We have come to the end of the first week of the first York Robothon. Participants from the Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy and York YMCA have been at Asbury United Methodist Church on East Market Street learning about robotics from Freelance York’s Daniel Kemper and York Exponential’s Daniel Heckert. So, as the first week comes to an end what has been going on at York Robothon?

Goals Of The First Week

The general goals of the first week were to develop a foundation of robotics using a York Exponential robot and robot tech curriculum, develop a culture of collaboration and teamwork and to also hear from the community who can be used as resources. The kids involved have had really positive attitudes and they have an eagerness to learn, which has made reaching these goals incredibly easy.

It was a wild first week as some pieces were established late but since we did not want to miss the opportunity to start the program we went with the flow. York Robothon even had some surprise media coverage when CBS21 stopped by to film a segment that was featured on the evening news on July 9. We do feel that we’ve built a solid foundation to grow on and we have overcome many of the challenges that come with running a program like this for the first time.

The Kids Are Eager

A York Robothon participant uses the robot

The kids involved feel that there is a good mix of fun and learning and they are eager to use the robot to build something useful. Participants are also eager to learn, which is made easier since everyone wants to be there and they understand that their experience is what they make it to be.

During this first week the kids have learned that technology is not just something that is consumable like with social media but instead it is also something that can be leveraged as a tool and an equalizer in their lives. They have learned about collaboration and teamwork, being resourceful and also have been introduced to computer programming and robotics fundamentals. We’re off to a great start!

Guest Speakers

Joe Hackett presenting at York Robothon

Joe Hackett presenting at York Robothon

Several guest speakers have come down to York Robothon to talk to the kids. Joe Hackett, Executive In Residence at eMarketing Learning Center at Ben Franklin Technology Partners CNP, talked about business financial basics, accessing capital and other resources for a start-up business and leveraging new technology to solve real world problems. 

Anne Gray, a human factors and computer interface design engineer, science fiction and fantasy event planner, spoke to the kids about problem solving, visualization and processing as well as human use of technology and how it fits into developing solutions. 

Also Skyler Yost, an ecosystem builder for the City of York, spoke about his position with the city, what an ecosystem is and how the kids fit into that ecosystem. Thanks for coming everyone!

Community Service

York Robothon participants doing community service picking up trash and weeding the outside of Asbury UMCAlso as a thank you to Asbury United Methodist Church for hosting York Robothon, the participants performed a little bit of community service and helped to pick up litter around the property and weed the gardens on Friday morning. The weather cooperated and we took advantage of it being a lovely day to get outside. The church is one of the most historic and beautiful structures in York City since it was built in 1895 and we hope that in some small way this shows our appreciation for their hospitality. We’d like to leave Asbury looking better than it was when we arrived!


Even We’re Learning Too

Of course the two Dans have also learned things along the way as well. They have learned how to better establish a rapport with kids in this age bracket and also about topics that are underrepresented or not represented in their education so far. Just proof that learning does not stop at graduation. 

Sponsorship Opportunities Still Exist!

York Robothon would not have been possible without the help of our sponsors: Asbury United Methodist Church, York YMCA, The Fortress Initiative, Freelance York, The Fortress Academy, York Exponential and Nicely Done Sites. Sponsorship opportunities are still available as we plan on a capstone event at the end of the program on August 2 so the kids can show off what they have learned and we want them to be able to take some cool things back to school with them. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Daniel Heckert at ([email protected]).

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