

Since last season our team has developed a new system of ranking within sub-teams. It was created to showcase each member’s talents as well as set higher goals for the students to achieve. Other major events that occurred during the off season included the development of our children’s book, and the blossoming of our growingSTEMS™ program. The children’s book is a simple and kid friendly story that teaches younger generations about STEM in a fun way.

We have made our executive summaries available for download, you can find them below.

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