My name is Evelien. I am 12 years old. I live in Enschede, in the Netherlands. On June 2, 3 and 4 I was the first ever head of the junior judges on the Open European Championships of the FIRST® LEGO® League in Delft.

In February I was with my dad at the Dutch finals of the FIRST LEGO League in Kerkrade. When I was introduced to Jelle de Jong, director of STP, the organizing committee of FIRST LEGO League in the Netherlands I asked him why there was no children’s jury on a event especially for kids. Jelle couldn’t answer my question, and asked me to observe the tournament and come up with ideas for a junior jury.
In April Jelle and Marian Kat, who is the head of the jury of the FIRST LEGO League, came to my house and we discussed my plans for a junior jury. We came with the idea of the “Friendship Award” where teams could give special LEGO bricks to other teams as a reward for sportsmanship and friendship. Junior judges could also award these special LEGO bricks for teams that cooperated well and showed great spirit in the competition.

When I arrived in Delft, I met all the other judges and also my fellow junior judges. There was a judges meeting and I had to tell all these judges of my plans for the junior jury. I was really nervous; I never spoke in English for a audience. Luckily Marian helped me there. In the evening there was a VIP-dinner and I was invited! I met all kind of people involved in the FIRST LEGO League and listened to Woodie Flowers’ speech on Gracious Professionalism.

The next morning the FLL OEC tournament started. The junior judges where divided in couples (I was with Martine) and we started observing and interviewing the teams. That day I was followed by a team of the “Jeugdjournaal”. I was interviewed and I had to tell them all about the tournament and the junior judges. That night I was on national television. Also some newspapers interviewed me and the next morning a great article was in the paper.

It was great fun talking to so many kids my age from so many (32!!) countries. The next day Martine and I visited the teams that the other junior judges favored, and so we came up with a top 3 for the junior judges award. On Sunday the award ceremony started and I had to present the award to the winners: Step up from Hong Kong. I had to speak in front of an even larger audience!

It was a great tournament and I enjoyed every moment of it. I met lovely people from over the whole world and my invention of the junior judges was a great success! But certainly not only my success, without my fellow junior judges and the help from Marjan and Jelle there was no junior jury. I thank them: THANK YOU!!

I hope that junior judges come to all the FLL tournaments in the world and I hope that I can be a junior Judge on the FLL World Festival in the United States next year.