Reaching Out

Spreading Fun, STEM, and Safety Everywhere

Vet Appointment

Gloria had previously reached out to the team about helping to create a prosthetic leg for a disabled dog. This would be a yearlong involved club project, testing our design and build skills in a real-world situation. Before starting this process, the team was invited to meet the dog in a vet appointment to get to know him, see what the leg looked like, and understand how the dog interacts with its world. Our team was able to talk with the owners, and understand the challenge at hand, and throughout this meeting, we decided to set another appointment for the dog to get x-rays, and more data to better understand his situation.

UHS Freshman Orientation

During Union High School’s freshman orientation, our club was invited to volunteer and help out. Mr. Brosius had asked us if we would like to attend in lieu of hosting a table, and our club was excited to help. Members helped in the library, checking out the assigned chromebooks and chargers. In a span of two hours, we had helped pass out a majority of the computers to students. This was a great experience to volunteer in our school, and allowed us to begin the school year with an outreach opportunity.

August Summer Camps

During the week of August 12th to the 15th, we hosted another round of camps. We were able to take the agendas and activities from the June camps, and modify them to better fit our new round of campers. These campers were mostly of an older demographic, meaning that we would have had to tailor the activities to them.

Conmet Visit

After reaching out and communicating with Mr. Chin, a Conmet representative and employee, we were invited to tour the Vancouver facility and present to the employees. While Mr. Chin was out sick, we were greeted by Katie, a marketing coordinator. She gave us a brief overview of the company and its facilities, and an overview of production. Our team members then were given the opportunity to tour the manufacturing facility, led by another seasoned employee. We were able to look at the robotics used in manufacturing the wheel ends and other truck parts, and members took interest in the robotic arms. It was a wonderful experience to talk to operations managers about robotics applied in the workplace, and our team walked away with plenty of newfound knowledge. After the tour, our team had prepared a presentation with our slideshow and table display to give to the employees over at the corporate offices. We gave an overview of our organization, and formulated our presentation to be more interactive, with many interested employees asking questions about our program and robot. We conducted a demonstration of Stadarken, and taught some employees how to drive it as well. Our team showed off our notebooks and transparencies, and answered many more questions after the presentation concluded. Overall, this was such a great chance to reach out to more local companies and seek new partnerships.

Fircrest SPARK Camp

After the Firstenburg Foundation graciously donated to our team, we felt that we could reach out more into our community, particularly with a youth summer camp that is under Firstenburg. Our team was invited to run a workshop, robot demonstration, and brief presentation directed to the kids. We started off the afternoon with a short presentation about our team, our season and Worlds, and future opportunities available to the campers. Then, it transitioned into our workshop, in which kids rotated between “Human Programming”, robot driving, and the Ollie programming. In Human Programming, one camper would be blindfolded while their partner would have to verbally direct them through an obstacle course, requiring them to be specific in their commands, much like real life programming. We taught the kids how to drive Stadarken, and they were able to test out all its functions. Students also had fun programming and driving the Ollies in a field set up. Overall, the campers enjoyed this experience, and we went home with a card signed by all the campers.

June Summer Camps

During the days of June 24th to the 27th, we hosted our main fundraiser and outreach event for the summer - our camps. With around thirteen to fourteen kids ranging from ages ten through thirteen, we hosted four days of camp. Each day was targeted towards a particular branch of robotics - CAD, programming, engineering, and a cumulative challenge day. Our CAD camp day allowed for the students to learn basic design principles, led by Spencer and Sam. They were able to design and print nametags, CAD various objects, and learn design principles critical to robotics and engineering in particular.

Thank You and Awards Ceremony

To send off our year, we recognized special team members, mentors, and coaches that were vital to our success this past season. The team invited many members of our community, such as donors and family members, to the event. We showcased a video montage of funny moments from competitions and outreach events, gave our seniors a farewell gift, and served food.

Pacific Visit

This event was created with the intent to recruit students for both our summer camps and our club. During Pacific’s eighth grade lunch, members of our team set up a basic presentation table, complete with our trifold, trophies, and decorations. We had also printed flyers for our summer camps, and handed them out to the many students who were interested. Besides our table, the team also decided to host a robot demonstration station, driving Stadarken around and showcasing its functions. The students were able to partake in controlling the robot as well, even using the arm functions. We were able to talk to many of the teachers and staff there, earning their support and an invitation to come in the future. It was extremely successful, so the team stayed for another half hour to present to the sixth graders, handing out many more flyers for summer camps. Overall, this event was successful in garnering interest for our camps and club.

