York Robothon 2019 has come to a successful conclusion. This final week was packed as the teams worked to complete their tasks, for which they would be judged at the Capstone Event on Friday afternoon. So, how did it go?

The Tasks Of York Robothon

York Robothon Team working

York Robothon Team working

York Robothon participants were drawn from the Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy and the York YMCA. They were broken into three teams to complete a project for three real world clients. Team One was tasked with creating an Escape Room Puzzle for Tom of Escape Games Live. Team Two was working with Chanele, who creates and sells beauty products like body butter and face cream. Team Three was doing work for local artist Christian to have a robot assist in creating works of art.

The kids were tasked with keeping themselves working and some teams had challenges with this. 14 working days is plenty of time to work on projects such as these but the adult staff was very intentional about not being a driving force for the teams so participants would get out what they put in.

The Capstone Event

Decorative Cake

Events are always better with cake!

About 20-30 people attended the Capstone Event on Friday afternoon at Asbury UMC and Freelance York’s Dan Kemper kicked the event off with a welcome message and a slideshow to recap how the competition had gone. After that the three teams gave their presentations.

First the students gave a brief summary of their task and argument for the merits of their solution. Then that team was further questioned by the judges. Once all three teams had completed this process, the judges left to deliberate and make their ruling.

When it came down to it, the winner was evident. The judging was very close with only one point separating the winner and the 2nd place team and one point separating 2nd and 3rd. But it was clear to all which team deserved to win and everyone agreed that the judging was fair. One of the aims of York Robothon was to demonstrate the value of focus, diligence and hard work and we believe that those goals were met. We hope that those values carry on with the kids as they continue on in their education and later on after graduation as well.

Not Bad For A First Effort

This was the first of hopefully many installments of York Robothon and while the participants gained valuable knowledge and skills so to did the adults who helped. We found that a number of stakeholders overcommitted themselves and it gave the appearance of a very bootstrapped event with the least amount of instrumental help or backing.

It is impossible to overstate the value of the contributions that WERE made to York Robothon like space to work from Asbury UMC, transportation from Asbury and the YMCA, and fourteen free lunches for 9 kids and 3 adults which were provided through the YMCA. We cannot thank these groups enough for their support.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors And Volunteers

York Exponential's Dan Heckert

York Exponential’s Dan Heckert

The entire prize pool of $1,000 was provided through a joint donation by York City Government and York County Economic Alliance. Also of note were the many working hours provided free of charge by the Dans (Dan Kemper and York Exponential’s Dan Heckert) and Anthony, a robot tech from York Exponential that was on site nearly every session. Aside from their own personal time and motivation, the organizations represented sacrificed significant amounts of value for the sake of this event.

The help York Robothon DID get was enormous, and absolutely irreplaceable. But having said that, there were a number of highly valuable targets that proved impossible to hit when certain resources proved unavailable. While we regret that that was the case we recognize that this was the first time this event took place and we will work to improve it for the next time.

Of course we would also like to thank our sponsors, York Exponential, the Fortress Initiative, Freelance York, the Fortress Academy, Nicely Done Sites and the York YMCA as well as Asbury United Methodist Church for hosting us. This would not have been possible without any of these groups.

See You In 2020!

With all of that said, we hope to take the experience from 2019 York Robothon and make 2020 York Robothon even better. We started planning for 2020 as soon as we walked out of Asbury UMC on Friday evening. We’ll see you next summer!

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