Over the past six years, New York City FIRST LEGO League has grown tremendously. In 2001, in partnership with Polytechnic University, we started with a citywide event including 25 teams packed into a gym at New York City College of Technology. Last year we had our largest season ever with 191 teams from across the City registered to be part of the 2006-07 FLL Nano Quest Challenge.
With success come new challenges. One of the challenges we face is how to accommodate all the NYC FLL teams that want to participate. Many of you will recall that a few years ago we instituted a second NYC FLL Championship Tournament at Riverbank State Park in order to accommodate the growing number of teams from the City. These two events gave us the capacity to accommodate up to 160 teams. Our projections indicate that we need to accommodate many more teams in the 2007-08 season. Therefore, we are instituting a number of significant changes in our tournament structure. Below are highlights of what we have planned:
• Up to five qualifying tournaments will be held around the five boroughs during the month of December, 2007. Each qualifying tournament will include the same scoring and the full set of technical and research judging, robot competition, and other FLL awards as teams have experienced in the past at the NYC FLL
Championship Tournament. These qualifying tournaments will have the same level of engagement, excitement and high standards that teams experience at FLL tournaments worldwide.
• On average, each of the five qualifying tournaments will accommodate 50 NYC FLL teams, enabling the participation of 250 teams from across the City. As in years past, a small registration fee will be charged by the organizers of the qualifying tournaments to help pay for these events.
• There will be only a one-day New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship held at Riverbank State Park in January, 2008, instead of two. This tournament will accommodate up to 80 teams.
• In order to participate at the 2008 New York City FIRST LEGO League Championship, teams must qualify at one of the five qualifying tournaments. The criteria for qualification will be announced shortly.
• The Champions Award winner from the NYC FLL Championship will be eligible to receive an invitation for the FLL World Festival at the Georgia Dome based on criteria set by FIRST Lego League headquarters in Manchester, NH.
• In the event that our fundraising efforts fall short, it may be necessary to charge a registration fee for the NYC FLL Championship. We will do everything we can to avoid such a measure and will give teams as much advance notice as possible in the event that a fee has to be charged.
Our goal is to make a quality FLL experience possible for every team that registers. We appreciate all the enthusiasm and hard work that teams and their teachercoaches put into the experience. The NYC FLL Planning Committee, those wonderful volunteers who make FLL possible in the City, have thought long and hard about the best way to address the challenges brought about by the growing popularity of FLL.
For those of you out there who want to help grow FLL events across the City please step forward. Give us a hand to make the FIRST celebration possible for even more students and help our City’s kids prepare to face their futures with greater confidence, competence and ability.
If you would like to get involved, please let us know by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Sharfshteyn, Chairperson
NYC FIRST LEGO League Planning Committee