Kansas BEST needs Volunteers

Hey there makers, Kansas BEST is an organization I have been involved with for a couple decades now. It’s an organization that has been helping high school students learn how to use hand tools, make robots move, practice their documentation skills, as well as their team work skills. They’re currently looking for people to be judges, so an engineering background isn’t required but a technical background is helpful.

Here’s a message from Scott Ricke, their head judge:

Kansas BEST Robotics is looking for volunteers! Kansas BEST (Boosting Engineering Science & Technology) is the organization that runs the annual Kansas BEST Robotics competition (hosted by the Wichita State University College of Engineering) held between high school and middle school teams from across the state of Kansas. This year, each team has 8 weeks to design, build, and practice with a remote-controlled robot. At the end of the 8 weeks, all teams get together at WSU Charles Koch Arena to perform tasks with their robots in a competitive, fun, sports-like environment called Game Day.

This is where the volunteers come in. More volunteers are needed for referees and other functions for Game Day (training is provided). If you are interested in volunteering, have questions, or want to find out more information, please contact Scott Ricke at scott.ricke@bestinc.org by Friday, November 5th.

Here are the important dates:

Referee Training: November 9th (7 PM)
Practice Day: November 13th (8 AM - 2 PM, Heskett Center, WSU)
Game Day: November 20th (8 AM - 4:30 PM, Charles Koch Arena, WSU)

For more information, see Best Robotics Inc. - Boosting Engineering Science and Technology and Kansas BEST 2021.


So added fun…

Would 2 to 3 people be willing to run a booth on game day (November 20th)?

…I’ll probably be down on the arena floor for most of the time judging the games and won’t be able to help much with the booth.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. They’re setting up a table and power for us at Koch Arena, we just have to come up with some signage and the usual stuff that shows what we’re up to at MakeICT.

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Sadly I will be out of town that week. We will need someone to take up the slack.

I’m not sure I’d be the most comfortable running a booth for this event either unfortunately. Hoping I’ll get the chance to stop by and see what it’s about!

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I can’t commit either. My father-in-law is not doing well and we’re contemplating going to Austin to care for him for a bit.

Looks like we are gonna need a newer volunteer for this… but it is an easy job if someone wants to take it on… you just hand out leaflets and talk about the stuff we do at MakeICT. We have a box of example projects that can remind you of the things you don’t do yourself!


There’s usually a few other company booths out there as well… Like Textron Aviation and Spirit Aerosystems.

The clientele tends to be high school students and their families, so you might have to talk to an energetic child for 30 seconds before the next kid pops up. Unfortunately, they tend to ask for free stuff, which means we might want to make stuff… Like maybe laser cut info cards/cellphone holders?

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Big thanks to Larry Walton and Tom Cornwell for stepping up to be referees!

They now have enough refs for this weekend and next, but they could use 2 or 3 more people to help set up the game floor between rounds still.

Pizza and referee shirts will be provided to those that help. You would need to be there by 8:30am until 2pm. Parking is taken care of.


Well, since it doesn’t sound like we’ll have someone to run a booth Saturday, so I’ve talked with the event organizers about switching gears to sponsoring an award.

Specifically, there was a student from Smokey Valley High School in Lindsburg Kansas that I would recognize for his efforts… Specifically for being the only member on his team and was still somehow competitive with larger teams. In my books, that took a lot of determination and courage to make that happen.

So I’ve proposed the MakeICT Maker Award for this Saturday to recognize his efforts. Since Lindsburg is a bit of a ways out there, I’m thinking either a pair of Amazon gift cards for him and the instructor or reaching out to places like the Cosmosphere to see if we can set them up with day passes. Either way, I’d be up for chipping a couple bucks into it.

Any ideas or suggestions on how to help encourage this student to keep doing what he is passionate about?


I would chip in a few bucks as well.


He’s not to far from the McPherson Maker Space. I would reach out to them and see about gifting him a membership there.