We just participated in the 2017 FLL World Festival competition in Houston, Texas last week. WOW! What an amazing experience! The 2017 FIRST World Championship in Houston was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It was massive! All 401 FRC teams, practice and competition fields were on the first level. FTC, FLL and Jr. FLL were on the third level along with the Innovation Faire. There were 108 championship FLL teams represented from 35 different countries encompassing North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. It was so much fun to walk around the pit areas and see how everyone chose to decorate and represent where they're from. This year we chose to really play up a bayou theme so that other teams could see what a bayou is really like...and...also learn how to pronounce bayou. We made a lot of friends with the teams who were in our same pit row. They represented communities in Brazil, Tennessee, South Carolina, Nigeria, Texas, New Zealand and Florida. We also had a lot of fun meeting the teams from Jordan and Lebanon who made it a special point to stop by our pit and share fun experiences with us. One in particular had to do with donut holes. We were honored that Doughlicious Donuts in Hammond, LA, donated 500 delicious donut holes sprinkled in Mardi Gras colors. It really surprised us how many teams (even from the United States) had never heard of a donut hole before! Their reactions were so much fun when one person would bravely try one and then quickly get the rest of their team to join in because they tasted so good. This was also a great way to work on figuring out how to communicate with teams that didn't speak English.
There were many highlights to this year's World Festival competition. We were nominated for 2 awards. We were filmed 4 times by three different filming crews. We were able to make friends with a lot of amazing teams. One amazing highlight, though...WE MET Dean Kamen the founder of FIRST and Don Bosi the president of FIRST! They signed our nametags and our mascot Al the alligator. All in all the FIRST World Championship in Houston was an amazing, life changing, one in a million experience. This week we've been cheering on our friends competing in the 2nd Championship in St. Louis.
Some Team Reactions...
My favorite part of the trip was seeing and meeting all the new teams. It was an amazing experience for me. –Rebekah C. 13 yrs.
My favorite part of the trip was getting to experience things I never would have if it wasn’t for FLL. –Adam D. 12yrs.
My favorite part of the trip was seeing all of the different robots and how they accomplished the missions. –Holden S. 11yrs.
My favorite part of the trip was getting to see all the different cultures and how we were all working towards the same goals. –Matthew B. 13yrs.
My favorite part of the trip was seeing all the callback projects on the last day of competition. –Linus S. 11yrs.
It's really hard for me to pick a favorite part. I loved all the robots and getting to run launch 2 for our robot. I loved being a part of the presentations and seeing what other teams did. I loved getting to meet other teams and cheer them on. I'm so happy for our friends Team Phoenix from Louisiana, who got one of the Judges' Awards. - Jillian W. 8yrs.