Rookie team looking for Worlds tips, info, advice.

First a short brag on the boys I have the privilege of mentoring…
This rookie team qualified for the Nothing But Net MI state championship. The team made a plan to qualify for Worlds through the programming skills challenge at state. They estimated the score they needed to earn this qualifying spot and set a goal of 146 points. They modified their robot by adding a second ball launcher below their original launcher, this way they could shoot enough balls in the 60 seconds they have during an attempt. They programmed their bot and tested, tested, tested (you all understand this). The team earned their 144 point score on the second attempt out of the two attempts they were allowed.

Now the team will be headed to the VEX MS World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. Uh-oh…

The families of the students are still deciding if everyone is going, or just one parent for each student. We are starting to plan lodging and food, etc. Rookie program, tight budget, families don’t want to spend more money than necessary.

Any tips?
I’m looking for fan-made Worlds videos/ or reviews.
Tips on managing a reasonable food budget.
Are there some souvenirs the students are going to want to pick up to remember their time at Worlds?
How is parking at the event? Are whole event parking passes usually available? What was the cost last year?
Do families enjoy going? or does it work better just to send students and mentor/coaches?
Are there any traditions a rookie team should know about? Something like button or pin trading among teams?

On the actual competition…
Only teams that have won a Design Award or Excellence Award are eligible to win those awards at Worlds? Are ALL teams interviewed? Do ALL teams need their engineering notebooks? (other than for their own reference?)
Now that they are at the final tournament, how much priority are on skills? If you know you can’t place in the top 20, do teams prioritize SKILLS? Do lower scoring teams perform their skills challenges at Worlds just to see how they stack up against the best of the best?

Do skills, as you will have enough time. Bring a rolling cart as the matches are far from your pits (especially if you are a middle school team). Many teams have little giveaways(buttons pins and candy) and your students will likely grab them. They are also a good idea to give away to other teams.

Most of all, come with an attitude to have fun and don’t fret about winning or even looking bad. If you can win more matches than you lose, you are doing great. Make sure your kids talk to other teams, especially their alliances - that is the greatest thing about being in a place where kids have come from all over the planet.

Definitely bring some kind of roller cart for moving things around.

I would stay away from the hotels closest to the event. Our experience is that these had many teams from the other side of the planet and so their biological clocks were still 12 hours off. Consequently, they were often awake at all hours of the night, very busy and a bit noisy. (No, Oliver, I’m not talking about AURA). Also, it’s not like you can easily walk from the event to those hotels - there is a lack of sidewalks or walker-friendly anything in that particular zone.

Don’t be surprised if one of your very capable alliances simply doesn’t show up. I guess that’s an acceptable strategy in some parts of the world.

Last year, the metal middle school was in the same area where they had kept the farm animals the week before - or at least that’s what it seemed like to many of us. If you or any of your crew are especially allergic to animals, then bring some allergy meds in case you have an attack. Last year, one of the teams had a team member who had a bad reaction of some kind.

If you have extra time, Mammoth Caves is a reasonable drive to the south and I think it’s worth it if the kids have never been in a cave.

You might want to bring some folding chairs of your own.

We arrived at the back gate last year. The garage-like thing there was open, so we strolled in with our things. We wandered a bit and were surprised at how no teams were there yet. Then, a guy came and told us the pits weren’t open yet. Apparently, we weren’t supposed to be in there yet :slight_smile: We put our stuff around our pit since it didn’t make sense to roll them back out and went out and waited with the rest of the people. My advice: don’t do what we did.
Parking was free (at least, we didn’t pay anything).
You will get a “drive team” badge. Don’t leave those at your hotel, since the drive team members need those to get in the field. We learned that the hard way :smiley:
We did our qualification match member check on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s best to go in numerical order since most people don’t like to walk two miles to go see ten teams.

Congrats on making worlds! We are also a first year team that qualified, but we are unsure whether we can attend due to our limited funds. Does anyone have a ballpark figure for how much worlds costs, including living expenses, or know if there are any unforeseen fees we might have to pay?

You may need Google Translate for some of your qualification matches. Make sure you have it downloaded and ready to load!

How do you make it to worlds with 146 points in programming skills?

programming skills champion

Well that sucks…We have the Killer Monkeys in our states competition…

I see a lot of people are helping and will continue to help out, so I’ll just say some things that haven’t been covered. Interviews are to be scheduled with judges for certain times in addition to judges coming by your pit for an interview. Engineering notebooks are a must for awards at worlds. Teams must have submitted an online challenge to be eligible for the overall Excellence Award, but the rest are up for grabs in divisions. If you are unable to get a lot of money from fundraisers, it’s logical to have only one parent go per member, and if that’s still too high you can send a parent and the mentor/teacher. Hotels are booking very fast, so you might want to book right now. The link for Worlds hotels is here .

I’m a local Louisvillian so if you have questions, I can help.

In regards to hotel rooms, look for hotels on the East end of town. It’s the newest/nicest side of town so anywhere you stay will likely have been built in the past 5 years. Lots of parking space, lots of teen-friendly restaurants. And there are still rooms available in several that I just looked at.

#1 souvenir from Louisville is the miniature Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat. Google it: it’s a great takeaway that’s popular with the kids. But be warned: you cannot take these onto airplanes! The airport has a huge display filled with mini bats that they had to confiscate from travelers. Ship them home, pack them with the robot, stick them in your check-in luggage, but don’t put them in your carry-on.

Congrats on qualifying for Worlds!
To be eligible for World excellence, you must have submitted two online challenges, received the excellence award in a local tournament, and have registered for it ahead of time. If all of these conditions are met, you will have an excellence interview at Worlds, and you will be a candidate for world excellence.
This year the design award has changed a bit. To be eligible for the design award, you must have received either design or excellence at a local competition. The most important thing is that you submit your notebook to the judges. Instead of signing up for a design award interview, judges will come around to your pit and look through your notebook. Judges will give out the award based on that.