When will the club meet?
Meetings will be held during every lunch on an ACL day once the club gets going (if you were not aware, lunch at the Academies is an hour-long). Additionally, teams are free to come in during the mornings to work, or arrange their own additional meetings out-of-school such as on weekends. The ACL VEX Robotics Club will try its best to support these teams, including helping with moving the robot out of school, with planning, etc.
Do I need experience to join?
Nope! None at all! You do not need experience in coding, robotics, or anything else at all! We will teach it to you or learn it together! Just make sure to bring a willingness and dedication to learn.
What is the cost?
The current approximate estimate for the total cost of the club for each member will be around $350** this year. Because this is our first year competing, which not only means requiring us to buy everything we need from nothing, but also which might mean more unexpected costs showing up, we will not be doing one large fee at the beginning for each member. Instead, each member will agree to pay all dues associated with the club for the year when they join, and the club will issue an amount of smaller club fees for all members as the year progresses, sort of a pay-as-we-go system.
This not only allows us to make sure we have enough money, but also prevents overcharging as compared to a one-big-fee-at-the-start system, as we will only require money for what we need as we go, not force ourselves to get a surplus amount of money at the beginning of the year to avoid running out.
Additionally, if you do consider the amount of $350 to be high, do consider that we are getting the most premium VEX Robotics kits available, the newly released V5 Competition Superkit ($1499.99). (The $390 also covers 4 regional competitions and a multitude of other things.) Furthermore, even though larger team sizes would result in lower costs for all, we have still tried to keep our teams relatively small this year (6 people) to be able to give everyone the chance to be engaged. Also, as mentioned, this is our first year competing, which means we will have to pay for everything from scratch. It should also be noted that we are much less expensive than many other robotics competitions, such as FRC, or even other local VEX teams, such as Stone Hill Middle School's, which is a team that has been running for many years but is still charging much more than we are.
** To note, the current estimate of $350 is just an estimate and is subject to change, but should however not go above $400 according to current estimates). All members will be required to agree to pay all costs prior to joining.
Is there an attendance requirement?
No, there is not. Each team will be responsible for when and how often they meet, and for the attendance of their own members (the club will provide each team with the resources they need and a location to meet everyday at lunch, and also the mornings if a request is provided beforehand).
However, while the club has no strict attendance boundaries, it should be noted that without work, nothing can be ultimately accomplished. A team's success will depend on the responsibility, commitment, and dedication of its own members.
Additionally, even though there is no attendance boundary for club lunch meetings, it is suggested that those who cannot plan to commit at least 70% or more of their ACL lunches to the club seriously reconsider joining, for reasons that they will simply not be able to be engaged enough. Of course, as a note, those who plan to run for the Academies Student Council Association should not be concerned (if that is their only lunch commitment), as SCA meetings are only roughly once every two weeks, and the ACL VEX Robotics Club will do its best to try and support involvement by its members in student government.
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