I just started a vex team at my high school, I have done it for three years in middle school but I am having trouble getting people to join. How did some of you guys get people to join your teams?
Usually, you have some solid connections to people in high school and middle school for making a team for high school. My recommendation would be to see if any friends who may have previously worked with vex or iq for a spot in your team. Hope this helps!
Maybe consider getting permission to set up a demonstration booth in or near your school’s cafeteria at lunch time. Have a physical robot or two on hand to show off and a couple of laptops looping videos of what Vex competitions look like. Other things like posters and some random parts for kids to pick up and look at might also help.
I would suggest having a table setup at the orientation sessions, if you have them. Have them staffed by current members who know how to operate the robot and let prospective members drive the robot and try to interact with field elements.
If your school doesn’t sponsor or fund your team, convince your school board to sponsor it
For my school, all of our robotics programs are sponsored, and we usually have information meetings on the first few days of school so new students can know what to expect of they join.
Freshman year, I was in exactly the same situation, so I partnered with a friend from my old middle school and worked independently. We were funded by our parents, we worked to keep costs low, and we borrowed field time from local teams. After the season, we had several trophies, a banner, and a NBN robot to show off, which generated a lot of interest. It took a full year to get the grant and space we needed and get everything approved by the school, but we now have 2 additional teams, one of which made it to states and nationals last year.
What it really boils down to is sparking that initial interest by showing off your robot (dr4bs and claws tend to get the most attention, an ITZ or SS worlds bot could be perfect) and showing off your trophies. Once there’s a body of interested people, funding from the school or a grant goes a long way, and then you need space for a field. Ideally, the field should go in someone’s garage for maximum access, often the schools require you to have a teacher in the room for safety reasons which limits your field time. Once you get those first few blocks down, the rest will fall into place and the program will grow naturally with a little advertising each year.
Alternatively, high school is a great time to step up your game by switching over to FRC! A few friends of mine have recently switched from vex to first, and they all say they wish they had done first sooner. If there’s an established FRC team near you, even if it’s from a different school, they’d probably be happy to have a freshman with robotics experience. If you choose this option, you won’t need to worry about the logistical issues of starting a new vex team and your 3 years of vex experience will still help you out a ton.
Whatever you decide, good luck!
Construct some battle bots and do a demonstration. People love battle bots; the year I joined my robotics team they didn’t have anything but old star struck stuff at the demo and we were the only ones interested. But this last year we took the sumo bots we made during the off season to the demo and we got dozens of people to sign up for reminder emails about camp.
Freeze tag robots also make a good hands-on demo. We came up with a VEX IQ version of Robot Freeze Tag for the Robot Mesh Curriculum, but the rules would work fine with EDR robots, too.
This! I talk to school administrators that say “nobody wants to do robots”. I set up with a display robot and a simple one to drive, some game elements (last years or Starstruck),some posters, a sign up sheet and flyers for future roboteers to take home to parents. I end up with 20+ solid leads by the end of a lunch cycle.
Set up a gmail account "your cool team name"@gmail.com to collect requests for more info.
If you’re a student doing this, you’re probably OK. I think the OP is a student.
But to anyone reading this advice, if you’re a teacher/administrator/similar I would strongly recommend against it. In many cases this could be a serious violation of school policies. Even when it isn’t against school policies, it is not a safe thing to do legally. Use school email/phones/etc. for all communication with students.
I had assumed he was a student doing this.
I use my STEMRobotics.org emails. Interesting to note that lots of schools give each student an email account. Nothing is delivered to these inside accounts from the outside. So there are lots of protections that the schools put into place.
When I go into a school and do the demo, I have the administrations permission (even after they say “nobody is interested”) and I stop back on the way out to show the list that I got.
I still only have 1 teammate, it’s not the worst if you can’t get more
Don’t try to get too many people on a team, though. 5 would be MAX, and that’s if you have a lot of things to work on. 3-4 is probably best for a team.
3 is probably best especially for young teams because everyone will probably want to stand in the alliance station
Anything bigger than 4 or 5 is usually problematic.
We had 11 people last year, a pretty typical number for us, and it worked just fine. The new members usually spend a lot of their time learning to make sure they can take over core roles when the seniors graduate. We also usually do online challenges, so we do have one or two people on the team who have little interest in actually taking a lead role in build or programming, though, everyone does work on the design.
I only had 3 last year, and then about 5 in my B team, the organization for my team was good, but the B team had a lot of conflicting ideas and rebuilt 6 times. Three is a magic number
I’m actually really interested by that- obviously your team was incredibly high performance.
Do you think the freshman pick up more learning from the seniors or more as a second team being mentored by them? How did you learn as a freshman?
Thanks for the wisdom!
We tried having a freshman team which was mentored by the seniors back in Starstruck and found that for us, it didn’t work that well.
When I was a freshman, I learned the basics of RobotC and how we usually do things from Ella, our lead programmer at the time. Once Ella graduated, I learned by just writing code, usually talking through different concepts and ideas with other members of the team and/or John, our coach. These days, we usually take time over the summer to teach our new programmers, sometimes going back and having them write a driver control system for the previous years robot.
Our builders usually learn by being around for the usual build sessions and participating in all the design discussions that happen before and during. We’ll usually work of multiple subsystems at once, so there are almost always enough jobs for everyone to be working on something, with 1 or 2 people per subsystem. Of course, the different groups have to keep in constant communication with each other, which is defenitly something the team members have to learn, otherwise everyone will end up building parts that won’t work together. Through this, they learn the techniques that we usually use and how to keep what we consider an acceptable level of quality.