We are working to restructure the robotics at my school, and I was hoping to get some advice. We have been doing VEX for three years, but are honestly still pretty inexperienced.
Our “mentor” is the biology teacher. She doesn’t attend our meetings and knows little about robotics, so we are all self-taught from youtube and vexforum. We are also limited by lab hours at our school (3-5 on weekdays and 11-4 on Saturdays) We also had a lot of issues with commitment: we want people to be able to do other activities, but this year a lot of people took that to the extreme and put nearly no time in.
We are thinking that we should get a true mentor with VEX experience for our team, but we aren’t sure how exactly to do this or reach out to people. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best ways to do this, or any other suggestions for how to improve our teams?
In terms of finding a mentor I can only say about seeing if you can find a college student who used to do vex. That’s what I do at my old high school. And in terms of no commitment, I’d say pretty much that if you don’t commit then you can’t be a part of it.
May I ask what your region is? If you’re in an underdeveloped region this may be a bit more challenging, but try and contact the stronger teams in your region, see if you can set up a meeting with them so they can point you in the right direction. Not design or build the bot, but just point you in the right direction. Almost every region has their own discord server.
A true mentor would help, but finding that in the school system would be a little bit more challenging, I would recommend seeing if you can find anymore STEM clubs in your school I would say look there, or even STEM classes maybe.
As for commitment to the team from members, just know that there are always going be people who aren’t as motivated, and there’s not much you can do about that except going to the extreme and just kicking them off which shouldn’t really be an option. Just use them for light chores, “Hold this for me”, or “Could you hand me that”. After the first competition I’ve always noticed a surge of excitement from my team, so if you can just make it that far it could help.
We are in the Bay Area, so there are a lot of other teams around us that we could reach out to. Do you know what the best way to contact them might be?
For our school, the mentor doesn’t need to already be a part of the school, and I believe that the school is willing to provide some payment for helping, we just need to find someone in the area that is interested and available.
For commitment, the issue wasn’t a lack of focus or motivation during meetings, but showing up for meetings. A lot of people did a lot of activities, which is fine, but weren’t really able to balance them all and almost never came to meetings.
finding the discord server would probably be the hardest hoop to jump through, but once you do that you can find a lot of information and can set up scrimmages, ask for help, post pictures and get advice. I believe @Connor made a forum thread listing a bunch, I’ll see if I can dig that up is a second.
As for members just not showing up, there’s not much you can do about that. You can’t force them to come. All I can say is keep looking for more recruits and eventually you’ll find someone.