When you need to build a lot of LEGO, call in the experts.

By- Heidi Buck

When I took on the job of being Tournament Director for both a local FLL Qualifier as well as the newly formed NorCal Capital Region Championship – I didn’t think about the fact that this was going to end up on my front porch:

FLL Challenge kits for the NorCal Capital Region's Food Factor season

The question was, just who could I ask to build all this LEGO while keeping quality control high? Obviously, it was time to call in the experts: High School FLL Alumni with tons of LEGO building experience. It takes a past FLL’er to really understand the importance of getting the models perfect. The most frustrating thing in a FLL tournament would be getting to the table and seeing something that’s not built right.

Pieces were separated by color, then sorted by type - to make the job easier.
Team members worked in pairs, with 1 person finding the pieces and another building.

After a few emails, several of our local FIRST Tech Challenge teams (who were all previously FLL teams) quickly responded with offers to help.
The Legonauts (FTC 4253, the NorCal FLL Champions in 2009) spent this past Sunday at our house, working on completing 10 of the sets! Even though it is the middle of their competition season, they took the time to help us out – and their expertise at building LEGO definitely made quick work of the job. Although doing 10 sets at once might seem daunting, with organization and a good attitude – it was amazing what a small team could accomplish in just one day. Plus – having 10 of the same missions lined up helped with quality control inspections.

With a couple of the sets going to Folsom (to be built by PHOENXTRIX FTC 3509, the 2008 Gatorobytes & 2010 M-Cubed -FLL NorCal Champions) and the remaining sets being picked up by the Antipodes (FTC 4529, the 2009 FLL 3rd Place Champions), this is one happy Tournament Director!

The Legonauts (FTC 4253 ) with their 10 sets of completed import/export stations.

FIRST is very lucky to have so many amazing young people not only involved in teams – but also volunteering their time and still happy to  ‘play with LEGO’.