Since the founding of our organization, we have grown, expanded, and changed significantly to become the family of programs we are today.
First W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FLL Team Founded
The W.A.F.F.L.E.S. started as a community-based FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team of kids ages 9 to 14. FLL teams research a real-world problem, develop an innovative solution, create and program a robot to autonomously complete tasks, and keep the Core Values of FIRST in mind while doing so. Originally working out of one of the coaches’ homes, the team has qualified for the World Festival twice and has a history of strong Core Values and robot performances.
FIRST LEGO League Jr. Team Founded
In 2008, the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. expanded to include younger age group. The “Mini W.A.F.F.L.E..S.” were the start of our FIRST LEGO League Jr. (FLL Jr.) program for ages 6-10. Similar to FLL, FLL Jr. teams also research a real-world problem and form a creative solution for it. They show their learning through a motorized LEGO WeDo 2.0 model and a Show Me poster.
VEX Team Founded
As the members of our FLL Jr. and FLL teams began to age out of the programs, the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. started a VEX robotics team for high school students. VEX teams use a kit of parts to build a remote-controlled robot to compete and complete challenges on a 12’x12′ field.
First Year of FLL Regional Qualifier and FLL Jr. Expo
Each year since 2012, the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. have organized and hosted a local FIRST LEGO League regional and FIRST LEGO Jr. Expo. Prior to that, we volunteered at the event for many years.
FIRST Robotics Competition Team Founded
To further expand the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. family of programs and make robotics accessible to more youth in the area, a community-based FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team for grades 8-12 was formed. The first of its kind in Canada, the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. FRC team allowed any local students without a team at their school to join the program. In FRC, students have a six-week period to design, build, test, and program a 120lb robot to complete in exciting competitions that change year to year. They work alongside community professionals and alumni mentors from Queen’s University, who guide as mentors and pass down knowledge. Students also work on the business and artistic aspects of the team, such as fundraising, award submissions, website design, and team media. In its first year, the team won the Rookie All Star award and qualified for the World Championships.
W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Summer Camps Founded
In 2014, we ran our first week of LEGO robotics summer camps to promote STEM programs for youth and support our teams. Since then, we have expanded to four weeks of camps for ages 6-10 and 10+.
Not-for-profit Status Obtained
In 2015, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics became an official not-for-profit organization.
Pump House Steam Museum the City of Kingston Partner with W.A.F.F.LE.S.
In 2015, a partnership was formed between W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics and the City of Kingston. This mutually-beneficial relationship provided the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. teams with a permanent meeting space, while the Pump House Steam Museum had a new organization to draw visitors and collaborate with for community events. Many of our teams continue to operate out of the museum space.
VEX Team Retires
In 2017, the W.A.F.F.L.E.S. VEX team retired, as we had established our FRC program for high school students and decided to focus our resources on the one program.
W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics Now
Today, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics is a family of programs that houses an FRC team, multiple FLL teams, and multiple FLL Jr. teams.