Douglas County students prepare to host the world during international robotic event
DENVER – In a couple weeks, about 400 kids from around the world will be arriving in Colorado to compete and collaborate with Douglas County students, during the first International Robot Olympiad to be held in this hemisphere.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to host this for the first time ever in the United States, or in the Americas for that matter,” said Randy Menzer, the executive director of Douglas County-based non profit Ameribotics.
Hosting the Olympiad, a science, technology and education event, is quite a feat for a group that only debuted the first U.S. team two years ago. In 2011, six students, all from Douglas County, traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia. Last year, eight students went to South Korea and two of our girls brought home silver medals.
Following a series of robot camps, hosted by Ameribotics, the American team has now grown to about 30 students. Most of the team is still from Douglas County.
“I’m very proud of our kids and the teachers and parents that have supported us,” Menzer said. “This has been a serious journey.”
Kids from around the world will join them for the event, which will be held over four days at the Colorado Convention Center, beginning December 16.
“We’ve got teams coming in from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and South Korea,” Menzer said.
A big part of the event will be introducing students to American, and specifically Colorado culture. In addition to having the opportunity to explore downtown Denver and venture into the mountains on the Winter Park Ski Train, the opening ceremonies will feature a Native American color guard and the Olympiad’s theme will tie to our state’s largest industry—agriculture.
As you can imagine the logistics for the event are overwhelming.
During the four-day event, students will participate in 16 events aimed at offering young kids an opportunity to expand their horizons by designing and building robot models and experiencing the robot world.
“It goes from very low key, kind of a science fair environment, all the way to some very competitive, action-packed games,” Menzer said. “There are a lot of people assisting with it. We have a great all-volunteer organizing committee from the Denver area.”
Unfortunately, in addition to the stress of pulling the event together, the organizers are also dealing with a new development. Two major international sponsors have been forced to pull their support due to the impact of global economic problems.
“It’s been a scramble to make up for that shortfall,” admitted Menzer.
Ameribotics is accepting financial donations, as well as volunteers for the event. Plus, they’ve pulled together a raffle to raise some of the money. In fact, Menzer and his wife donated the grand prize, a 1967 Ford Mustang. Second prize is $2,000 in cash. Learn more about the raffle at: http://robot-raffle.com/
Menzer hopes that by hosting the event in Colorado, that even more students will get involved and community members will support their work. The event is free and open to the public.
“We want as many people as possible to see the event,” Menzer said.
2013 International Robot Olympiad Competition
December 16 - 19, 2013
Colorado Convention Center