KnightKrawler has an "official" season that starts at Information Night and ends after our last competition. The last competition could be a regional in March or April, Championships (late April), or the State Tournament (mid-May).
We officially meet 11 months of the year. The mentors attempt to take a one month break for most of June. Optional meetings are typically held 1-2 days per week in the summer where students can work on special projects. These include, but are not limited to, building a new drive mechanism the team has not tried before or programming an autonomous routine. The team also does various outreach activities during the summer that students are encouraged, but not required, to attend.
We also attend two regular-season competitions in Minnesota; the Northern Lights Regional in Duluth and the Minnesota 10,000 Lakes Regional in Minneapolis. If we qualify for FIRST Championships, we take a trip to Detroit, Michigan in April. We can also qualify for the Minnesota state competition, which is in May.
While robotics is a large time commitment, it is possible to participate in other activities. Fall and Spring activities typically work best with the robotics season. Our Build Season is in January, which makes it difficult, but still possible, to do a winter sport/activity and robotics. Also, robotics meetings start later in the night, at 6:00 pm, so clubs and other activities right after school can work. If you have more questions, talk to or email our team advisor at Information Night.
No! Information Night is usually held the last week of September and new students can begin attending meetings that week. Students do not need to commit to the team until the end of October, when the first activity fee payment is due. This offers a "free trial period" to students that are unsure if they want to join our team. During this month, students play icebreaker games to get to know eachother and have the chance to rotate through our three subteams to get a feel for which one they might want to join.
Our required annual budget is usually between $50,000 and $75,000, depending on team size and if we qualify for the championship tournament in Detroit (we have the past 8 years). Most of this budget is funded by our generous sponsors, and Irondale High School pays for two of our busses to competitions. The rest is paid by our students' activity registration fee, which is $50-$100 per person. At the end of October, when students officially sign up to join the team, they can choose to pay the fee all at once or throughout the course of the year. Out-of-town competitions are not included in this fee. Those cost an additional $150-$200 each. Fees are waived for any student with free or reduced lunch.
NOTE: Irondale has an "activity cap" which allows students who are in multiple activities to only pay for one. Unfortunately, this cap does NOT apply to robotics, meaning that students will have to pay the registration fee regardless of participation in other Irondale activities.
The Parents of Knightkrawler (POK) are a huge part of our team! In addition to serving lunch at Saturday meetings during build season, our parents organize out-of-town competition travel and lodging, build the temporary field for our Week Zero practice competition, raise funds to help students with travel fees, and much more. They host meetings throughout the year to organize these events.
Want to get involved? Visit the "Parents" page for more information and join the "KnightKrawler Parents and Volunteers" Facebook page to connect with other parents and stay informed about parent meetings.
A few months before build season, mentors will hand out "point sheets" to students. These papers are used to keep track of student involvement in the team and a specific amount is required to attend competitions. Students can also recieve a Varsity Letter from Irondale for recieving 20 or more points throughout the year. Points can be earned in three categories: team (for attending competitions), outreach (for attending outreach events), and subteam (for completing a significant subteam task).