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  #21  
Old 03-06-2012, 11:46 AM
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Rick TYler Rick TYler is offline
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Re: This one is for the teams...

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Originally Posted by Rich Kressly View Post
(...)However, I also want you to know, I think the pursuit of awards - just for their own sake - is one of the most destructive and futile things a person, or team, or community can do. I've seen it in youth sports programs, I'm now seeing it in the robotics competition community, and I don't like it - not even a little bit.
Rich - I think there is a third path. If the reward system matches your desired results, pursuing rewards can be positive. VRC awards are meant to reinforce the things that we hope students get from the program so that working towards them helps students achieve those goals.
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  #22  
Old 03-06-2012, 11:57 AM
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Re: This one is for the teams...

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Originally Posted by Rick TYler View Post
Rich - I think there is a third path. If the reward system matches your desired results, pursuing rewards can be positive. VRC awards are meant to reinforce the things that we hope students get from the program so that working towards them helps students achieve those goals.
I don't think what I'm saying is that different and I mostly agree with you Rick, but I suppose I'm skeptical of the "...things that we hope students get from the program..." part of what you're saying. After not winning an award, I have seen too many "award seekers" act poorly, point fingers, want retribution, etc. ( not just in robotics, but in all kinds of youth programs) What do you say to the students who don't win the award? How do mentors, coaches, team leaders act/react in moments of "losing" and what message does it send to students.

I think, along with what you present, every such team also needs a "what to do when we don't win" plan. Statistically, in ANY competition, there are far more "losers" than there are "winners" when it comes to awards. So it would make much more sense to me that ALL teams develop a reward/pursuit system that places as much (if not more) emphasis on other internal/controllable motivators.
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  #23  
Old 03-06-2012, 01:16 PM
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Re: This one is for the teams...

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Well this isn't the same at all California high schools but at my school each student has to complete a certain number of volunteer hours per year to be able to graduate.
"Volunteer Hours" is a more accurate term.. I would think that using Volunteer Time at a Robotics Competition, would be an Excellent way to Meet, Both Goals...

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Members of our club were able to fill a lot of their hours through robotics this year because we attended a on 11/12/11 and came back to Dublin to set up for an FLL event we were hosting on 11/13/11. A few of us stayed until about 11:30 setting up and then arrived at 6:30 the next morning to finish setting up. We didn't leave again until about 7pm.
Volunteering, Responsibility and Dedication to the Task.. What a good Example..

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Even though we get volunteer hours for many of the things we do in robotics we really just spend our time doing what we enjoy. I would do it even if the we didn't have to meet a requirement. Many, if not all, of the members of the club would do the same.
This is Exactly what ManicMechanic should be pointing out to her Team.. It is ALWAYS GOOD to Volunteer, and if it is Something you like, it makes it all the Easier......
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  #24  
Old 03-06-2012, 05:24 PM
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Re: This one is for the teams...

I thought about my post and it probably wasn't the best idea especially towards the specific person i was just kinda annoyed that so many less qualified people talk about how qualified.
okay so that is over with

I think when some one mandates community service it is a bad idea because it defeats the purposes but I understand the idea behind it because it is trying to make community service a habit.

Back to the point about awards for awards sake
It is human nature to have a goal to achieve so what is the problem with people knowing the rubric and helping newer teams for the award not out of the goodness of their heart. Actually now that i think of it this is just like community service we should allow people to do things just for the award in the hope that it becomes habit.
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  #25  
Old 03-07-2012, 11:45 AM
ManicMechanic ManicMechanic is offline
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Re: This one is for the teams...

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I think when some one mandates community service it is a bad idea because it defeats the purposes but I understand the idea behind it because it is trying to make community service a habit.
There are different views and philosophies of community service, and others may disagree with me, but I tend to think of it in 2 ways:
1. "Break even" service. If I'm one of 4-5 families attending a weekly group that serves snacks, and I bring cookies once a month, I'm only "doing my share."
2. "Above and beyond" service. If I rake leaves for my elderly neighbor who has neither the finances nor health to reciprocate in any way, this is above and beyond.

Suppose a typical Vex tournament uses 30 volunteers, and serves 30 teams averaging 4 students, total of 120 students served. Then to "break even", each student would need to serve once for every 4 tournaments attended. Throw in mentors or more students as "people served" and the ratio is a little bigger: one service for every 5 or 6 tournaments attended.

In my family, my "kids" have always been expected to "do their share" unless there are extenuating circumstances (inability is acceptable; unwillingness is not). That philosophy has spilled over to the teams I coach, and the robotics tournament we host is our "share" of paying it forward.