Shahala Visit

In order to spread the word about our camps and organization, we had previously reached out to the administration at Shahala about a potential visit. During the school day, our team visited Shahala Middle School during each of the lunches. We brought our table set up, and our robot, and we were able to get the word out about our camps, garnering a lot of interest. Team members also drove Stadarken, and allowed the students to try driving and utilizing its functions. Overall, this was a great opportunity to get support and camp recruitment.

Convergence Training Presentation

CAMAS - After the door to door visit with Convergence Training, one of the project managers invited the team to do come back for a formal presentation to the company. In anticipation of our visit, the project manager sent out emails to the employees to spread the word about the event. The team set up a display about our team and robot. We delivered our presentation to a group of employees followed by a Q&A session. During this session, the drivers presented about the robot while Jaclyn passed around the engineering notebooks. Near the end, the team mentioned our purpose for the visit was to fundraise for Worlds. We were pleasantly surprised when nearly all the employees individually donated cash.

HP Corporate

While stopping by to pick up a few parts our mentor, Gloria, had 3D printed for the team, Kyler and Coach Gray offered to bring in the robot to show some of the staff. Our team has really enjoyed the wonderful support of the Vancouver branch of HP, and wanted to show their appreciation. As a result, Gloria rounded up several of the workshop employees who had 3D printed and assisted the team with manufacturing and machining parts for the robot. They asked many questions and were excited to see the robot and the results of their efforts. While visiting, Mr. Driggers invited Kyler and Coach Gray to show the robot to “his boss” who happened to be visiting from Spain. They followed him and Gloria upstairs and suddenly found themselves invited into a meeting to present in front of roughly 20 HP employees. Not thinking too much about it, Kyler showcased what the robot could do, told about the season and World Championship qualification, and shared about how the power of HP's new 3D printing technology had assisted us. Coach Gray shared about the team’s accomplishments and their robotic program. Everyone seemed to love the robot and were impressed by its design as well as the team’s success. We hoped that this presentation would continue to foster a positive relationship and lead to many years of success in the future. What we didn’t know until later was that HP's President of Imaging & Printing, Enrique Lores, was the person from Spain and that they had just presented to some of the top executives at HP!

Door to Door Fundraising

The team still needed to fundraise about $6,700 for Worlds, and planned to do so through a company “door-to-door” fundraiser. The fundraiser was split into three hour shifts, two per day over three days. This allowed each shift to travel to different plazas where the group would stop in and introduce themselves at each business. First, a team member would explain to the employee or manager why we were there and ask if we could provide further information. If they said yes, then we would give a brief summary about our team and conduct a robot demonstration. Initially the event was supposed to span three days, but after the first day, the team devised a new approach. After the first shift of Day 1, the team realized chain stores required local management to go through corporate in order to donate, which would take weeks. Most of the initial donations were from employees or customers giving small amounts of cash. For the second shift, the team went to a tech center where they were able to find more locally owned businesses that were also STEM related. One of the businesses that we went to was, who donated $1000 and recommended other local companies we could contact. They were also kind enough to give us a tour and said they would do some future training/mentoring for our team. At the end of the day we raised about $1200 and decided to scrap visiting other chain stores in favor of trying to setup specific presentation visits.

Shahala Readcon

Geared Reaction was invited to Shahala Middle School for their annual Fantasy & Sci-fi Bookfair, the Shahala Readcon. The team set up a display table and an Ollie driving station. While the event hadn’t been planned as a fundraiser, we were also able to collect donations by attaching a bucket to the robot and driving it around, which was surprisingly successful, raising $80. This was also a great recruiting opportunity for incoming freshman as well as for our summer camps. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize how many flyers we would need for camp, thinking more about the 8th grade recruitment when we printed. We also invited the Thunderbots to help out, who ran a BB8 station, since many students move on to Mt. View High School from Shahala.

Intro to Robotics Camp

The team ran a day long camp of introductory robotics for elementary school students. The students learned very basic principles of engineering and programming through fun activities. We divided the students into their age groups, 2nd/3rd graders and 4th/5th graders, and led separate activities for each group. The programming activities included “Human Programming”, playing with spheros, and programming last season’s robot. For engineering activities, we did a lego communication activity and marble challenge with paper, Tetrix parts, and zip ties. Everyone had a great time and we raised about $850 in total for the day!

Incoming Freshman Night

The team was invited to set up a recruitment and information booth at the Incoming Freshman night for 8th graders who will be attending Union next year. We were met with great enthusiasm and collected 2 pages of names on our club sign-up sheets. We ran two drive stations: Sphero Ollies and our last year robot. Our robot from this season followed people around, giving them candy and flyers. We had a large information table and display as well to invite parents and students to learn more about our robotics program. Overall, it was a great success and we connected with many families and middle schoolers who seemed excited to hopefully join our club in the future.

