By ALANA PERSSON, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — Loud cheers could be heard throughout the room as two newly created robots battled each other during the Gilford Robotics Camp. Through the noise and battles, a young girl said that she was having a great time at the camp, which seemed to be mirrored by the other children, ages 8 to 11, who were chanting excitedly for the robots they had made.
This summer marks the inaugural robotics camp for younger children in the community, and was created by a group of high school students are part of the Gilford High School FIRST Robotics team. Brad Parker, Connor Craigie, Noah Presby, Topher Weimann and Cameron White have all spent their high school years invested in robotics, and shared that they had a love for robotics since a young age. Eager to inspire youth to pursue robotics as they get older and raise money for their upcoming competition season, the boys were able to get approval from Gilford School District for the camp that would charge each student a small fee.
Although there were more people looking to be a part of the camp, the group was only able to accept 16 kids for the 2016 summer program, as they could only provide four robotics kits that would each be assigned a team of four kids. The goal of the week was to introduce to youth the opportunity to build robots, while focusing on teamwork. After creating their own robots, the kids would then battle them against each other, similiar to what is experienced at the high school level of robotics competitions.
"We hope that through this camp it makes kids want to get involved in robotics own the road," said Parker, who added he is glad he was able to be a part of the GHS robotics team and go to recent competitions.
Last year, the GHS robotics team won the FIRST district competition and moved onto the New England Regional Championship. Although last year's team did not have the opportunity to move on to nationals, they returned to Gilford with the Entrepreneurship Award and the Innovation Control Award. They look forward to another year of competition under the mentorship of Jackie and Chris Drever.
"Anyone in the area who wants to start their own robotics team but doesn't know where to start is more than welcome to contact us and we will help other teams figure out how to get started," said Jackie Drever.
The group of kids participating in the Gilford Robotics Camp cheer on homemade robots as the battle each other on Wednesday afternoon. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilford High School robotics team members and camp creators, Brad Parker, Connor Craigie and Noah Presby all said they were happy with the outcome of the camp and hope to hold it again next year. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)
The inaugural Gilford Robotics Camp is taking place this week, led by the members of the Gilford High School FIRST Robotics Team, who are hoping to inspire youth in the community to pursue robotics as they get older. (Alana Persson/Laconia Daily Sun)
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