2009 Essay

Taking Off
Team 340 blasted off this year with 52 solid weeks of FIRST. Greater Rochester Robotics (GRR) works throughoutthe greater Rochester area and beyond, to improve our community and ignite a rising interest in FIRST. This season,
we’ve taken off  and reached new heights. The Command Center and Its Crew
GRR has lived up to its name in the 2009 season. Based out of Churchville-Chili High School (CCHS), we comprise of students from CCHS, Wheatland-Chili HS, and Brockport HS. Our 2 FRC student-led teams allow for maximum experience, leadership, and learning. GRR members have received FIRST scholarships to top schools and continue to apply their FIRST skills pursuing technical careers. Such advantages have launched our students into opportunities for success.Our support crew is made up of a variety of mentors, from many facets of our business community. From college students to retired engineers, a wood worker to a college professor, machinists to engineers, business professionals to media specialists, our mentors come from every part of the Rochester community. Our mentors guide withexpertise and patience which is evident by our two Regional Woodie Flowers Award winners.Our command center at CCHS contains all of the necessary equipment to support many robotics programs. Our strong partnership with our school has led to the creation of the elective course Intro to Robotics, based on the valuesof FIRST Robotics. All of the hard work and dedication our student members show is recognized by the schoolawarding internship credit for being involved with FIRST.Bausch & Lomb is the fuel that allows us to reach our full potential. Over the past 6 years they have supported all of our FIRST endeavors. Two years ago when we wanted to increase student involvement, we restructured our budgetto allow for 2 teams at our school. Our team was able to cut our annual budget which allowed B&L to now fund 5teams instead of just 2.
Reaching for the Stars
 
Team 340 helps others reach for the stars by providing over 1,000 hours of service to organizations in the area. Thisis a three-fold increase since last year. GRR believes in quality along with quantity and for this reason we have gone above and beyond in all of our ventures. GRR is continuously looking for new ways to give back. This year we participated in Maggie Brook’s Salute toSeniors and Monroe County’s Office for the Aging supper events. We teamed up with our school’s executive council to collect money during Spirit Week to purchase pajamas for children in foster care. To raise funds for cancer awareness, we helped organize a 5K with the Churchville Lions Club.The organizations we work with recognize we go the extra mile and invite us to return. We have revisited the RonaldMcDonald House, Foodlink and Red-Cross Blood Drives. Other organizations we have supported include Relay for Life, Golisano Children’s Hospital and a local soup kitchen. Since FIRST announced its partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA, we have formed an especially close bond with the troops in our area. We support the Girl Scouts involved with FIRST, by making the Girl Scout/FIRST participationpatch available at FLL events. This year Team 340 helped 3 members complete technology based Girl Scout Gold Award projects. Due to GRR’s exceptional contribution to the community, our team has received the President’s Volunteer Service
 Award from the White House. In the last two years we have had 15 students receive individual President Volunteer Service awards, each donating over 100 hours of their time.
Our Missions
 
