At several elementary schools in the Mounds View district, FLL Jr. coordinators hold annual kickoff events at the start of the FLL Jr. season. The exact agenda for these events vary per coordinator, but the general idea is for the parents of all participating students to meet each other at one time and learn about the program. Posse members have offered to help at many of these events, as we want to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for the coordinators.
Our job at these events is usually to watch the students while the parents discuss the details of FLL Jr, decide meetings times, figure out who is going to be coach, etc. At a few of the kickoffs, we were directed to take the students outside to the playground. We usually ended up being roped into a game of tag or a conversation about video games. At Snail Lake kindergarten center, we also took students to the library, where there were several tables full of fun activities to occupy the kids. A few of us got busy at the stencil station while we chatted with the kindergarteners about how excited they were for FLL Jr. to start. It was very fun to hear about how so-and-so’s older sibling was on an FLL team or so-and-so was thrilled to be starting FLL Jr. for the third year in a row; it really helped us appreciate the wide spread of FIRST programs and how we were contributing to it by helping to start these teams.
Talking with FLL Jr. students was not something we expected to do when helping with these programs, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to get to know these “future robotics superheroes” as they begin their journeys in FIRST. We can’t wait to talk with them again and see how much they’ve grown when we run our FLL Jr. exhibitions early next year.