I have taken on the role as match maker and team organizer for Los Altos parents interested in having their children participate on a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team. Parents can of course organize teams without my help by going directly to FLL and registering a team. One thing I have done through the years as part of organizing teams, is collect registration fees from participants and use these funds to pay for team registration and purchase materials for the teams. At the end of the season, I collect all of the materials (kits and playing fields) and save them for the next year. By reusing the LEGO robotics kits, we should be able to reduce the cost of participating on a team. As of August '03, we have purchased eight LEGO robotics kits. Once a team is formed, the team can decide if they want to purchase the LEGO robotics kit at a cost of about $260, team registration and playing field pieces at a cost of $200 for an after tax and shipping total of $505.49 (2003 prices) or let me take care of the registration and provide them with one robotics kit for every two team members and a T-Shirt per person for a cost of about $150/team member. Teams have done it both ways in the past and either is fine with me. It is actually easier for me if the teams take care of all of the finances themselves but I am also willing to take care of the finances for them if they want. I also have helped out in making playing fields (4' x 8' pieces of whiteboard bordered with 2"x4"s). These cost about $40 to make.
You need to decide how you want to organize your teams. Clearly if you do it all on your own you are in full control. However, if you send me your registration money and succeed in having your child placed on a team, the team can still elect to take care of everything on their own and I will return the registration money that you have sent me. Let me know within a week of the close of registration if you wish to go this way.
If you decide to take care of your own finances, you can borrow a playing field from me if I have an extra one or I am willing to try and get you help in building one. You are also welcome to join in on the T-Shirt order. The more shirts we order at a time, the cheaper they are. In 2002, we put together an order for 48 shirts and the final cost was about $16/shirt. 36 shirts would have cost us $24.50/shirt so there is a strong incentive to put together a large order if possible.
Please understand that at the end of the season that if you have me take care of the finances, I am going to want you to return the LEGO Robotics kits, the playing field, the playing field pieces, and the playing field mat.
In either way you participate, as a Los Altos team, you will have a spot at the scrimmage and local competition that I organize and put on with lots of help from the many volunteers from the teams. All teams participating in the scrimmage and local competition are expected to provide volunteers to make the event happen. Many of the volunteer positions only require a time commitment on the day of the event. See the sign up information page for more information on these volunteer positions.
|21 Aug '04||Clean it up and clarified some text.|
|26 Aug '03||First cut.|