Spot Team Little MOEs

 
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There's MOE Where That Came From 

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FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 365 from Wilmington, Delaware ? more commonly known as "MOE" (Miraclez of Engineering) ? has taken their FIRST activities above and beyond the norm in an effort to inspire other children to become involved in science and technology.

Since 2001, "MOE" has conducted a sponsorship program to encourage the start of new FIRST LEGO League teams ? or "Little MOE" teams ? in Delaware and surrounding states.

LittleMoe Image 1"The purpose was simple," says Louis Rosanio, "MOE" Team Leader and First State, FIRST LEGO League, and FIRST Tech Challenge event director. "Our goal was to spread the FIRST word and to help jump start FLL teams in our area."

During its first year, "MOE" provided sponsorship to three FLL teams. In 2007, that number grew to 35 teams located in four states (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland) for a total cost of $2,650. Since the sponsorship program began, a total of 150 teams have been sponsored!

One caveat of the sponsorship is that the new team must incorporate the acronym "MOE" somewhere in their team name, which makes for some very creative monikers. For example, all-MOEst-human, MOE Bigger MOE Better, In MOEtion, TerMOEnators, and MOE Joe, to name a few.

Since 2001, their influence at FIRST has made quite an impact. Rosanio remembers a call in 2004 from FRC coach Frank Larkin, who, during his annual FLL event, discovered that one-third of the teams were "Little MOE" teams.

"At that 'MOE'ment I knew that the 'MOE' sponsorship was having a positive impact," jokes Rosanio, whose "day job" is at DuPont Corporation. "The bottom line is 'MOE' helps FLL team form and spread the FIRST word."

Here’s how it works: "MOE" will financially sponsor new FLL teams by donating $100 to first-year teams and $50 to second-year teams. In addition, the teams must meet certain basic requirements:
. They must be officially registered with FIRST;
. They must reside in Delaware (all counties), northern Maryland (Cecil and Kent counties), southeastern Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Chester and Delaware counties), or south New Jersey (Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic counties);
. They must attend a FIRST LEGO League event as an official participant; and
. They must incorporate the acronym "MOE" or "M.O.E." in their officially- registered team name

LittleMOE Image 5Rosanio adds that first-year teams receive $100, while second-year teams receive $50, with no financial support offered beyond the first two years. In addition, if there is interest, Rosiano also offers a workshop for team coordinators and mentors to outline an approach to addressing the season’s FLL challenge, as well as a brainstorming session to help jump start the robot-building phase of the competition. He suggests prospective teams take a look at the First State website to review the basic parameters of the sponsorship.

Thanks to these and other efforts during the past seven years, "MOE" Team 365 won the prestigious 2007 Chairman's Award. The award honors the team that "best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. The award helps keep the central focus of the FIRST Robotics Competition on the goal of inspiring greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology."