• Briefly describe the impact of the FIRST program on team participants within the last five years.
Team members have:
Been given the ability to experiment and prototype
Taught how to visualize ideas with CAD
Encouraged eachother to experiment with new ideas in a programming setting
Been given leadership opportunities to direct projects
Students form friendships and foster collaboration as they work together.
Over 90% of our alumni attended post-secondary and went into STEAM specializations.
• Describe the impact of the FIRST program on your community within the last five years.
Attend a variety of community events for many causes, such as:
Promoting STEAM at Beakerhead and Maker Faire
Charity events, like Outrun the Stigma
Our team’s most important impact is providing easy access to FIRST for many students.
Even though the majority of Calgary schools lack the resources to found a program, our status as a community team ensures school limitations won’t affect students’ ability to learn about STEAM, access robotics, or practice engineering.
• Describe the team’s methods for spreading the FIRST message in ways that are effective, scalable, sustainable, and creative.
As a team, we attend many outreach events and use them for spreading FIRST ’s message. Events at Telus Spark and others allows us to provide information to adults about FIRST and robot interaction with children.
we spread FIRST ’s message through traditional media. We invite journalists-including CTV and the Herald-to demonstrate our STEAM efforts and our strong community to the public
All this has resulted in us impacting more than 757.3k people in the past 5 years.
• Describe examples of how your team members act as role models and inspire other FIRST team members to emulate
We encourage students to take lead on projects, with them being the force behind every undertaking.
veteran students are heavily encouraged to step up and lead the new members, including:
Becoming friends with new students
With the efforts of our seniors, who direct others, provide encouragement, and pass on knowledge, we build a tight-knit and effective team with both new and old students who are ready to lead, then, and in the future.
• Team’s initiatives to help or form other FIRST Robotics Competition teams.
In 2016 we started FRC 6082, Calgary Tech Coalition, and have had discussions on how it could be done in other cities and new schools in the future.
This is an aspect that we plan to expand over future years.
• Describe the team’s initiatives to help start or form other FIRST teams (including FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, & FIRST Tech Challenge).
in conjunction with FRC 5015, we started two new FTC teams, 16595 & 16596, and welcomed another pre-existing team, 10015.
The teams work out of our build space, receiving financial and technical assistance from our team and mentors.
They are an active part of Alberta Tech Alliance Association; as we collaborate in fundraising, public relations, and recruitment.
Mentors collaborate with each other, providing advice and resources to challenges in each team.
• Describe the team’s initiatives to help start or form other FIRST teams (including FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, & FIRST Tech Challenge) with progressing through the FIRST program.
As a veteran FRC team, we feel we have a duty to assist others. We invite teams, such as FRC 4604 & FTC 14021,14022,14023, to use our field, tools and resources. This provides new opportunities to these teams.
AC Robotics have used our space in 2019 & 2020 for demonstrating their Ri3D robot.
At competitions, we assist teams, including FRC 1622 & 7173, providing coding help, extra parts, and fresh batteries.
In the stands we work with teams, such as FRC 1241, to collect scouting data.
• Describe how your team works with other FIRST teams to serve as mentors to younger or less experienced FIRST teams (including FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, & FIRST Tech Challenge).
We get inquiries from around the world on a variety of topics. Teams who ask range from local Alberta teams, such as FRC 4625 & 5597, to teams far away, such as FRC 8058 from Turkey.
These questions range from mechanical, to programming to sponsorship
We assist these teams and provide them with the advice they seek.
Mentors provide support for the FTC teams we founded, both with monetary aid as part of the organization or advice on leading students and teaching STEAM skills.
• Describe your Corporate/University Sponsors
We are sponsored by a wide variety of companies.
Best Buy and many local businesses
Our sponsors are essential to our operations; not only do they provide funding, they provide us with technical expertise, opportunities to visit their workspaces, to use their machinery, and beyond.
For 2020, BRC Group provides us with our space.
• Describe the strength of your partnership with your sponsors within the last five years.
