I get this question asked a lot. People who see this amazing program at work want to know how they can get their kids involved too.
To be honest, it’s tough to find open teams. Most are started by schools or really motivated parents with time and space. The established independent teams don’t usually advertise if they have space because you could actually run a team with as little as three people (maximum is 10). It’s a lot of networking to get onto those teams. They have to know you and your kid.
For FLL(First LEGO League for kids ages 9 – 14), here’s the steps I would recommend:
1. Check with your child’s school if they want to start an afterschool team. Find that motivated math or science teacher.
Below is an email that I am posting from Ross Parent who runs FLL in the state of Colorado. He gets this question all the time and here are his suggestions that mainly are steps to accomplishing #3 in my notes above.
Please direct parents to FLL.ColoradoFIRST.org. The footer of every page includes the statement “Questions and Comments about Teams are welcome, email: fll.teams at ColoradoFIRST.org“. One to the coach looking for a team, and one to the coaches in that team’s area encouraging them to include a new member.
I can forward your contact information to teams in your area and ask them to get in touch with you. Please provide a short description promoting your child to these other teams. This might include mention of your child’s interests and accomplishments with LEGO, building or robotics, and more importantly a candid and honest assessment of your child’s social skills and abilities in teamwork, sharing ideas and communicating with peers.
Please include a mention of your availability as a parent volunteer and any skills that would apply to supporting the success of the team.
This information will serve to persuade coaches that you & your child might be an asset to their team. I will forward your information to teams in your area by way of blind copy, and ask them to get back to you. You will not receive their contact information unless they respond and share it with you directly.
Just to set expectations, however, you may find more success in networking with the parents of your child’s friends that share their passion for LEGO to create a team.
- Team registration is usually around $225.
- Each team must order a Field Setup Kit (FSK) for the current season’s game – around $75 with shipping. Kit’s will begin shipping mid-summer, July to August. Register and order early, as kits are distributed “first come, first served” from the LEGO company.
- A LEGO Education Mindstorms kit can be ordered from the site also – shop and compare. It’s often a very good value for the quantity of parts and the overall price per part.
- The Colorado FIRST LEGO League competition season runs from Labor Day to early December, with scrimmages in October, qualifiers in November, and the State Championship in December. International and National Open tournaments and the FIRST World Festival occur in the spring of the following year.
Please check the following information and networking links:
Colorado FLL Volunteer page – be sure to check the attachments on that page, and invite a friend to join you!