December 8, 2016

Preseason Happenings

Well, it’s that time of the year again. No, not the holidays or winter break, although we at Nicolet FEAR are certainly looking forward to both of those. It’s time once more for the inevitable transition from preseason to build season, although this year we feel that more progress has been made than at any other year in our team’s history.

In overall news, there has been a new addition to the team’s structure. We now have a media department! It’s responsible for spreading FIRST® and Nicolet FEAR throughout the community via social media, vlogs, newsletters, and the website. Although it’s still in its infancy, the media department has done a lot already: they’ve created a FEAR version of the Mannequin Challenge (available here), revamped our website and are currently working on a promotional video for potential sponsors as well as video blogs.

We’ve also had several community outreach events since the start of preseason, each one extremely successful. First, Nicolet FEAR’s donation to the Nicolet High School Community Thanksgiving Food Drive ended up totalling 4057 cans–a new record! (Not to mention almost twenty percent of the overall contribution.) Second, we recently held an open house for our FIRST Lego League team members and their parents, which was praised as a success by our community outreach director Napsy Isahaku. Many of the students enjoyed the tour of the average working day of Nicolet FEAR and expressed their desire to join the team when they got to high school. Finally, Nicolet FEAR’s Relay for Life team is currently at seven people and counting, not to mention has raised the highest amount of money amongst the teams in the Nicolet High School community. There’s always more to be done, of course, but we’re off to a great start!

In team-related news, each department is on a roll. The electrical department is working on creating a new modular electrical system. Programming is working on updating and fixing the robots from our previous years; at the moment they’re focused on Option 8, our robot from Recycle Rush. They’re also working on a test code for pneumatics. RDM recently split into four separate groups, and each one is working on something different: one is learning to weld, one is designing a test bench, one is creating a pneumatics test bench to test pneumatics specifically, and the last one is working on chain-tensioning the test bench to reliably tension the chains. Community outreach has finished and sent out 90% of their sponsorship letters, updated their brochure, implemented a year-round contact list for potential and current sponsors, and they’ve been hard at work on practicing elevator speeches. Business has created a graphic for the kickoff T-shirt, a poster for Nicolet High School (specifically for incoming freshmen to inform them about the team), and a brochure for the community outreach department to hand out to sponsors. They’re currently working on a steampunk-themed FIRSTY (our mascot) in honor of the upcoming game. Strategy has been working on improving analytical and Excel skills, but they’ve already streamlined their prioritization process as well as created a super-design matrix. Last but not least, Special Operations has completed about 50% of the awards and their main goal is to finish all of the awards before preseason ends, which they appear to be well on track for. They’ve also designed and got approval for a new underground cave (our nickname for our storage facility)–the construction will begin in a week or so and is bound to look incredible. (Keep a lookout for upcoming photos and videos of the process!)

So even as the holidays approach, Nicolet FEAR is nowhere near slowing down production. If this keeps up, we are bound to have an extremely successful build season. 🙂

Until next time, this has been Emily Chester with your Nicolet FEAR update, signing out.