Pictured above from left to right are Luke Roberson, Kaden Brown, Teresa Mertens, Cliff Barley, Kalyn Mertens, Hayden Riley, Pat Weller, Ken Miller and Anneliese Clauson.

Members of the Northwest MO Bots and their mentors visited the Ariens Company in Auburn, Nebraska, on June 22, 2017, to receive a donation of robotics equipment.  The members were joined by Senior Director of Operations Pat Weller and Cliff Barley, Director of Operations for the Ariens Company, who were on hand to give away the materials to get started with this season’s “FIRST Tech Challenge.”  The donation included a “FIRST Tech Challenge” kit as well as controllers, remotes, and phones to use in the programming and communication with the robot. This year’s theme is “Relic Recovery.”
“When I talked to Dan Ariens and told him about our relationship with these young folks he didn’t hesitate,” said Cliff Barley. “We’re building the future here in these kids, and with employees who come from Rock Port it’s nice to follow what these kids do with pride.”  The Ariens Company has worked with Rock Port youth for several years with robotics, helping to design and donate metal trinkets and yard art for fundraising.  In addition members of the group have worked with engineers from Ariens in tackling some of the finer aspects of programming.
Northwest MO Bots team consists of 6 members from ages 12-16 and their mentors.  Members include Anneliese Clauson, Luke Roberson, Caden Brown, Hayden Riley, Kalyn Mertens, and Zachary Clauson.  They are mentored by Ken Miller, Teresa Mertens, Lana Roberson, and Sandi Riley.   The team will have builder members and programmer members who will design, build, program and test their robot.  The team will then travel to competitions where they will put their robot, programming, and driving skills to the test against other youth teams.  The robot will have certain actions it needs to perform on its own, as well as with drivers who will control the robot by remote.  These actions include items such as picking up objects and placing them in baskets, climbing inclines, identifying colors and pressing buttons.  Successful completion of these tasks will earn points for the team, as well as advantages to be used later in the rounds. “Seeing what all the teams come up with is so exciting,” said Anneliese Clauson, 12 who has this year moved up from the LEGO league.
Northwest MO Bots is also always seeking support to help offset expenses associated with the team.  “We are registered as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit, so donations can be deductible,” said Ken Miller, mentor.  For more information on the FIRST challenges visit https://www.firstinspires.org/ or to donate to the Northwest MO Bots contact Ken Miller at (660) 744-2818.