What a huge success Maker's Faire was for us here at NYC FIRST. Nights before this big event, we had set up our booth with FIRST banners and flags. On the first day of Maker's Faire, we learned our first big lesson. This lesson was that not only humans, but also robots need to cool off. The record setting heat of the weekend was a huge hurdle for us as some of our team's robots actually started to overheat and melt.* As we continued to engage children and adults, we resolved this issue by rotating robots and having the robots taking breaks as students were as well.
This weekend, we had FLL, FTC, and FRC teams volunteering their weekends to help us inspire the next generation of engineers. Their perseverance to beat the heat and engage visitors with their robot is what kept our booth up and running. Throughout our event, we had a consistent flow of interested children who were in awe by our robots. We also had teachers and parents who were encouraged to know more about FIRST and start a team due to their children/students' fascination by robots. As we connected with the visitors we stumbled upon a few people who flew all the way from Rwanda, China, etc, because they had heard about their countries participating in FIRST Programs. This goes to show the impact of FIRST and how it continues to grow.
A Lego building table was set up for young students who were attracted to hands-on activities. After the first day at the fair, we learned a few mistakes and took initiatives. Next day, we had a 5-gallon water tank to keep the visitors and teams hydrated. Additionally, we had provided seating for handful of parents who came to support their children who were volunteering with us. Throughout the weekend, our booth stayed strong due to the enormous support from our community.
Overall, it was a successful event as we gathered a lot of interest and potential recruitments. We continue to grow as a team in New York City. By satiating the visitors by providing them with high quality exhibitions, we won the Editor's Choice Award for 2017 Maker's Faire. See you next year!
*The students thought it was the roboRIO but it turned out to be the hot glue melting.