Ensuring the sustainability of our team relies on ensuring strong partnerships with our sponsors across years. To this end, we maintain our partnerships to the fullest extent by communicating regularly, providing them updates following each competition, sending letters after each season, inviting them to our space, and attending their events to demonstrate. Because of this, our sponsors, such as QSine & ISA since 2014, remain with us for many years and remain dedicated to supporting our cause.
• For FIRST Robotics Competition teams older than 5 years, briefly describe your team’s broader impact since its inception.
As one of the first teams in Western Canada, we have been a substantial part of the growth in this region. We assisted in the creation of the Canadian Rockies Regional, with several members directly involved in the planning and implementation.
We have also had an impact on the community:
Our team assisted the creation of the Alberta robotics curriculum and worked alongside the school boards to promote STEAM education.
In addition, we assisted in the flood relief efforts in Calgary in 2013.
• Describe how your team would explain what FIRST is to someone who has never heard of it.
FIRST is a progressive series of youth programs that focuses on the inspiration and recognition of science and technology. This non-profit organization teaches youth STEAM skills, leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity by providing youth opportunities to design, create, and compete with robots in coordination with others. FIRST is built around a culture of encouraging youth to pursue opportunities in science and technology and has programs for a variety of age ranges.
• Briefly describe other matters of interest to the FIRST Judges, if any.
For the 2019 season, we partnered up with FRC team 5015, SWAT Bots. This partnership allowed us to double our collaborative efforts, starting with joint-recruitment between the two teams. We went into Deep Space sharing a build space, allowing team members to collaborate and work together.
This partnership also allowed students from 5015 to go with us to the Canadian Pacific Regional and allowed our students to go with 5015 to Houston Championships to support and assist each other’s efforts.
In 2012, only one FRC team existed in Calgary. High school student Alex Rodrigues was not satisfied with this, so he put together a second FRC team, filled with dedicated students like himself. Over the next 8 years, this dedication led to a successful team, both in achievement and in students. Their motto, "We build people," continues to this day. Alberta Tech Alliance, with its roots in this principle, continues by building people, building community, and building our future.
Students are the lifeblood of any FRC team, and they play an extremely special role on Team 4334. We prioritize not only improving each student on the team but also the other students in Calgary and the connections between our students. As a community team, we recruit students from many different schools in the greater Calgary region, building a diverse team with students from all walks of life. Once we’ve found our students, we don’t begin by improving them individually with programming or engineering lessons; instead, we dedicate our time after recruitment to improving the connections between students. Activities are designed for rookies and veterans to meet, from icebreakers to competitive egg drops to small parties, we ensure students feel involved with the team from the start. Only after students know each other and the team can we begin educational sessions to improve their abilities. These sessions, each specializing in one specific area on the team, run for six weeks and teach members about topics and areas they might have never considered before. Each student is encouraged to study multiple areas, preparing us for the final project of our off-season: a quick-build. As the quick-build is primarily manned by new students with veteran students teaching and leading, its success speaks volumes to the new engineering abilities of our new students. This quick-build ends right before kickoff, allowing us to seamlessly transition into the competition season. Moving our rookies from the quick-build to robot design, our senior students remain in their education and leadership roles and, with assistance from the mentors, guide rookies and give them as much of a role as possible. Nevertheless, we ensure all students participate in important discussions, allowing the team to gain different perspectives and students to learn and apply creative problem-solving skills. We build upon the strategies the students create, building a robot they’ll be proud of. Through the season, competition, and following years, we maintain this goal to empower students to continue in STEM. With over 95% of our alumni earning a high school diploma, entering a post-secondary institution, and studying a STEM field, our efforts at empowering our students in STEM have been a resounding success. However, students learn more from the team than just STEM skills: returning students also learn leadership skills by leading the team’s projects and teaching new team members, while all students learn collaboration and teamwork as they work within the team. These skills allow them to further strengthen their connections within the FIRST community, befriending both teammates and competitors. These friendships, which last out of the build-space, into school, and even into post-secondary, are the foundation for the Canadian FRC West community, which allows teams to grow and flourish together. With this variety of opportunities on the team, we hope that through a student’s time with Team 4334 they have gained solid foundations to build upon during their life.
