ERC (Or East Robotics Competition) is a small-scale robotics competition our team developed as part of our 2022 training program. It was developed fully by student leadership and it functions to emulate an FRC build season in a lower-stress environment which enabled newer members to be more involved and to have more hands-on experience than in a regular off-season.
What is ERC?
How does ERC work?
Our team was split into 2 sub teams which each designed their own robot to play the ERC game, which was developed by student leadership. They were provided with a budget, a kit of parts, a game manual and a reveal presentation. Leadership members acted as mentors, while 1st and 2nd year students had a chance to be in charge and have a bigger say in robot design. After around 5 weeks of building, it all culminated in an event held in December at our auditorium, which featured all the things students love about FRC: nostalgic music, team spirit gear, award, and enthusiastic announcers.
Although our team stayed active during the pandemic, there was still a big learning loss because of our limited functioning. Furthermore, we were not able to attend an off-season competition this fall, which usually exposes new members to the structure of FRC and gets them "hooked" on robotics. ERC, in addition to rigorous training, helped make up for that learning and experience loss. Not only that, it also increased our member retention rate by 30% as compared to the 2020 pre-covid season.
We hope to continue organizing ERC in the future and to expand it to reach a wider audience in North Carolina. We talked to several teams, including the Titanium Tigers and the Hedgehogs, which were interested in joining ERC. We also plan on inviting middle school students from our district to participate in order to inspire younger students to become interested in engineering. As always, our team will continue to have no barriers to entry (no fees or prerequisites, and nobody is turned away).