What is an essential part of your life? Probably your family. It’s the FIRST place you go to when you need help, and the subject of one’s thoughts every day. 2212 is our immediate family. For the past 11 years it has been a source of love and passion for team members, mentors, alumni and those we have come across. We started off small; building robots from metal scraps, and slowly turning into our present selves – a loving, supportive, task-oriented team. In our family, everyone is a winner.
A big part of what makes our team a family is our core values: FIRST and foremost, we always uphold our Gracious Professionalism: ask anyone involved with FIRST, and they will be glad to tell you that our family has always been there to lend a helping hand. Next, our team is of the students, by the students and for the students. Thus, we can learn through our own actions, which we believe is the BEST way to experience FIRST. Last but not least, we make it a point to help our local community whenever it’s in need.
We are extremely proud to say that about 50% of our family is composed of girls! We actively encourage girls to join our team and take part of every activity, and over 70% of our team leaders are girls! This year we crossed the ocean to unite forces with Exploding Bacon, and participated in their “FIRST Like a Girl” project. The project documents girls who are active in STEM and in the FIRST community. We interviewed 4 of our past and present girl members about their FIRST experience. The interviews yielded powerful and inspiring statements such as: “My experience in FIRST showed me that if I love something, and I’m determined to do it, there is nothing I can’t do.” -Shahar, former head of mechanics crew.
We took the project one step further, and encouraged other teams to join us. In fact we have already encouraged over 5 teams including 2230, 2231, 5987, 2066, 3339 to upload their videos. We expect that this project will further inspire girls to join FIRST, give them an open invitation into STEM, and make them feel like Shahar did.
Our alumni are a huge source of pride for our clan. 85% of them end up working with STEM and in advanced tech units in the military. In fact, our alumni feel that they have gained so much from our team and FIRST, that they come right back! 90% of our mentors are 2nd and 3rd generation siblings. 13 of them have flown from our coop, and have nested in 13 FRC teams. 4 of them founded MOST, a non-profit group dedicated to raising the level of FRC. MOST created the Falafel competition, whose influence can be felt by the 600 participants this year.
There is no doubt that part of the glue that holds our family together is our sponsors.
Our relationship with them goes beyond sup0plies and0 manpower. We send weekly updates, keep in touch with their employees and give them lectures on FRC, our team and our projects. This year marks a development in our relationship with our sponsor, “Atid” – a network of schools and colleges. We were asked to give inspiring lectures on robotics in three of their schools which were received with such enthusiasm that students wanted to join our family. Atid is so happy that our team can offer such enrichment that they have recognized us their “go-to team” on all aspects of robotics and FIRST.
This year, we were inspired by FIRST inspiration in team fundraising, and held 4 fundraisers that made over 4000 NIS. Our team created new connections in our local community and are now a bit more financially independent.
Our ability to spread FIRST values to our school is well-known. This has enabled the school to become part of our family, allowing us to run activities for the school and the community.
Such activities include our participation in the school’s open days. Each year our school opens its doors to middle school children and their parents who are interested in our school.
We present our robot and our team to over 600 guests. According to the principal students now want to enroll thanks to the Spikes.
Another unforgettable part of our relationship with the school is December 22, Spikes day. On that date, we hold a big celebration where we reveal our robot, decorate the school with our team color, and sell food and drinks. The whole school gets hyped by our celebration, and the freshmen get a first taste of what it’s like to be a Spiker. It is a tradition for the team to hold lectures on FIRST and our team to our freshmen.
Moreover, this year we took 2 tremendous steps forward in our partnership with our school.
First ,our school doesn’t let the freshmen take part in FIRST so we decided to start a freshmen robotics club. Two of our seniors expose over 20 kids to robotics, FIRST, and our core values. Not only do these students get exposed and have lectures about every single aspect of FRC, they are also included in school exhibitions and open days, which will lead them to get rooted in our team.
Our second school alliance is with the learning center for underprivileged kids the Spikes have been running for 4 years. This year we encouraged our principal to let us host the learning center in our school and allow kids not part of our team to volunteer alongside us. The effect has been incredible.
Every Sunday and Tuesday, Lod children who need help with their studies come to our center and get support. This partnership with our school, has enabled us to have closer ties to the student body and with their help we’ve been able to expand from 10 students to over 70 per day. “My teacher is so happy with me, I’m coming with my homework done for the first time, and I’m not as scared to raise my hand” Munir Taybe, age 11.
