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View of the action during a tournament.

Eight years ago STARBASE ROBINS ventured into hosting a robotics tournament. We knew very little about robotics at the time and nothing about hosting a tournament. After attending a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition and becoming involved in the FIRST organization, I recognized that the goals of FIRST were in line with our national STARBASEpriorities. First off we wanted to enhance the overall quality of our program to better achieve our vision and mission by encouraging students to consider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers by implementing exemplary activities. Secondly we could expand and strengthen our relationship with such a collaborating organization as FIRST to leverage our resources in reaching the same target audience.

Contestants at a tournament prepare their Lego Mindstorm robot (behind the red vehicle on the ramp) for competition.

So from our first Regional FIRST Lego Leaguecompetition with a total of 6 teams to today hosting our fourth Super Regional FIRST Lego League competition with a total of 40 teams has been an overwhelming but educational experience. We strongly believe that these challenges are helping to mold our future, not just our future engineers and scientists. Students who participate in FIRST learn valuable critical thinking skills and how to collaborate and work together with their peers to accomplish a mission.

Contestants wearing green mustaches talk with a judge. Teams have fun while they compete.

STARBASE ROBINS and FIRST is a perfect fit. We hope that you are able to join us this Saturday January 7, 2012 for our 7th Annual Central Georgia Super Regional FIRST Lego League Competition. It will be a day of fun, excitement and educational. Come out and enjoy seeing Georgia’s future, scientists, engineers and work force. I dare you not to have fun!

–  By Wesley Fondal, Director of STARBASE Robins

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