Info for New RoboParents

Dear White Hill Robotics Club Parents:

You’ve heard of Soccer Moms and Sports Dads, welcome to the world of RoboParents! Last year was intense, with moments of frustration followed by eureka moments, moments of despair followed by the exhilaration of success. The kids went through a journey together, and came out the other side with self confidence, respect for each other and as close friends.

Our kids will be challenged to do a lot of thinking, planning, and cooperating as they work toward achieving their Robotics Club goals. As their parents, our main job is to encourage and support them, and listen as they go on and on about builds, mods and runs (even when we don’t entirely understand what they’re talking about…) but there are also opportunities for you to be more involved, and some key dates, events and other information you should know.

The FLL tournaments are comprised of not only the robotics (which everyone can watch), but also three closed door presentations to the judges, one on the Robot design, another on Core Values and the last on the Project. As part of the Project, the team will research Senior Solutions, come up with an innovative solution to help with any one area that will help Seniors be independent longer.

There’s a lot of work involved in the project. We will have 3 teams of up to 10 kids participating. Each team will have a coach. Although the kids will be working every morning before school, there is a lot involved, and at the coaches’ discretion, they may choose to help the kids over the weekends as well. Weekend and after school meetings are not mandatory, but for many of the kids that’s the most fun part.

After school meetings and weekend meetings are when students have a chance to go on field trips for their research projects and to further complete a mission with their robot.


These are mandatory for all kids

Qualifying Round for FLL Competition

Date: Saturday or Sunday in early November Time: all day event (hours TBC) Location: TBC (Last year it was in Vacaville)

Cost: Approx $40 (see details below)

There will be a qualifying round for the Regional Championship in early November. We believe the dates will be announced after labor day – stay tuned!

The qualifying round is a one-day event, usually held on a Saturday in Vacaville or the Sacramento area. Parents are encouraged to attend the competition to provide cheers and support for their team!

FLL Northern California Regional Championship

Date: Mid-February/Early March

Location: Sacramento area

Fees: TBC

Teams that qualify in November are invited to compete at the FLL Northern California Regional Championship. Last year all three teams from White Hill qualified.

This is an all day event (Saturday 7:00am-7:00pm) and parents are strongly encouraged to attend with their children (many even wear the team T-shirt too!) It is an amazing and inspiring day.

Many families chose to drive to Sacramento on Friday evening and spend the night. There are many budget-priced hotels and motels in the area.

Field Trips

Your child’s team will participate in two field trips before the first competition in November:

1) A visit to a Senior living community/facility

2) A visit to a professional who is working to meet the needs of Seniors

These are generally after school, with transportation arranged by carpool among the parents of the team members. Contact Nate or your child’s team’s coach if you’d like to help plan the field trip.


White Hill Robotics is a free program supported by the YES Foundation. The club, events and competition are open to all White Hill Students regardless of their ability to pay.

Incidental expenses may include:

  • Contributions for pizza for Saturday meetings – approx $5 per meeting
  • Entry fees for competitions: Approx $10
  • T-shirts for team competitions – Approx $10-$15
  • Supplies for team projects and presentations, including costumes, props, presentation boards, and decorations for the table. – Approx $15-$20
  • If you choose to stay in Sacramento the night before the tournament, you can expect accommodations and meals to cost approx $125-$150

Please contact Nate if any of these expenses are concerning for your family.

Time Commitment and Volunteering

Most of the team’s work will be completed in the pre-period class. There may be occasional, optional Saturday and after-school meetings called by your child’s team coach. Parents are encouraged to volunteer and help the coaches prepare the kids for the competitions.

Volunteering jobs include:

  • Supervising Saturday and after-school meetings
  • Providing snacks and drinks for the after hours meetings.
  • Driving to field trips and competitions Organizing and researching field trips Organizing, designing and purchasing or creating team T-shirts
  • Helping gather, make, and purchase props and supplies for presentations
  • Organizing team giveaways. Most teams give away small items on the day of the tournament – similar to what you’d see given away at a trade shows, street fair, etc. They can be purchased or made.
  • Helping transporting the practice tables to the tournaments (anyone got a big truck?)
  • Each team needs to offer 1 volunteer to help out during the tournament. This can be set-up, clean-up, check-in, etc – there are many jobs that will be posted closer to the tournament date.

Even if you don’t have time to volunteer, you can help your child and his team by:

  • Asking about the team’s project and his/her ideas for how to solve the team’s challenges
  • Discussing the needs of Seniors
  • Emphasize that your child’s contributions to the team are important, and that the work and assignments would be taken as seriously as any other homework
  • Encouraging your child to talk to the Seniors in his/her family about their needs and challenges

We’re here for you!

Robotics Club will be exciting and rewarding for your child, and your whole family. Don’t hesitate to contact Nate or one of us if you have any questions, concerns or ideas about how we can make Robotics Club a great experience for you!

– Lara and Carol

Lara Starr (Max’s mom)

Carol Maley (Nick’s mom)

One More Note: We move with the kids. These are our expectations based on last year, but things may change, and we’re always open to suggestions and new energy from the parents. We’d love your input!