Shockley League Scrimmage

This season we have really enjoyed getting to know other teams better by hosting scrimmages. After a fun match up before League 2, we wanted to try it again with all 4 State qualifying teams from our League. Another reason is that we’ve learned several teams in our region don’t have a field to practice on, so it’s great to be able to share our resources. We also thought it was important for our league to come together one final time before we compete at State. Turned out really important as our robot suffered some issues tonight that we can now work to resolve. Although all of the robots were not functioning completely it was good to have this pseudo competition before the real one.


Our team was invited to a local EXCEL Game Night, where elementary and middle school children and families were able to play games, connect with other families, and take part in our robotics stations. Invited by the Thunderbots to participate, our teams kicked off the night by giving a brief presentation about FIRST and our teams. After we hosted stations where kids could drive the Ollies and even drive our robots. Other team members were available to answer any questions from parents or students at our display table. This was a great opportunity to give back to our community by working with the students, and was also a great chance to spread the word about our future camps. By the end of the night, we had two pages full of families interested in our camps and our club.

Lacey Scrimmage

After a successful time at Interleagues, our team reached out to Claw-sistency, Four Eyes, and Electric Sheep regarding a scrimmage before State. With details hashed out via previous emails, our drivers and a few member of the team drove up to North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington, in order to scrimmage. All four teams met in the cafeteria and prepared a snack table, the field, and our robots. After the setup was complete, we ran a couple mock rounds, contemplating on whether we should use our mineral depositing mechanism, and we received our match schedules. Around eleven the matches began, we ran a total of five matches before lunch, rotating alliance partners, and taking breaks in order to give teams time to make adjustments between each round.Everyone had a great time and gained valuable experience and information that will be utilized at the state competition. This was a great opportunity to reach out to distant teams and practice with other robots.

Techie Boot-Camp

The club took a few periods out of their school day to travel to a local senior living center. At the senior living center, the club members aided the seniors with devices ranging from Fit-Bits to mobile phones. In addition to the club, the school district news team also showed up to produce a news segment on the event.

Girls in STEM Event

This was our team’s second time participating in this event. Similar to last time, our team, along with our local FTC team the Thunderbots, and our local FLL team from Pacific Middle School, had displays and ran workshops throughout the day. Our entire robotics group was given a commons area and a few classrooms to accommodate our size. Throughout the day hundreds of girls passed through our exhibits and learned in our workshops.

Columbia Springs Volunteering

Columbia Springs has been a longtime supporter of our team. Whether it is our team participating in an event they host such as Repair Cafe, or our team just giving back to them, we strive to maintain a strong relationship between us. This time our team traveled to volunteer at Columbia Springs’ headquarters on our school’s early release day to volunteer. Their headquarters complex included multiple historical structures, a fish hatchery, and plentiful wildlife trails for guests to enjoy. Our main job that day was to tidy up the hiking trails doing work such as painting signs to improve their guests experience.

Convergence Networks

Convergence is one of our main sponsors and the company invited us over to their office in Milwaukee. We had lunch with the CEO of the company while learning about how women work in STEM, how small businesses operate, what to expect in the typical interviewing processes, and miscellaneous skills that are beneficial to students. In addition we were introduced to certain jobs within companies industry. This was a great learning experience and opportunity, and we hope to continue our relationship with Convergence.

Wafertech Visit

As Wafertech has supported us in the past, we scheduled a tour of their facilities. This visit was a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the company and learn more about the production of wafers. With a great presentation, activity, and tour, Wafertech was very open and welcoming towards us, and we hope to further pursue a relationship with them.

Repair Cafe - Camas Public Library

After the previously successful Repair Cafe events in the past, we were once again invited to the September session. The team was able to set up a presentation table, and demonstrate our robot to attendees. As a great opportunity to reach out to our surrounding community, Repair Cafe allowed us to engage with kids and adults alike through robotics.

Summer Camps

During our first session of camps, our counselors strived to provide the campers with an enjoyable experience. Our camps began with introductions and icebreakers, making for some memorable experiences. With our safety-based principles, we kicked off the camps with a safety introduction. We hosted four camps - CAD, building, programming, and a “challenge” camp. The first three camps each had a specific focus on a particular aspect of robotics, while the challenge camp allowed campers to combine the skills learned at each of the camps to complete a set challenge. A great experience for both the campers and our team members, we hope to continue hosting camps into the future.

