July 2015 Newsletter

July 9, 2015

Middleton Magnet High School Robotics Club Newsletter
edition 2015, volume 01

1. New Robotics Club Leadership
2. Adult Committees
3. Finances
4. Upcoming Fundraisers
5. Outreach
6. Robotics Club Parents Meeting
7. Communication

We’ve said goodbye to our graduates as they prepare for their future. Our club was very successful in our goals as our 8 Seniors qualified for over $1.5M in scholarship money in addition to several joining the ranks of our armed Forces. We wish them great luck and success in everything they attempt.

The summer vacation is almost half over and our robotics family have been very busy with demonstrations, fundraisers, camps, and recruitment. Some even decided to get away from it all and travel to foreign countries. Before long, we’ll be back in school and the robotics seasons will be upon us.

1. The Parents/Students Meeting on May 15 provided everyone with an update on the Middleton Robotics Club . First is the change in Club Leadership. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Rich Berglund, current FRC Head Coach and now Middleton Robotics Senior Mentor. This coming season will be my 12th in FIRST Robotics and 5th in Middleton Robotics. As I said at the meeting, my goal is to make Middleton Robotics one of the premiere robotics programs in Florida and the U.S. We have the students and continue to recruit more adults. We still need more. If you feel like helping out, please let me know. I have posted a copy of the brief on my Google Drive . You will also find other important documents there.

Our new Club President is Alex Dimartino. Vice Presidents are Alex Stein and Surya Balaji. Team Captains are Andrew Butt (FRC), Varun Madabushi (FTC Maelstrom), Kyle Coker (FTC Masquerade), and Dimitry Podobreev (Vex). We are still discussing the total number of team for next year. We want to make sure we can provide the same quality experience to all students. Each team requires lots of resources. Our new leadership team is excited about the future of the club.
The new leadership team has help several meetings and is eager to make Middleton Robotics a powerhouse in Florida and U.S. There will be changes in club operations. As we develop the policies and procedures, I will disseminate that information.

2. Adult Committees. We are looking for parents to step up and help out with Club administration. These are not full time positions and your expertise is needed. We are currently seeking members for the Fundraising Committee and the Outreach Committee which will seek out community outreach opportunities that the club can undertake to give back to the community. I’m also looking for an adult Safety Mentor to work with the Robotics Club Safety Council. If you would like to help with one of these committees, please email me:

3. Finances. As you know, it takes a great deal of money to make sure the Club runs effectively. Last year every program did not meet their expenses. Fortunately we were able to cover costs with previous budget surplus most from Title I money. That money is no longer available and we need to be more financial responsible in the coming years. Teams will have to make difficult decisions regarding purchases and/or competing. The key is developing a workable budget and then developing a fundraising plan to satisfy that budget.

Each team will identify a minimum of 1 parent to serve on the Club Fundraising Committee. Their responsibility is to research fundraising opportunities and also to deconflict corporate sponsor solicitation. Our goal next year to solicit a majority (60-70%) of our revenue through corporate sponsorship and grants. If you would like to serve on this committee, please send an email to me or Jeff Butt (coralreef1996@gmail.com).
Our club members are located across Hillsborough County. It makes sense to spread our fundraisers across the county as well. Any parent can organize a fundraiser. We will advertise across the club for helpers and organizers receive extra credit for setting up the fundraiser. The robots will be at coach’s houses over the summer and will be making the rounds to Outreach and fundraisers. If you want to have a robot at your fundraiser, contact me.
In August we will begin a massive written corporate sponsorship campaign. We are currently compiling a database of companies that we will send sponsorship letters to. The list has over 100 companies and continues to grow. If you have a specific company that we should recruit, please send all information to Rich Berglund for inclusion in database.

4. Upcoming Fundraisers:
Sam’s Club Lunch. FRC is organizing two Lunches at Sam’s Club in Riverview. These have been profitable in past as people donate after seeing robots. The dates are July 11 and August 15, 9am-2pm. Students can get credit for working and/or donating supplies. If you want to work, send me an email. If you can’t attend but still want credit and want to donate supplies, the signup forms are at:

July 11 www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4baca62ba0f94-sams4

August 15 www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0C4BACA62BA0F94-sams5

Garage Sale. FRC is holding a Garage Sale, Aug 21-22 in Bloomingdale subdivision, Valrico. These have been successful in the past. Students can receive credit for working the event and/or by donating items for sale. If you have items to donate, we will begin collecting in early August (since my garage is almost full already). For more information or to help out, please contact Rich Berglund (roboticscoach@gmail.com)

5 One of the great things about FIRST (and Vex) is that the program is really “more than just robots.” We are here to inspire our students to excel in whatever they want to do beyond high school. It is also imperative that we all understand that giving back is just as good, if not better, than winning. Trophies are nice and great to win, but in the end, it is the type of young adults and good citizens we mold at Middleton that will spell success for our Club. Outreach is how we give back to the community. It also helps us by getting our name out in the community, helps with our award submissions, and is a great recruiting tool – outreach to the business community also recruits new sponsors. Each student is required to participate in at least 3 Outreach events to be on the travel team. Last year we participated in 27 events, so it will not be difficult. These outreach events take place during the summer as well. Our robot is already scheduled for at least 2 summer camp visits, 1 school visit, and 1-2 corporate sponsor visits. We will post upcoming outreach opportunities on the website, calendar (working) and in the newsletter. Upcoming Outreach include:

Aug 6 – West Chase Rec Center Summer Camp
TBD – Southern Manufacturing technology corporate visit
Sept 3 – Band-Aid Drive for St Joseph’s Childrens Hospital
Sept 19 – Hillsborough County Water Cleanup and Robotics Club Picnic (details TBD)

6. Robotics Student/Parents meeting. Our first students/parents meeting is scheduled for Thursday September 3 at 6:00 – 8:00pm in MHS auditorium. As you know this will be a very popular event and many people will be in attendance. The goal for the meeting is to explain the program and teams, introduce leadership, and answer questions.
This year we will be doing something different. In keeping with our Outreach goals, we’re asking everyone who attends to bring in a box (or more) of children’s band-aids. These are the cartoon (i.e Scooby do, hello kitty, etc) that you can find at dollar store. We will collect them and give them to the nurses at St Joseph’s Childrens Hospital. They in turn use them to provide as smile on a kid that is hurting. I’m working on getting a representative from the hospital to be at the meeting to accept the gifts. This is not a mandatory activity, but highly encouraged – I’d like to see our boxes overfilled!!

7. Communication. A major goal for the upcoming season is better communication up down and lateral. The first step is to communicate with your team leads (coach and team captain). If they send out a request – respond. If you have a question – ask. We are working on making the website more useful. We intend to make the newsletter more useful for everyone.

One of the tools we used in FRC last year was “Remind” text messaging. This tool allowed the coach to send out global texts (to include pictures) to the team for rapid communication. It proved to be effective as students tend to read text messages. It is also a quick way to distribute important critical changes. Therefore we are establishing an account for the club. This is mandatory for students and optional for parents. I have included signup instructions in the Google Drive. To signup, simply text the phrase @mhsrobotcl to the number 81010.

We have been adding important items to the calendar that is currently published on the FRC website. You can view the calendar at http://www.frc1369minotaur.com/?page_id=46 If you would like to add anything to the calendar, email Rich Berglund
I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. I’m looking forward to a new year and another opportunity to really inspire our students to greater things as the new robotics seasons begin. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to volunteer and help out, please contact your team captain and/or coach or you can contact me Rich Berglund, roboticscoach@gmail.com

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