Reprinted with permission from the Cold Spring Record, March 12, 2013.
On March 2, students from across the region participated in the Minnesota’s second VEX Robotics World Qualifying competition held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.
Our local Boy Scout Troop 15, naming themselves the “Boss Botz,” received several awards that day. One was the Excellence award, the highest honor in the VEX Robotics Competition. This will allow the boys to compete in the 2013 Vex World Championship, scheduled April 17-20, in Anaheim, Calif., where thousands of students from more than 30 countries will compete.
Troop 15 also received the Champion award and the robot skills award. During the competition, each team is judged on its ability to build, program, drive and control the robot. “The competition this year was challenging, I couldn’t believe we received the excellence award two years in a row,” Austin Johannes, captain driver said. “Since June, we have logged over 800 hours of recording, documenting and publishing and another 100 hours of just volunteering to the community which goes to show our true team spirit!”
The VEX Sack Attack competition is played on a 12’ by 12’ square mat. Two alliances, one “red” and one “blue” composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a 15-second autonomous period followed by one minute and 45 seconds of driver-controlled play. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by scoring Sacks and Bonus Sacks in their colored Floor Goals, Troughs, and High Goal, and by having the most robots of their color parked at the end the match. This may sound easy, but it is a tough challenge and it forces the boys to be creative, think logically, strategize and work hard. Beyond Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles, a VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork leadership and problem solving among the groups.
They wear black business suits, ties and a black fedora hat as their team uniform. They hand out their business cards to the other team. The boys sewed more than 180 bean bags with the “Boss Botz” name on it, to pass out to each team that competed. They even sewed their own team flag that looks like a business tie. They made a robot man out of last year’s barrels. This is one talented team.
Also note, there were two separate teams from Troop 15 this year that competed. The Boss Botz took the second team as their alliance at playoffs and they both took Championship in St. Cloud. “These are young men, a couple of sixth-graders and a junior. Our team helped them along the way with their robot this year,” said Austin Johannes. “I know they learned a lot however they listened and acted like pros when we competed. I am very proud of them.”
This year the Boy Scouts had to raise their own money to attend the World Competition.
The trip to Anaheim has taught them teamwork, leadership and problem solving now and in the future.