Robotics starts with coach training

The FIRST LEGO League season is kicking off now that school is back in session.

FLL is a team engineering and science program for kids ages 9-14 that culminates in an international robotics tournament. The first competitions that local teams participate in are the Columbia Gorge FLL Qualifying Tournaments in December.

This year’s theme is “Nature’s Fury,” with research and robotics activities focused on solving problems related to natural disasters. Team registration is in progress and will close likely in mid-September — sign up as soon as possible!

Special scholarship opportunities will again be offered for teams registered through schools in Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Skamania and Klickitat counties, thanks to generous support from Google-The Dalles’ Data Center.

Parents who are looking to get their students signed up for a team are encouraged to first ask whether their school has a team. Coaches for new teams or teams receiving a scholarship are required to attend a free training in Hood River on Saturday, Sept 21, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the OSU Extension Office (2990 Experiment Station Drive). This class teaches about the FLL tournament and the robot used.

Planning for the Gorge’s FLL qualifying tournaments is also already in the works. Tentative dates and locations are Dec. 7-8 at The Dalles Middle School and Dec. 14-15 at Wy’east Middle School. Volunteers are needed; one-day or multi-day volunteer options are available in this fun way to give back to the community.

For more information about all of the above, visit or contact Jessica Metta at 541-296-2266.

Gorge robotics activities, the website and the FLL qualifying tournaments are supported regionally by the Gorge Technology Alliance, a nonprofit professional organization that seeks to support, connect and develop the technology community of the Gorge. Learn more at

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