Among the spectators soaking in all the happenings at the this week in downtown St. Louis will be members of a robotics team from Wildwood. Calling themselves , they enjoyed preparing and this year, as reported in Eureka-Wildwood Patch.
"We are looking forward to watching the final matches of the robot competitions. We are not competing, but our team is hosting a team from the Netherlands (Team W.I.T.!)," said Ron Colletti, an adult leader of the Phantoms team and Wildwood resident. "We are going to visit with Team W.I.T.! and cheer them on at the competition."
Colletti said Wildwood team members e-mailed back and forth with the W.I.T.! team members for the past few weeks, talking about St. Louis and the FIRST World Festival. "We even dropped off a box of goodies to their hotel Sunday."
The Phantoms participated in a FIRST Lego League "friendship event" Tuesday at the Science Center. It is an invitation-only event for the hosting FLL teams and the international FLL teams, Colletti said.
The rest of the international robotics contest will be held at the Edward Jones Dome at America's Center Thursday through Saturday. Events are free and open to the public.
Colletti said he plans to be at the FIRST event for a few hours on Thursday and Friday, at a large area for company exhibits where information about robotics will be available. "The Boy Scouts of America just announced a new robotics merit badge, and I will be helping out with the their display booth," he said, as he is a scout leader and robotics merit badge counselor.
Info about the Boy Scout's new robotics merit badge can be found online.
The Phantoms team last competed in Jefferson City March 3 in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Capital Invitational. Teams from St. Louis and Kansas City arrived with their robots and project posters to the Capitol Rotunda for the robotics competition, and to meet with legislators to promote the value of science and technology. It was METS (Math, Engineering, Technology and Science) Week.
The Phantoms team came in fifth place out of the 14 teams present.
Colletti said they met with Missouri Senator Brian Nieves (R-98) and Missouri House of Representative Tim Jones (R-89). Nieves stopped by the team's table, and asked the students questions about their project and robot. "He was particularly interested in finding out information about FLL for his son," said Colletti.
Jones invited the team up to his office for a discussion about their project. He then escorted them into the Missouri House to watch as they debated the minimum wage bill, said Colletti.
"The team really enjoyed watching this. They had a lot of fun at the competition, and were able to highlight to the Missouri legislators the value of Science and Technology through programs, such as FIRST," said Coletti.