But our relationship with Lod doesn’t stop there. It has improved tremendously. Lod is complicated. It is comprised of Jewish and Arab citizens and has a large amount of various immigrants. Consequently, there are gaps socially, culturally and economically. We put a lot of thinking into how our family could promote STEM in Lod. For example, in 2013, we taught basic computer work at a nearby elderly home. Over the past five years, we’ve operated STEM activities for children at a Purim festival which had over 2500 attendees. Our third annual bowl-a-thon, has been a great contribution to the city. With the money raised over the years, we bought computers for two underprivileged students in our school and two computers for a local Jewish-Arab community center.
We brought FLL and Jr. FLL to Lod. Since 2011 we opened 6 FLL teams in Lod, one of which twice reached the Israeli semi finals. This team is special to us not only because of its achievements but also because we’ve been able to create a cultural bridge. Thanks to our initiation Jewish and Arab students can learn about STEM and FIRST from each other.
Over the years, we have grown beyond the boundaries of our city. A great example of our growth is our Spikes Tykes project, which is the work of many generations. This project, started in 2012, has seen a lot of success and growth. We began by programming games to be used with the Kinect console for hospitalized children who need physical therapy. Our mission was, through our innovative games, to make their treatment more enjoyable. As the years went by, we began custom programming the games to suit a child’s specific needs. This year we further expanded by opening our project in another branch and field. We discovered the game can be a treatment for children with emotional disorders and so we opened a treatment center in a special education school. The influence of our Spikes Tykes project is a great source of pride for us especially when we see and hear the feedback from the children, therapists and teachers involved.
We were privileged enough to take part in a day of events with a Chinese delegation composed of technological-minded pupils who were enchanted by our robot and everything about FIRST. It was exciting for us to see their eyes light up at their first exposure to FIRST and our robot. Once again FIRST builds bridges between people.
Our impact on the FIRST community is legendary. Our fellowship began 11 years ago and is still going strong. This year, you will not be able to find a FIRST competition that doesn’t have a Spiker. We volunteer in every competition, in every FIRST program. “Every competition with the Spikes as our volunteers is a relief.” Keren Muchnik, head of FLL.
Two years ago when the head of FLL Jr. in Israel asked us to organize a festival, we enthusiastically said yes! This prompted us to open 2 FLL Jr. teams and mentor 6 more. In addition, we hosted a seminar for both Jr and FLL mentors. Over 30 mentors from around the country attended.
Our impact in FLL is a source of pride. FIRST inspired us to open 9 FLL teams & mentor 13. We are very proud of the fact that 87% of FLL kits are assembled by our annual kit building day in which we host 4 other teams. Every year we also have an incredible line up of judges who take part in our annual FLL instruction course. Last year we opened an FRC team and have experience in mentoring 11 other & help countless others, from north to south. This year we dedicated extra time for team 5636 who live in Majd al-Krum and are comprised of Arab and Jewish members. Ever since our first visit, our relationship with them has not only been professional, but has also developed into a deep friendship. By mentoring we have perfected what Gracious Professionalism is all about and have made it one of our core values. FIRST even acknowledged our efforts by granting us the award for 5 years.
Coopertition has enabled us to open the door to our home and invite others in. As of today, we mentor 4 FIRST teams alongside teams 2231,5990, 3835 and 3316. Last year 3339 presented a lecture in our FLL seminar . Not to mention our working with 5987, 4590, 5990 & 2231 to build FLL kits.
The ninth year of our summer workshops was a great success, with over 60 attendees. This year we were thrilled to have 4 teams join us alongside our new members and anyone interested in STEM. In the workshops, we taught everything needed for a member of an FRC team
in order to let them choose their crew, bond with them, teach them about the crews, team volunteering and everything a new member of FIRST needs to know.
We are well known in the FRC community for our lectures and support. This year we gave a successful lecture at team 2096 in Dimona. This started a chain reaction: teams 6738, 5636, 5987 asked us to come to them as well. In 2015, our captain gave a lecture on sponsorship at the Afeka seminar. This seminar is run by FIRST and is meant to enrich all FRC teams. This lecture was very well received and is now used as a resource for teams. In addition, we’ve participated in over 8 national conventions these past 3 years where we demonstrated our robot & spread FIRST’s message.