New Team Need Advice!!!

Hello Everyone,
I am planning on starting a VEX non-competitive club at our high school along with our competitive FTC program, for next year. The goal of the new club is to increase the general awareness of robotics at our school, but we don’t have enough time to start a competitive team. We are pretty small artsy prep school with 375 HS students, and I assume not many new people have extensive robotics experience. I need some advice on booting up our inventory and knowledge base:

  1. We are planning to meet two to three hours a week, first talk about the basics of Robotics and programming stated in the EDR curriculum and then work on all sorts of projects from simple mechanisms to full robots (probably in spring 2019). As of now, what parts should we buy? We are planning to buy the classroom super kit for a group of 5 people, but previous posts have said that these kits aren’t the best value and people should buy individual parts. For an introductory team should we buy the kit still?
  2. If we want to keep more people engaged and learning especially about programming should we get a second cortex, or is one cortex with a kit is very plenty for 5 kids?
  3. As the organizer, I have 1 year of FRC and 1 year of FTC experience as a builder with a little programming experience. Should there be a knowledgeable staff or student frequently instructing newer kids about how to build and how to program in order to keep people interested, or is VEX very self-explanatory and new kids will pick up concepts quickly with less guidance? If it is the former, I guess I need to get myself comfortable with ROBOTC early on right?
  4. Even if we are not competitive, should we still follow guidelines and goals provided by VRC instead of building whatever people come up with? I guess it is more intellectually stimulating to construct a robot that meets a well-designed goal, as opposed to just build whatever comes up to our mind? Any experiences?
  5. For those of you who started a new team before, how long does it take for a team to really be boot up? I mean people come for learning and wanting to build good robots, not just speculating, and small projects can be made, etc.

If you have prior experiences with non-competitive VEX / VRC, whether a student or a mentor, I would love to hear back from you. My email address is .

Thank you a bunch!

Also, I would love to clarify any questions you might have.

Personally, I would buy the metal kits along with the needed screws, keps nuts, lock collars, bearing flats, axles, gears, cortex (obviously), VEX net keys, wheels (the standard ones would work), motors, motor screws, motor controllers, and spacers. The new V5 things are being sold later this year so in theory this means the V4 and everything else would be cheaper to buy(especially since they are doing trade ins this year). I wouldn’t buy sensors until you were being competitive personally. I hope this helps!

Make sure you don’t buy steel c-channels.
These are c-channels.

OP said they are non competing, steel is fine if you’re not using it to compete

If it’s non-competitive I kind of think it’s better to have 2 teams play against each other in games the team comes up with. Obviously that nearly doubles the cost, but that way the teams can identify points in their robot that they might want to innovate on. Either that or just come up with single-team skills challenges and design robots for the ones you come up with.