Letters to the editor for Thursday, May 4, 2017
Diversity of youth programs asset to community
I am writing in response to the “Making the Grade” article (April 28, page A1).
First, I would like to congratulate Carson Middle School on the creation of its Maker’s Club. As a former FIRST LEGO League coach and the current Northern Nevada FLL Coordinator, however, I feel I would be remiss if I failed to comment on a statement in the article regarding the requirement of FIRST robotics teams to “follow a set of guidelines.” Though perhaps not intentionally, this statement seemed to be made with a negative tone — used to emphasize the positives of the Maker’s Club via FLL as a flawed foil.
I confirm that FIRST does have guidelines for all levels of its robotics programs; I believe the creators of the program see this as a feature, not a flaw.
FIRST is focused on trying to simulate a real-world engineering project experience, which by definition requires rules and limitations to make it realistic.
That said, I am confident Maker’s Club has its own focus and offers its own benefits. I am grateful for the many programs available to the youth in our community: Maker’s Club, FIRST, 4-H, Boy Scouts, sports and much more. All of the kids on my team are involved in other activities, and I would never try to convince them — or the community — FIRST is the “best” program or the only program worthy of their time.
Each program has something to offer our community, and we need variety to engage every child. Let us value the differences and appreciate the benefits these programs bring to our community.