Beyond helping ourselves, our team tries to help those beyond us, a value reflected by our placement of all our members in outreach and public relations. Stemming from our founding, we have participated in events throughout Calgary: we are regular attendees of Beakerhead, a STEM-based festival in Calgary, and YYC Maker Faire, a showcase for makers across the region; additionally, we collaborate with sponsors to engage in community events from the Telus Days of Giving, where we created accessibility devices for electronics, to the Salvation Army Toy Drive and CTV Toy Mountain, where we raised money to buy, collect, and donate toys to charity, to Outrun the Stigma, a marathon supporting understanding of mental health. Our reach in the community doesn’t end with our offseason attendance of events as we keep a close relationship with the media during the busy build season. Ranging from newspaper articles to interviews and television appearances, we demonstrate the abilities of our students and the activities of our team with a scope larger than our other events. In 2019, we have had three interviews with CTV, one with CBC, and a special article with Metro News promoting the women on our team; this year, we have already had an article in the Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald, and the Edmonton Sun about kick-off and the students. This traditional media presence is supplemented with a digital presence as well, consisting of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts which allow people who see us in the news to contact us and stay updated as we post weekly updates of our robot construction, competitions, and attendance at public events. Through our efforts, we both hope to bring more people into robotics and return value to the community
Alongside simply performing well, leaving an impression on students, and improving our community, building a future of sustainability for the team to continue our legacy is of the utmost importance. Over 8 years, we have maintained a strong presence even as students graduate, mentors leave, and our sponsors change. Even in hard times, such as after our 2018 season when the majority of our mentors moved on towards different pursuits, we managed to succeed because of our sustainable past: our remaining team members were prepared to step up, lead, and teach; parents stepped up as new mentors for the team, learning from our head-mentor; and our new sponsors graciously gave us a new space right next to the one we’d lost. As we entered the 2020 season, we continued to focus on leading a sustainable team, reinforcing our previous efforts at inspiring success both today and tomorrow. This year, we have a stronger foundation for sustainability than ever before, with a massive field-sized space from our sponsor, Big Rig Collision Group, which allows us to build our students and lead outreach year-round. In addition to using the field to train our students, build our robot, and ensure our present and future success, we’ve also used it to build sustainability for the Calgary community. We’ve been able to host another local team, SWAT Bots # 5015, and collaboratively start a total of three FIRST Tech Challenge teams – 10015, 16595, and 16596. With the support of our larger space, we’ve been able to support these extra teams and extra students, giving us more future security as we can now draw from the students, mentors, and resources of these other teams. Nevertheless, the stability of our teams depends on our sponsors. Without them, we wouldn’t have our outstanding space, the funding to build a robot and compete, or the expertise needed to teach new students and succeed. To ensure our sustainability with our sponsors, we ensure we have a variety of kinds of sponsors, from small companies to tech companies to engineering groups to larger corporations to enthusiastic parents to many others, who provide us with a variety of assistance, from monetary support to printing services to engineering capabilities to mentoring support to other miscellaneous goods. For this essential support, we maintain a strong connection with our sponsors, regularly updating them through social media, emails, and letters. As we keep current sponsors informed and interested in our activities, ensuring the sustainability of their support, we also find and contact new sponsors during the off-season. Leveraging the connections our members have, we explore every possibility available to protect and expand the environment and connections the team depends on. Combined with a stable space and students, we have made a sustainable and enduring presence in the community that will continue long into the future, giving countless opportunities to grow and succeed.
Time is the hardest challenge for every FIRST team. As time passes, the way a team addresses newly joined students, old graduating students, changes in mentors, their community of other FIRST teams, their community of their city, their sponsors, and new plans will determine that team’s success and impact on their students and community. Despite the changes and challenges Team 4334 has gone through, the principle that “We build people“ has endured. We have created a team that builds up the students who join, who grows with the community that surrounds us, and who creates a future for us now and those who come after us. These foundations have been laid, yet we must continue to take the hard steps and to grow them further. We cannot see what will become of our efforts, but we continue them in the hopes of a bright future for the team and her students.