About The Team
Team 781, the Kinetic Knights is a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team run by students and mentors based in Kincardine, Ontario. The team was formed during the 2001-2002 season with generous help from Bruce Power and Power Workers' Union Training Inc.
Our mission, like the mission of FIRST, is not to create award-winning robots but like our motto says, “set your potential in motion.” Team 781 is a place for students with a passion to flourish. Regardless of the passion, Team 781 strives to accommodate interests of all types. This FRC program allows students to apply skills learned in the classroom while sparking an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The team also provides an excellent opportunity for students who are interested in business, arts and media to gain practical experience.
Who We Are And What We Do
Team 781 is a community youth robotics organization open to students aged 13-19 in Kincardine. The size of our team fluctuates, our peak was a team with 40-50 students. Currently, the team is sitting at roughly 15-20 students. Although the small size makes certain aspects difficult, our team is dedicated to the cause and our small size doesn't stop us.
The main part of a robotics team is to build a robot and compete with it; however, we promote ourselves as a team that anyone with any skill sets can be a part of. Our team is split into two general sections: admin and build. Within each section, we have different branches, each led by a different student.
On the first Saturday of every January, the Kinetic Knights gather for Kick-Off. There we all gather to watch the live stream FIRST puts out, which is also watched simultaneously by every other FRC team around the world. The Kick-Off marks the first day of Build Season because we learn through the live stream what the game challenge is for that year. After that, we spend hours of our lives for six weeks designing, building, and programming our robot. After the six weeks are up, we are no longer allowed to touch our robot until our first regional. However, we use that time to train students to drive and control the robot.
While some of the students are busy working on the robot, other students are working tirelessly on the organizational side of our team. We have students working on fundraising, planning community events, organizing hotels and bussing, writing essays for awards, making videos, and working on this website. Without these students working behind the scenes, our team would not be able to run as smoothly as it does.
The Kinetic Knights were founded in December of 2001 when former Bruce Power mentor Bev Fry received a letter, called Kincardine District Secondary School, and asked if the school would be interested in having a robotics team. Since then our team has expanded beyond our school and is now a community team, allowing students from outside of the school to join. Being a team separate from the school allows students who are homeschooled or from neighbouring communities to join and set their potential in motion.
In 2005, the team became mentors for the local FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams. We went to elementary schools within a 20-km radius to assist children aged 9 to 14 with various jobs like building, designing, and programming robots built out of LEGO bricks. Many of those elementary students who participated in FLL later became members of Team 781. In 2010, when we faced the threat of losing the FLL program in Kincardine because of a lack of volunteers and mentors, the Kinetic Knights reacted by going forward with a more hands-on role. Kinetic Knights students organized presentations at elementary schools to recruit students and to inform parents about all the benefits their children would get out of this program. We also have students at every FLL meeting acting as mentors and volunteers. The Kinetic Knights and our FLL mentorship program were even featured in FIRST's January 2013 Newsletter as an example of great collaboration between the FRC and FLL programs.
After leaving the school, the knights had to find somewhere to set up shop. Space at the Lake Huron Learning Centre was graciously donated to the team, allowing for a space to build, hold meetings and other events. However, due to a change in ownership of the building in early 2018, the team had to find a new space. This caused a few bumps and wasn't an easy transition for the knights, however, we persevered and managed to find and move into our new space before the 2019 build season
As each year passes, the Kinetic Knights continue to improve not just on the build side but also on the administrative side with regard to team organization, donor relations and community relationships. Our goal is to be recognized as an all-around great robotics team that creates role models for other youth in our community as well as for other robotics teams.
In the future, we hope to continue building highly competitive robots as well as spread FIRST to other neighbouring communities. We hope to continue to set our potential in motion
With hard work comes great rewards. Over the years, the Kinetic Knights have accomplished many of their goals. One of Team 781's proudest achievements was winning the first-ever Canadian Regional in 2002 and continuing on to the Championship Event held in Florida.
It took the team 10 years, but in 2011 the Kinetic Knights won our second regional (Greater Toronto West). We advanced on to the World Championships again, this time held in St. Louis, Missouri. We were placed in the Archimedes Division and won with the help of our alliance members: Team 2016, Mighty Monkey Wrenches and Team 177, Bobcat Robotics. Continuing on to the Einstein field was a big deal for the team, and it was a major achievement on its own. After a few triumphs and a few losses, the Kinetic Knights walked away from our second appearance at the World Championships with the title of Second in the World.
A year later, in 2012, the Kinetic Knights once again proved there was something special happening in the little town of Kincardine. Along with team member Janelle Taylor winning the Dean's List Finalist award in Waterloo, the Kinetic Knights went from being the "underdog" alliance all the way to becoming the winners at the inaugural Queen City Regional in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the championship, Team 781 landed itself in the 4th seeded position out of 100 teams in the Archimedes division, the highest our team has ever seeded at the World Championships.
In the 2013 season, Team 781 won its first ever Regional Chairman's award at the Greater Toronto Regional East. This award is given to a team that best represents a model team for other teams to follow in their quest of changing the culture that aspires around science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This year, the Kinetic Knights also released their first ever business plan, which won the Entrepreneurship award at the Waterloo Regional and at the Buckeye Regional in Cleveland, Ohio. Our beloved mentor, Bill Jackson, also won the Woodie Flowers award. Team 781 travelled to the World Championship for the third year in a row, making their community proud.
In January 2014, Team 781 became the first ever FRC to be recognized as a registered charity under the Canada Revenue Agency. In the 2014 competition season, the Team won their second Regional Chairman's award, when the award was presented, their video has shown to a stadium of over two thousand people. For the first time all competition, the room went completely silent, as the video played. In that season, Team 781 set a new standard for Chairman's video, when they went completely outside of the box, with their draw my life style video. This video can be found on the team's YouTube channel. At the Greater Toronto Regional East, Darby Watterworth became the second Kinetic Knight to have won the Dean's List Finalist award.