I started Hunterdon County's first 4-H robotics club, and I was the club's first President.
As a seventh grader, after extreme disappointment over my school's Lego Mindstorms NXT robotics club folding, I decided to take matters into my own hands and start my own club. I learned about 4-H, but that Hunterdon County's 4-H did not have a robotics club. So I started one, in the spring of 2011. We started with six members and grew to twenty over two years. I was so happy to meet other kids with similar interests! We were soon turning people away. We have had thirty-one different members over our 4-1/2 years.
I was elected President for our first full year, when I was in eighth grade. I ran our meetings and helped the club decide on projects. For our first year's community service project, we all brought our robots to a local assisted living home, and we presented them to the residents. They loved us! As the club grew, I mentored some of the younger members. As Corresponding Secretary for the club's second year, I learned HTML in high school and decided to build a club web site. I also taught an HTML class to my clubmates.
By this time, Robostorm had taken on a life of its own. We had more parents who agreed to become leaders, and who brought their technical experience to the club. After our first two years focusing on the Lego NXT platform, we were being introduced to the Arduino microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi computer, mechanical design, programming, and wiring and soldering. These influences put me on a new trajectory as a sophomore. The substance, sophistication, and complexity of the projects I took on were at a new level. In the "Projects" section of this site, please read about some of the projects I have worked on in the club.
Every year since I started Robostorm, I have spent a portion of my summer preparing for and participating in the 5-day exhibition at the Hunterdon County 4-H Fair. During the fair my club and I demonstrate our various robotics and technology projects to the community, which we have prepared in the months prior. Some of my best projects were prepared for the 4-H fair.
Looking back I am amazed at what Robostorm has become, and that it would not have existed, if I just walked away from the news of no robotics in seventh grade. I feel that the influence and impact of this experience on all of the club members and families has been significant. The club still thrives. It has provided a place for technology-minded children across the county to find friends and to experiment and explore interesting technology-oriented projects.