Robotics Sign Ups Begin as School Starts, Training Sept 9

The new school year brings a new crop of students itching to get their hands on a robot! One of the easiest ways to help your student find their way to a robot is to get involved with FIRST robotics. FIRST is a national program with a sports-like model where students meet as teams over several months to prepare for a competition. There are FIRST programs in the Gorge for students ages 6 to 18. 

Your first step? Contact your child’s school to ask if they have a team or check the list of past participating schools at Most teams form soon after school starts to prepare for competitions in the winter. If your student’s school does not have a team, call Jessica Metta with the Gorge Tech Alliance at 541-296-2266 to talk about resources to support forming a team. The GTA has free robots and laptops for loan and can point you towards training resources and mentors to support you in forming a team. 

One upcoming training is Sept 9, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at Hood River Extension for coaches of FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams for students ages 9 to 14. Teams begin meeting now to prepare for one of the Gorge Qualifying Tournaments held the first two weekends in December, sponsored by Insitu and Google. The free workshop covers an intro to FLL, coaching and mentoring techniques, basic robot programming and mechanical design techniques. Pre-registration is required. Find registration links and more information about robotics in the Gorge at, a service of the GTA. 

The GTA’s equipment for loan and support of robotics events is made possible by our regional tech businesses including Google, Insitu and others.