Last week was a great week for some of our children in Kids Academy. Using a sponsorship from Lego Foundation we participated in the First World Festival in Houston, USA. We participated in the First Lego League Challenge part of the competition. But before that they began their journey towards the USA with their very first flight. New sensations were discovered from their first take off, flight and landing. Navigating city-like airports like Schiphol and George Bush were adventures themselves.
Arriving in a foreign land and getting towards the Hotel was something new as well. Enthusiasm grew in their eyes on our way as they saw the huge metal & glass skyscrapers, cars and trucks like never before. Seeing stuff they usually see only in movies fuelled them with lots of energy enough to compensate for the total lack of sleep they’ve been through.
Once arrived at the accommodation we found welcoming rooms, with great views of downtown. We had a quick dinner and went to sleep to get ready for the next day. Well, the kids didn’t really sleep 🙂
The very next morning we started our way to George R. Brown, navigating through the city.
We found the center, which was huge for all our surprise, registered then proceeded to build-up our stand and make friends. Even though they were quite shy at first, It took them around 5 minutes to get past it – they talked and laughed with all the teams, visited their stands and collected their badges. They learned from this experience what it really means to compete and do your best while treating each other with respect and kindness. And also that having fun is important 😊
We spent the whole day setting up, registering getting to know how the contest will take place. We then went around town, took some nice photos on a rooftop bar and had some nice burgers for dinner.
We enjoyed the walk back to the hotel and took some pictures among the shining light of Houston.
The next two days were competition days. First one was basically a tryout for us and second one, Friday was the real deal: judging and robot competition. Some of our kids also had to take the mandatory COVID-19 testing.
In the meantime our stand was literally glowing – we provided other teams and officials with glowing sticks, earrings, glasses etc. We became known as the glow stick team 😊
We visited some more, even though days of competition and nights not slept took their toll. Saturday we participated in the Awards ceremony. Our team did their best and we’re proud of them and even though we were awarded no prize, the experience itself was more than enough. They promised though, to return and get a cup next year. We then visited NASA – Space Center Houston. Through spaceships, modules and testing various technologies and viewing parts of future missions we explored everything. We touched the Moon, literally – everyone got in line to touch the rock from the Moon and meteorites.
We ended the trip with a celebration – we got snacks, soda, and boardgames and enjoyed our last night in Houston. The kids made a promise to do their best the next First Lego League season hoping that they will get to have this amazing experience again.
Thank you all for making this possible!
The Kids Academy Team