Design Zone Event

The club was invited by Repair Cafe to attend the Design Zone event at the Water Resource Center in Vancouver. At the event we had a table and a section of the room where we were able to setup a display and an area where we were able to teach visitors how to drive our competition robot. Along with talking with visitors the club also began to build relations with other companies that were participating that day.

Shahala and Pacific Middle School Visits

The best way to advertise about the summer camps while also recruiting members to the club was to attend the lunches at the nearby middle schools. The team was excused early from school in order to prepare for the lunch presentations. When the team arrived at the school the staff there was welcoming and was curious about the situation. The stage was quickly set up which allowed the members to go through the presentation a few times before a lunch started. Most of the students there were interested in the robot and wanted to drive it after out presentation. The presentation part discussed about the camps while also including interesting information about our team. The presentation was a bit difficult because of how loud the lunch room was. The event was very successful since during the end of the second lunch we did we had to get a staffer help us print extra flyers.

May the Fourth Event

In honor of May the Fourth celebrations, members of our team as well as our club ventured to Shahala Middle School in order to conduct outreach. With the help of Mr. Warner, the librarian at Shahala, our group was able to set up a presentation of our club and team, with demonstrations about our robot. We allowed kids and adults alike to drive our robot around, invoking interest and drawing the attention of others to our station. Along with the robot, our team set up an interactive Sphero activity, teaching many the basics of coding and programming. As the Spheros flashed brilliant colors, whizzing around the track, our team stood by ready to answer any question about our club and robotics in general. A few of our members volunteered to manage other stations at the Star Wars event, conducting games and activities overseen by the middle school. At the end of the day, many kids were buzzing about our robot and presentation, something we strived to achieve.

Take Your Child to Work Day at UL

Similar to the previous year, the team was given an opportunity to visit the Underwriters Laboratories facility in Camas, Washington. On their trip, they were able to give a presentation as well as present our robot. The presentation consisted of information not just about the team, but also about other opportunities the visiting children could explore to be able to take part in more STEM-related activities. When the presentation concluded, the drive team took charge and presented the robot. The kids were able to drive the robot while the others waited. Those kids waiting instead were able to play with the merge cube and ask more questions. Overall, the event was very successful in attracting the attention of children and reaching out to the community.

Repair Cafe - Cascade Park Public Library

In order to prepare our materials, Coach Michelle arrived before the other members began to show up. The table was set up in a presentable manner while other members prepared the robot. The team did face some obstacles with the table, including the lack of a tri-fold board after it mysteriously disappeared at another OutReach event. There were not many people at the event, however, the team was able to direct traffic towards our presentation. Many of the younger children were drawn in by the robot and presentation, enjoying the time spent driving our robot around. With the adults, the team was able to pique their interest simply by talking to our team and by our provision of information surrounding Union Robotics. Throughout our presentation, we attracted the attention of Todd Yuzuriha, who is a school board and library board member. Our team quickly became a hit in the repair room, attracting kids and adults alike. As the event wrapped up, the team gathered our materials and packed. We placed all of the materials in Coach Michelle’s car before heading out to enjoy a game of ping pong.

Shahala Middle School Demo

The team was invited over by Mr. Warner to be able to do an demonstration about robotics for his book club since that month theme was robotics. At Shahala the school ended earlier than Union so the team had to be excused from school in order to come over. The team walked over there and quickly set everything up. The students quickly settled at the tables and patiently waited for us to start. The presentation was given and the students there were enthusiastic about what was going to happen next. An explanation was given on how to use the spheros before the group headed out to the field. On the field they were able to mess around with the robot or try to program for it.

Women in STEM Event

This event was intended to engage girls of all school ages, many coming from local elementary and middle schools, and get them involved in STEM related activities and careers. With multiple tables and presentations from several local companies and organizations, Women in STEM allowed us to reach out to local children and teach them about robotics and our organization. Our robot Arki was set up at the very front of the event, along with our table and presentation, and we’d taught the passerby the basic controls before letting them attempt to drive the robot and lift the blocks. Additionally, we set up a trifold board, drawing students in and present about Union Robotics and our FTC team as a whole to the many who were interested. In addition to the table and presentation setup, we hosted a workshop with Spheros, and we taught girls how to code Sphero basics and how to problem solve when it came to Spheros. They had fun coding and controlling the robots, and they were excited to have a chance to learn with Spheros. Overall, this event was a great learning experience for the visiting students, and allowed us to conduct outreach across to girls and parents of many ages.

