I understand the point of signature events, and high school teams that can travel and are funded can make it to these special events around the country and world. They can be an amazing experience for the teams that can make it. I don’t personally mind that these events are expensive because they are simply providing another opportunity, and not really taking away from local teams. In fact, if a team qualifies for WORLDS at a Signature event, and then qualifies in your region, then a team from the skills list in your region gets the additional spot. So it allows more spots go to regions with the best teams.
List of elementary signature events
The above link will take you to elementary signature events. It seems like these work better when they are in the lower 48 ( KALAHARI looks amazing), as it is a lot easier for teams from nearby regions to come. But even the elementary one in California had only California teams.
Should signature events be left to VRC? Are Signature events just “cooler” or are they educational in some way? I think that they only work if the tournaments meet the requirements of getting teams outside the region. I have even seen some signature events offer lower or free registrations for out of state teams, and if they can institute some of those incentives in the system it could work better.
I don’t understand your point here. First off, it’s still early in the signature event process, especially for SVSRT this year and Vex IQ signature events. That’s why there’s low attendance/low out of state presence to my understanding. We saw the same happen with signature events outside of the United States last year.
Now, some anecdotal evidence behind signature events like these (and at Great America, no less!!):
Let’s take this event for instance: https://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/vex-robotics-competition/RE-VRC-14-0667.html
I will probably remember this championship more than I remember attending worlds. Why? Because it was my first competitive experience outside my area. I’m in grade 12 right now, meaning I was in 6th grade during then.
Travelling there was simply an amazing experience, and I wouldn’t trade any of those kinds of experiences for the world. Signature events in general are the manifestation of this idea. You see, not everyone can qualify for states, and especially not everyone can qualify for worlds. Not everyone can afford (or has the time to organize a school trip to) travel to U.S. Open. A signature event provides that same opportunity, but closer by. That situation doesn’t change for Vex IQ, which simply exposes kids to robotics and starts driving their passion for it earlier on in the process.
A bit more specific about this SVSRT event, it looks like there’s even a party at Great America where the students can privately use the rides in the evening. Sounds like an amazing opportunity, and I think it’d change the lives of elementary schoolers to have that kind of opportunity far more than it would change the lives of middle/high schoolers.
My personal opinion is that it is far more difficult for elementary teams to go to Signature Events in general. IQ teams don’t need the level of funding that a VRC team does and traveling with a bunch of elementary students can be difficult logistically largely due to budget constraints. At the High School level, more parents are willing to allow their students to travel with others, if the parents are not able to attend. I think there are various reasons why Signature Events for the elementary level are difficult at best.