But I consider "above and beyond" service to be optional. There are times when our team has been requested to do various things, including tutoring math students, mentoring teams, giving presentations in the community and at fairs. Some students have participated, others have not, and I don't expect or pressure them to do so. If we were to serve at 2 tournaments (and attend 3) each year, I would consider the second tournament to be "above and beyond."

People sometimes think "I'm paying registration fees for this event so I'm doing my share". However, as Foster so eloquently enumerated, the fees barely cover the facility and material costs (and sometimes fail to do that), and don't even touch the labor involved.

How do events even happen when many don't "do their share"? Well, there is a core of unsung heroes who many times over "cover" the share of others and don't expect to "get it back". We sometimes assume that these people are just "doing their job", when the reality is that they are giving us a gift of their time every time we attend. When we attend an event that's less than perfect, the temptation is to think, "They should get better people", where the real alternative is no people at all. It's true that event personnel should strive to be as knowledgeable as possible, but as we all know in the robotics world, unexpected things happen, and this applies to organizers as well as teams. One of my freshman students observed, "Practice matches are really as much for the event staff to troubleshoot as the teams", and he was right!

Frankly, I don't feel that strongly about whether the Excellence award should be limited to one per team per season or not, though I have some preference for this policy. I believe that Vex will need to rethink its awards structure before the next season, and I'll be fine with whatever they decide.

What DOES concern me is that I'm seeing an increasing demandingness in a number of ways, including awards, based on what people feel they deserve. The tension between maximum achievement (the greatest number of awards that a team can earn) and maximum exposure (the greatest number of teams advancing) will never go away. But I hope that teams will see that there is virtue in allowing another team to have a Worlds experience, even at the expense of winning a second Excellence award. It's a gift that teams don't have to give (at least under the current rules), but having received so much from someone else (e.g. event volunteers), it's one that makes sense to me.
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  #26  
Old 03-07-2012, 01:24 PM
Foster Foster is offline
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Re: This one is for the teams...

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Originally Posted by ManicMechanic View Post
People sometimes think "I'm paying registration fees for this event so I'm doing my share". However, as Foster so eloquently enumerated, the fees barely cover the facility and material costs (and sometimes fail to do that), and don't even touch the labor involved.

How do events even happen when many don't "do their share"? Well, there is a core of unsung heroes who many times over "cover" the share of others and don't expect to "get it back". We sometimes assume that these people are just "doing their job", when the reality is that they are giving us a gift of their time every time we attend. When we attend an event that's less than perfect, the temptation is to think, "They should get better people", where the real alternative is no people at all. It's true that event personnel should strive to be as knowledgeable as possible, but as we all know in the robotics world, unexpected things happen, and this applies to organizers as well as teams. One of my freshman students observed, "Practice matches are really as much for the event staff to troubleshoot as the teams", and he was right!
Thanks for putting the above into much better words than I could. We struggle to hold the 14 events since we "go to the well" so many times of our volunteer list. Many people walk away from me at events because they know I'm on the prowl for help. I know that I duck Andrew for the same reason, he's always looking for people that have been through the judges training.

But the end result is worth it. There are some posts that say "we hope that..." Hope is not an engineering strategy. Thinking, planning, doing, testing, revamping is an engineering strategy. People that volunteer are implementing a strategy, no hope is involved.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManicMechanic View Post
Frankly, I don't feel that strongly about whether the Excellence award should be limited to one per team per season or not, though I have some preference for this policy. I believe that Vex will need to rethink its awards structure before the next season, and I'll be fine with whatever they decide.
You should make your thoughts and preferences get to Jason so RECF knows what the community thinks. They always tell me how important it is to get input from the leadership in the community. The local event partners, people that spend the huge hours in service. The worst thing is for them to make a decision that they don't have information and input on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ManicMechanic View Post
What DOES concern me is that I'm seeing an increasing demandingness in a number of ways, including awards, based on what people feel they deserve. The tension between maximum achievement (the greatest number of awards that a team can earn) and maximum exposure (the greatest number of teams advancing) will never go away. But I hope that teams will see that there is virtue in allowing another team to have a Worlds experience, even at the expense of winning a second Excellence award. It's a gift that teams don't have to give (at least under the current rules), but having received so much from someone else (e.g. event volunteers), it's one that makes sense to me.
I think that demandingness will become my new word of the week! It's much more greedy sounding than "entitled".

Thanks for a great post!
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