This year our team working with ViaSat led the charge to create the first annual North County Kickoff with much appreciated assistance from Top Hat Technicians 4014 and the Blueprints 4486. The organization process that had started in October finally came to fruition on Kickoff, January 9th at the ViaSat headquarters in Carlsbad.
We spent the previous evening setting everything up and making sure our conference rooms were ready to go. On the day of Kickoff, the teams arrived at ViaSat before the sun had breached the horizon. Luckily, we were awakened with donuts, coffee and hot chocolate. Then our team was split into respective groups to help run the event including registration, hospitality, concessions, and AV. Everyone worked together to make the day great.
The 16 teams that arrived for Kickoff were split into two big conference rooms where they mingled and waited in anticipation for the release of this year’s game. The MCs pumped up the crowd with a pop culture trivia game and prizes. Finally, the moment came. The game release video was livestreamed on four large screens in each conference room. We were all stoked about the many Monty Python references and groaned at every second more we had to wait for the actual game to be revealed. When FIRST Stronghold was unveiled before our eyes, everyone’s imaginations burst with possible strategies and robot designs for the challenging season to come. After the video we got to view a fully built half field of this year’s game before everyone started headed back to their team headquarters to come up with their new competition robots.
The North Country Kickoff allowed teams in our area an alternative to driving down to San Diego simply to pick up their kit of parts. Since this Kickoff was with fewer teams more people from each were able to come and share the excitement of watching the game release video and seeing a built half field. This Kickoff event allowed more people to participate in the excitement of FIRST. Most of all, North Country teams can say they have a Kickoff to call their own.
A big thanks to our mentors Stephen des Jardins and Dan Stritch and, of course, ViaSat which made all of this possible.