YETI Robotics is a community-based student group that has worked hard to compete in an international robotics championship, but they need financial help to make the trip.
In March, the team competed in Raleigh and earned the honor of competing in the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition National Championship in St. Louis April 22-25. It will compete with other teams from around the globe.
FIRST is an acronym – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – and its mission is to inspire young people to be leaders in science and technology and learn life skills through exploration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
YETI Robotics team members range in age from 14 to 18 and they attend various public, private and charter high schools in the Charlotte area. A few members are home schooled.
Thirty-one team members meet weekly to work on their robot at Central Piedmont Community College. A group of adult mentors work with the team members.
Lia Schwinghammer is the co-founding lead mentor for the YETI Robotics team in Charlotte. She has been working with the team for five years.
“Six hundred teams from around the world will compete in St. Louis and there are numerous awards that teams can win,” Schwinghammer said. “If we win, we become a ‘Hall of Fame’ team, which means we will always be invited back to attend and compete.”
There are four levels of competition based on age. The Charlotte team will compete on the high school level. It will compete in the robot competition and make a presentation to a panel of judges for the Chairman’s Award.
The Chairman’s Award competition also requires the YETI team to write an essay explaining why it should win, produce a video and put it on YouTube for the judges.
For the recycle-themed “Recycle Rush” robot competition, the team created a 6-foot-tall robot called “FrostByte.”
The robot’s large front claw is capable of picking up a 55-gallon recycle bin and the robot can also store two additional bins on its rear side.
In order for the students and six mentors to make the trip to St. Louis, they need donations to help cover tournament registration, a chartered bus, hotel and food. They set a goal to raise $20,000, and they need $9,000 to reach that goal by April 22.
Donations can be made on the group’s fundraising website, www.yetisetgo.org.
Yeti Robotics is associated with the Queen City Robotics Alliance. All donations are tax-deductible and receipts can be provided for tax purposes.
Charlene Price-Patterson is a freelance writer for City News. Have a story idea for Charlene? Email her at CPPCityNews@gmail.com.