North Point has been a sponsor of the local FIRST Robotics Club- Team 2053- for several years.  This year, we join the team as official mentors, too- advising and helping the high school student members on topics ranging from the technical to fundraising.

For any reader unfamiliar with FIRST, check it out here.  FIRST teams design and build robots to compete in tournaments held around the world each Spring.  The tournament- the rules of play, the objectives, etc- are established by FIRST in secret and released to all teams around the world simultaneously in early January each year.  Once these specs are released, the teams enter into an intense 2+ month sprint to conceive, plan, design, build, program and test a new robot that will meet the challenges of this year's game.

FIRST is a well designed program that not only generates excitement in the important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, but teaches kids through experience about the realities of their future careers- they must employ strategic thinking, data collection, negotiation and other soft skills in order to succeed.

Plus, they have a lot of fun in the process!

Team 2053 is named Tigertronics, and is made up of students from Union-Endicott and Vestal high schools, and their mentors (like ourselves) that come from local industries.  The team's website can be found here.  Check out the videos of last year's competitions, and if you have a chance to just go to a competition and watch with your kids, GO.  It is a lot of fun.  A couple thousand smart kids in a friendly competition- being kids and having fun, and lots of sound and lights and live competition.  It's worth seeing!

NOW FOR THE MYSTERY!  FIRST has called given only the name and logo's for this year's game, and this teaser video.  What could it be??  Team 2053 and all the other robotics teams around the world will find out on January 7th!