a) When our team started, we had no materials, no equipment, a cramped work space, and little knowledge of competitive robotics. Our robot was “makeshift,” an improvisation that suits a sudden need: a cobbling together of what we had and what we knew along with a whole lot of effort and enthusiasm. The inventor of duct tape and MacGyver are our two biggest heroes. Since that wonderful rookie season we have expanded our inventory, our tool box, our work space, our knowledge, and our imprint on our community but we still keep the motto “live within your means and then work really hard to expand your resources “
b) In alignment with the ideals of FIRST, our goal is to “shift the perception of science and technology” in ourselves, our community, and our world.
In branding our team we chose not just one or two colours but, well, all the colours of the rainbow. This is meant to symbolize our “shifting the perception of science and technology” in the same way that prisms shift the spectrum of light. The text for our team number (and the Shift in MakeShift) consistently appear italicized for the same reason.
As a visual manifestation of shifting, our team starts every competition in grey, white and black. Our striped shirts, pants, pits, toolbox and robot bumpers all have the same monochrome appearance. As the event proceeds our team gradually starts changing – splashes of colour appear on our shirts or in our pits. We go through a transition phase where the grey are gradually drowned out by brighter colours. By the final day of competition we are in our full kaleidoscope of team colours.
Every year our unique striped competition shirts are sewn by one of our mentors and some helpful parents. We purchase red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet polo shirts and cut them in thirds. They are re-stitched together, and emblazoned with our team number and duct-tape logo. We do the same thing for our black/grey/whites and our transition shirts. It’s a lot of sewing.
Every one of our robots contains one piece of Lego to remind us of our FIRST Lego League roots and FLL’s Core Values
This is a tradition we carry with us from the Waterloo Regional. We know first -hand how hard it is to build a robot and a team, let alone one that is worthy of an award. As such, our team offers a standing ovation to each team award at competitions.
In 2013 MakeShift was on the receiving end of an act of supreme Gracious Professionalism. We were packing up after the Waterloo Regional where we had captained the third seed alliance to the quarterfinals. We were thrilled to have received the Judge’s Award and ended the event with an OPR (offensive power ranking) of 15th in the world. This was to be the end of the season as the team could only afford to attend one Regional event. However, based on the passion of our team members and the impressive performance of their robot, MakeShift was approached by a respected veteran team who suggested that Fling should compete at one more Regional. They even offered money to cover the significant registration cost. This was stunning and we were humbled by their encouragement and generosity. This single act turned out to be a tipping point in our team history: instead of just one competition, we ended up attending five events: Waterloo, GTR-W, World Championships, IRI, and RaChaChaRuckus. The learnings and growth we gained would have taken us numerous seasons if not for the boost we got from that team at that moment. Knowing what a difference it made to us, MakeShift established our own BOOST Award. Based on criteria including the potential we see in teams, we present our BOOST Award annually to one team at our home Regional forever. Along with a makeshift trophy, we give a gift certificate to AndyMark in the amount equal to 1% of our annual budget. We hope our BOOST leads them to great things.