Learn more about our YTC Robotics journey!
In 2016, we embarked on a journey to adapt and evolve alongside the changing landscape of technology. As computers became increasingly complex to repair, we made a bold decision to expand YTC beyond computers to include the fascinating world of robotics.
Under the guidance of Charlie Kilheffer, our exceptional YTC instructor at Evanston Township High School, we developed a groundbreaking ten-lesson introductory course using Arduino robotics. This course served as a gateway for students to explore the wonders of robotics and unleash their creativity.
In 2016, we wasted no time and began teaching the robotics course to students in our clubs in Evanston and Cicero. Witnessing the incredible potential of this program, we took a step further in 2018 by sending robotics kits to our partner schools in Durango, Mexico. Through the power of technology, our remarkable YTC students successfully taught these lessons to the students in Durango using Zoom.
The year 2020 brought unforeseen challenges with school closures due to the pandemic. However, Angela James, our esteemed YTC co-chair, had a brilliant idea. We launched our first-ever free virtual robotics summer camp, offering thirty students from Evanston, Cicero, and greater Chicago a unique opportunity to delve into the world of robotics from the safety of their homes.
By 2021, we had formed a remarkable partnership with Morton College, where students from the college also received training to teach the robotics course. Building on our success, we held our second free virtual robotics camp that summer. This time, we expanded our reach and included students from Morton College as instructors. The results were incredible, with over 70% of the students passing the course and progressing to working with robotic car kits!
In 2022, we set our sights even higher and extended the program to organizations across the country. The response was overwhelming, and our summer camp welcomed 83 students from nine different organizations in seven states. While our at-home students continued to excel, we learned an invaluable lesson. The right equipment, including computers and a reliable Zoom setup, was crucial for students to fully grasp the course material. Additionally, we discovered that a significant portion of our participants were younger than fifth grade, prompting us to reevaluate the course structure.
Since the 2022 summer camp, our incredible leadership team, composed of dedicated students who run the camp, has been hard at work. They have added extra material and explanations specifically tailored for younger students, ensuring that the first four lessons are accessible to even first-grade students. Furthermore, we have split the course into two parts. The first four lessons serve as an introduction, while the following six lessons, known as the robotic labs, provide hands-on experience with components and coding to achieve exciting physical results, like lighting an LED or making a servo motor work.
The YTC Robotics team is thrilled to share this journey with all of you. As we gear up for another transformative summer camp, we can't wait to inspire more young minds and foster a love for robotics and STEM education.
2023 Virtual Summer Camp Application: https://forms.gle/GyVNxDP2eZnSfYvY8