Flaming Monkeys 1

By Matt Helm


BELVIDERE ─ The Flaming Monkeys 4-H Robotics Club competed at the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis, Mo. on April 27 through April 30, where they achieved their highest placement yet at 17th out of 75 teams in their division.

“Winning a regional event and making it to Champs is accomplishment enough, and to finish how we did and go as deep as we did in the World Championship competition is a fantastic accomplishment,” team mentor Matt Jenkins said.

Flaming monkeys 2Now that the competition season is over, the Flaming Monkeys are looking forward to the Rock River Offseason Competition. The event hosts 32 teams from Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois in a single-day competition on July 30 at Rock Valley College.

“The Offseason Competition is the same type of game that was featured at the Championship,” Flaming Monkeys member Jake Ryan said. “If you’re in the pit you’re making changes to the robot that your alliance needs and if you’re in the stands you cheer for your team and hold signs. You have to work together to get the job done.”

The Flaming Monkeys are also sponsoring several science and technology based summer camps:

The Lego Robotics camp will be held from June 6 through June 10 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This camp is for children ages eight to 13 (as of Sept. 1, 2015).  The cost is $110.

Flaming Monkeys 3The Girls STEM Camp will be held from June 13 through June 17 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This camp is for children ages eight to 13 (as of Sept. 1, 2015). The cost of the camp is $110.

The Science Rocks! Camp will be held from June 20 through June 24 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for children ages eight to 13 (as of Sept. 1, 2015). The cost of the camp is $110.

The Robotic Car Camp will be held from July 11 through July 15. The camp will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. This camp is for children ages 12 to 18. The cost of the camp is $120.

All summer camps are held in the lower level of the Belvidere Township building.

Allison MacFadden helped with pit and uniform design for her team during the competition season and will help with the summer camp programs.

“I am especially excited to help out with the Girls STEM Camp,” MacFadden said. “Engineering is a male dominated field and I’m willing to encourage girls to get their hands dirty and show what we can do.”

Flaming Monkeys 4The Flaming Monkeys are also working on expanding their team to 30 members for next season. Team enrollment is open to youth of high school age.

“Everybody has their own role on the team and we each do something important,” Flaming Monkeys member Ethan Potter said. “I help build the robot. The atmosphere is very fun even if it can get pretty intense. Everybody is friends and we all support each other.”

The team is also interested in finding new donated space to serve as a workshop.

“We are doing a lot of community outreach,” veteran member Ben Smith said. “We want kids interested in science and technology to come check us out and see what we are all about.”

For more information about summer camps and the Flaming Monkeys, check out the 4-H website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo/boone4h/.

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