Our mission is to launch the word of FIRST robotics and show others that engineering is exciting. We spread FIRST awareness on many levels through a multitude of innovative methods. This technique of teaching others allows us to reach a diverse audience. Team 340 always jumps on an opportunity to excite others. We carry out numerous demos every year, always reaching above and beyond. This year we dedicated over 1,300 hours, out-doing last year by over 900 hours. In our demos, we emphasize the various goals and aspects of FIRST while detailing the different levels of competition.Last summer, Team 340 hosted a Robotics and Alternative Energy camp for middle school students. We went beyond the basics of building robots and taught them the importance of alterative energies, teamwork skills and the excitement that comes with participating on an FLL team. This camp was completely planned and run by GRR students with support from our school district. It was such a success that the Town of Chili asked GRR to help them implement their own robotics summer camp.On a local level, GRR continues to present our team and robot to a variety of target audiences. The number of people attending the demo isn’t what’s important; it’s the impact that we make on them. We tailor every demo for eachoccasion and we have engineered robots from each level of FIRST competitions to use as examples. From local parades, to the YMCA, movie theatres, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Scout troops, and all of our district’s schools, we encourage students and parents to become more involved in FIRST. This year we pushed ourselves to reach an even larger audience in and outside the boundaries of our local area.GRR helped lead demos at the Great New York State Fair, the Strong National Museum of Play and the Rochester Institute of Technology’s “Imagine RIT.” In these three daylong events, we were able to promote science and technology to over 10,000 people.We also recognize the importance of educating leaders in schools, government, and local businesses. Weaccomplish this by leading demos at Project Lead the Way training seminars, NYSCATE conference for educationalleaders, Freescale symposium at RIT for business leaders and by constantly inviting local, state and federal officialsto experience FIRST for themselves. Assemblywoman Susan John, Churchville Mayor Nancy Steedman, and DeputyMayor Don Suter, have all toured our technology wing and witnessed the impact our team has had on our students.GRR has brought higher level of professionalism by creating a consistent brand to represent our team. It can befound on our robot, website, and a multitude of printed materials. We do this to create a lasting impression on our audience and promote FIRST.GRR has always had a close connection with the media. Whether it’s submitting weekly posts to the local Gannett newspaper or inviting local TV stations to join in the fun of build season, GRR keeps the public up-to-date. We oftenupload pictures of our team to the Democrat & Chronicle photo gallery and post FIRST events on various localmagazine and TV calendars. Genesee Valley Parent magazine gave GRR space for a Public Service Announcement promoting the regional. This was our second year as a President’s Circle team and our submission video was aired on ABC affiliate 13WHAM. This is yet another way Team 340 is changing the cultural viewpoint of engineering.Every year we look for new ways to spread FIRST on a local, national and international level. We created over 10videos this year and posted many of them on YouTube. We wrote to ESPN asking them to broadcast the FIRSTChampionship event on their network and we contributed video footage to the FLR celebration video that will air onChannel 4 cable to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the regional. Our team designed a FIRST inspired Google Doodle requesting that it be shown during the FIRST Championship. GRR has submitted FIRST related questions to the game show, Trivial Pursuit: America Plays. We also asked Will Shortz, editor of NY Times crossword puzzle to create a FIRST Crossword. GRR proposed a FIRST scholarship to the SUNY Chancellor.The members of Team 340 understand that no mission is impossible, and enlightens others to believe the same.
Maintenance and System Checks
 

Team 340 performs constant maintenance to ensure that everything in the FIRST community runs efficiently. We welcome every team to our workshop which has been used by teams 73, 1405, 1511, 1551 and 1728. New teams in our area, 3003 and 3015, have joined us in our tech wing as we helped them “learn the ropes,” and lent them a robot to promote their own program along with other essential equipment. We currently have more than a dozen alumnimentoring 7 FRC teams across the country. We work with our sponsor to coordinate and fabricate robot signage for 

all 5 Bausch & Lomb teams. GRR has provided Team 191 with materials for their 2009 Hall of Fame display at theFIRST Championship, to show the strength of Rochester area teams. We are developing the future of FIRST through the many aspects of the FLL program. This year we mentored 8 FLLteams, two times that of last year. GRR is proud to have sponsored and mentored FLL team 2446 which was the
Champion’s Award winning team at the local Championship. This was the second year GRR hosted an FLL Qualifying Event at our school. Due to the success of last year’s event, we hosted the largest local qualifier in Western New York. GRR team members were involved in every aspect of the event and collectively volunteered over 500 hours to ensure it ran smoothly.Team 340 was honored to be chosen as the only beta test team in NYS. We worked over 300 hours helping FIRST debug the new FRC Control System. We invited FIRST participants from the greater Rochester area to help uscollaborate with teams from across North America. We held various local seminars and even traveled to New YorkCity to show teams how the new Control System works.
Defying Gravity
This year, as our team looks back at our 10 year history, we see the giant steps
we have taken. GRR’s perseverance to reach above and beyond demonstrates our desire to further inspire and explore our world. Team 340 is never content with shooting for the moon; we go to infinity and beyond.
 

 

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