Geared Up! Orientation

This event was created in order to accommodate the incoming members. Our team quickly planned the event in a matter of days as well as in the time allotted in the meeting before the event. The attendees made their way to their seats before the team gave a introduction. This presentation included information about FIRST, our club, our team, and STEM classes. Afterwards, the attendees were able to participate in robotics-related activities.

Tutors For Technology Camp

As a team we wanted to provide a resource for children of all ages and backgrounds to experience the STEM field by using high tech parts. This camp was able to reach out to four schools in our district and opened it for all students in grades 5th-7th. Although we made it in a such limited time we were able to get 18 students to sign up! We were able to do this with the help of Ms. Astel, a STEM leader from one of the school’s we reached out to, who came and gave us advice. Caroline proposed ideas for the camp. As a result of this we were able to developed a one day free camp called Tutors for Technology that included two main activities: a build based activity and one involving programming. The building activity was to create a wheelbase in 45 minutes using the basket of tetrix parts and tools provided with the goal of traveling the farthest distance down a ramp. The programming activity was to learn basic block programming to code spheros and successfully complete the obstacle course designed on our FTC field.

Mean Machine WorkShop

The team was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to visit our local FRC team, Mean Machine Team #2471. We were given a tour of their workshop and their closet in which we were overwhelmed by the amount of space they had and their sheer number of parts. The team is extremely organized with their materials and members. Their forty plus members are able to consistently show up to their daily practices and when a task needs to be completed it is added onto the whiteboards in which members can sign up. In the beginning of their meetings they would go around the room and share the status of their projects before they can continue working on anything else. Learning their techniques we were able to see some strategies we could apply with our team. We were surprised that our new design process we started using this year is something similar to the one they have been consistently using for their build. They were able to demonstrate how to use their saw which is able to cut aluminum parts. We were able to talk to a former Dean’s List winner who was able to give us some advice for our Dean’s List candidates.

Scrimmage with Steel Hearts

Our team was able to gain the Steel Hearts’ contact information at the first league competition and since then, we have continuously emailed each other back and forth to determine how this event will that place. Sadly, during the event, the both of our teams were unable to have a practice match, but instead, we worked to help each other out. Steel Hearts was having difficulties in strafing in their robot. This was their first year using mecanum, so there were a couple kinks in their code. One of our mentors and a programmer came to guide them through this challenge. They also didn’t know how to even begin coding for autonomous so one of our programmers also came and explained how our autonomous works. Additionally, they wanted some advice for their engineering notebook. We were able to help them out a lot.

Clark County Fair

This wonderful opportunity was given to us by 4 H FTC team. The openness of the fair, combined with the large influx of people, allowed for a plethora of people to come and visit us. We held our booth in the technology section of the fair, where we were able to show off our robot to people passing by. Although the traffic at the event wasn’t too heavy through the eight-hour showcase, we were still able to receive frequent visitors. Throughout our presentation, we made sure that we kept one of the main principles of FIRST: “gracious professionalism”. Another FTC team was having difficulties with their robot, so one of our mentors along with many of our team members went and assisted them. In the end, their robot was able to drive again.

FIRST Washington & Evergreen School District

In May 2017, Geared Reaction had the opportunity to share their FIRST experience with some very special guests - the President of FIRST Washington along with the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent and CTE Director of Evergreen School District. The discussion resulted in a very positive show of support for robotics within the school district.

Freshman FIRST

We held a separate event which was dedicated to the students who were interested in the robotics club. The members welcomed and greeted all of the freshman interested in joining us the next year. There was a brief presentation followed by food and field games. Roughly 15 students came to this 2-3 hours event.

STEM Night at Fisher’s Landing

Last spring, a few members on the FTC team made an appearance at Fisher’s Landing Elementary School for the STEM Night. This was an event focusing on garnering the interest of kids ages five to ten who had an interest in the STEM field. We quickly became one of the main attractions that night, during the three-hour event. Subsequently, during the event, our presentation had to be given roughly every ten to fifteen minutes. These presentations were created for casual passerby but aside from these displays, there were demonstrations of our robot. These demonstrations allowed the parents and students to gain a heightened understanding of our robot’s functions. Within these exhibitions, a couple of students were allowed to test the robot in our miniature field setup.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Take Your Child to Work Day

After last season ended Underwriters Laboratories’ gave us the opportunity to come and take part of Take Your Child to Work Day at their Camas, WA facility. There, we were able to show off our robot to the kids, as well as letting some of them drive the robot. In addition to showing off the robot, we gave a brief presentation about FIRST and how the robotics program functions. UL being a safety company allowed us to work with their employees to share some of our safety strategies.