In Muskegon we're very fortunate to have a skilled workset to be able to help foster the imagination as well as the future of our younger people. There can be no argument made that the future of S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) are going to be vital in every way. We come from a rich and long history of those who imagine solutions and those who take what's imagined and make it a reality. So, to have an area FILLED with incredible teams at our area schools that participate in the First Robotics Competitions yearly isn't really a surprise. Many of our local schools are equipped with the program, however some are not and for those schools, there's an independent team which we've been a part of for a while now, the MARS 4004 Rovers.
The MARS Rovers are a team made up of members from area schools who might not have a team themselves, or maybe on occasion they do, but the draw to be a part of MARS is strong thanks to family or friends. The MARS team operates out of the offices of Pribusin INC on Marquette Ave in Muskegon under the direction of Michael Gerstweiler and his fellow technical wizards from around town. The students come in from area schools to form the team and they are coached as they would be at school. They have the opportunity for hands on learning. They are taught in a way that makes learning fun and almost secondary to the activities they are participating in and they learn skills that help them work on problem solving, working as a team, managing pressure and deadlines and then how to compete in a friendly and supportive way. It's an absolutely awesome endeavor and we've loved being a part of just covering it for almost 4 years now. Almost.
In 2020 as the big competition was being set up at Orchard View High School here in town. Along came the news that no one wanted. The shut down. They had almost completed the setup of the incredible layout of the competition which had a Star Wars theme. The level of disappointment for the teams, schools, kids, parents and even us who were set to broadcast the entire event again was crushing. All of the work gone and the energy spent was for naught as far as the competition goes, but....luckily the learning up to the event still took place, so for the young people, they didn't walk away without anything. They still learned a lot of life's most valuable lessons, including having to let go of what you can't control. It sucked, but it's how it happened.
Let's flash forward. Things are a little better now, and the are teams are rebuilding. Yes, it's going to be nearly a rebuild from the ground up for the MARS Rovers as most of the team we got to know has graduated and moved on. Sure, by moved on we mean to places like Microsoft and MIT, but none the less, it's time to reboot and rebuild at the MARS facility in the non descript building on Marquette Street in Muskegon and Michael himself shares some thoughts and ideas on how your child can be a part of this incredible educational opportunity, and team building exercise. Take a listen.
We're strong believers in giving kids every chance to learn and grow where we can. We walk the walk too. While we might not be robotics wizards (except maybe Derek who can do anything) we have young people here working and learning as they go. Being able to show tomorrows talent the ropes and provide a lifetime of real working world knowledge is so incredibly beneficial and we're happy to share ours as are the leaders of the MARS Rovers! If you have a kid that wants to participate, the door is open! Get a hold of Michael through the link below and let's get them learning and competing in the exciting world of STEM and making Muskegon proud on a local, state and national level.