Robot tournament reflects culture of high-tech opportunity

A rare and exciting opportunity awaits this weekend in Aurora to help kids connect the dots between building robots for fun and pursuing jobs in the real world of high-tech innovation.
YETIbotics (which stands for Youth Engaged in Technology Innovation) will be hosting a robotics tournament at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Aurora-based program has hosted robot competitions before, but this year there is twist.
In addition to the robot action inside the 12x12 foot arena, which looks like a lot of fun in and of itself, participants will be learning valuable lessons about how they might make a living putting those robotic skills to use. A number of local businesses will be offering hands-on lessons on how they use innovation right here in Aurora and Hamilton County, sending a priceless, two-fold message to young folks. (See related front page article.)
First and foremost, they’ll learn that the coding, programming, problem solving and 3D design skills they are using to build their robots could open doors to rewarding, high-paying jobs. Secondly, many of those jobs, believe it or not, are available right here at home.
It may be a few years before these kids are ready to fully consider the decision of living and working in their hometown, but in a world in which rural communities often struggle to bring home their best and brightest, planting seeds now could pay huge dividends.
From a broader perspective, this weekend’s event reflects a growing culture here in Aurora. Every town likes to consider itself modern, progressive and forward-thinking. This event will demonstrate that Hamilton County is ahead of the curve in that regard.
A high-tech culture is clearly visible at the Edgerton Explorit Center, where kids are invited and encouraged to use their hands and eyes and brains to learn while playing play games and having fun. Doc Harold Edgerton’s vision to create a hands-on learning center has been sending that very message for more than 20 years.
And now Aurora is home to not just one or two, but three robot programs offering high-tech, hands-on learning to young kids from elementary school up through their high school years. That’s amazing. Again, it sends a very strong message to young people to see the community and adult volunteers embracing and supporting tech-based educational initiatives.
We tip our hat to all those who have worked and volunteered in various ways to create this high-tech culture and encourage one and all to venture out to the fairgrounds Saturday to see what the future looks like.
Kurt Johnson

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)