On Saturday, April 2, 2022, Trial and Error Robotics was given the opportunity to participate in an annual Scouts BSA camp-out hosted by the Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC). This event gave the opportunity for scouts in troops 7, 8, 88, and 102 from the Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Lasting from April 1 to April 3, the camp showcased labs on the ERDC campus. Among the labs showcased was the Geo-technical and Structures Lab (GSL). Our team mentors who work in the Concrete and Materials Branch of GSL, Cody Goss and Hayden Hanna, spoke with the scouts about how the skills learned in FIRST robotics can be useful in a future STEM career.
During their tour, scouts learned that when someone joins FIRST, they typically start on a FIRST Lego League (FLL) team. FLL is a subcategory of FIRST where teams come together and create a design for their robot, a program, and strategy that will be used during matches, and a project that relates to the season’s challenge. Once graduating from FLL (typically in junior high or high school), they can begin to compete on the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) level. FTC is a bit more challenging than FLL as the field gets bigger and the programming gets more complex. Any skills learned on an FTC are transferable into a career with organizations like ERDC and other STEM-based facilities. Throughout the day we distributed numerous FIRST FTC Flyers as well as our team pamphlets and business cards to the scouts. Overall, we were glad to help ERDC host this event, and the team looks forward to seeing a few of the scouts around the FWD Center as members of Trial and Error Robotics or another one of our FIRST teams.