February Newsletter


February was a very busy month for FIRST Robotics Competition team 525, the Swartdogs.

In the midst of our busy build season, we realized the importance of taking a break and helping others. So we packaged 576 meals for the Northeast Iowa Food Bank backpack program, which provides meals for children on the weekends.

Valentine’s Day was a very busy day for our team. First, we travelled to the Iowa State Capitol where we showed legislators our robot and taught them about FIRST and the Scale Up program. Also, we met Governor Kim Reynolds and talked with her about FIRST.

Later that day, we welcomed Cub Scout Pack 4051 to our build site. We gave them a tour and taught them about our robot. The programming and mechanical groups showed them what they had been working on to create our robot.
Also on that day, we held a fundraiser at Cold Stone. We scooped ice cream and filled customer’s orders. For us, this was more than just a fundraiser, but another opportunity to spread the word of FIRST. We also displayed and explained our robot to people as they waited for their ice cream. Thank you to everyone who supported us through this event!
Corndog Classic 2018 (61)
On February 17th, we ran our annual week 0 scrimmage known as the Corn Dog Classic. This year, 13 teams from Iowa and 2 teams from Nebraska came to experience a regional event in a low stress environment. They tested their robots on a full field, went through mock robot inspections with robot inspectors, and interacted with the other teams. It was amazing to see all of the different ideas that teams came up with to solve this year’s game!
On February 19th, we demonstrated our robot and talked with John Deere employees about FIRST and FRC at John Deere’s annual Engineering Week. This event included FLL, FTC, and FRC teams from across the Cedar Valley. We talked to the employees about the opportunities that we had gained through being a part of FIRST and explained this year’s game.
Finally, on February 23, we spoke at an all school assembly at Belle Plaine High School where we introduced them to FIRST and demonstrated our robot.
Along with all of our events this month, we were also very busy at our build site as each work group prepared for our first regional competition and met our deadlines. Specifically, the mechanical group worked very hard to build the robot and get it ready before bag day: they fabricated parts, put the robot together, and worked on the practice robot. The programming group programmed the robot and wrote code for many possible autonomous combinations. The awards group finished the main and mini essays and created a presentation to present at our regional events to apply for the Chairman’s Award (recognizes teams for their work in spreading FIRST). They also made a new video highlighting our team’s accomplishments. The finance group continued to look for new sponsors and wrote an application for the Entrepreneurship Award. The 3-D printing group printed special parts for this year’s robot. The scouting group created a new app for this year’s game and created a new format for paper scouting this year.

Overall, February was filled with many unique events and experiences!

Copyright 2018 FIRST Team 525