Support Aspen’s young innovators |

Support Aspen’s young innovators

The Aspen High School Robo Yetis FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics team are in an exciting week. The high school team will travel to Tacoma, Washington, to compete at the Super Regionals tournament after winning the second place Inspire Award in Colorado. They are one of five teams from this state who are trekking westward to test their engineering and presentation skills against the best 12 states that the West has to offer. These students, six seniors and one junior, have toiled for hundreds of hours since the fall building and perfecting a robot that can shoot particles, raise a ball to over 29 inches, and drive into beacons to claim team points.

To share their experience with the community and raise money for the components and travel, they are carrying on the Banners to Bags initiative begun by their younger peers two years ago as part of a Trash Trek season project. The students collect banners from local events, the city of Aspen and businesses like Alpine Bank and send them to GarCo Sewing Works in Rifle. The nonprofit job-training center turns the banners into unique, heavy-duty bags that the robotics program purchases. Final products are then sold to raise revenue.

The benefit of the bags in multifaceted: The banners are diverted from the Pitkin County Landfill, GarCo Sewing Works creates meaningful work experiences and the robotics program benefits from the outreach and monetary infusion. Alpine bank has joined in the effort, purchasing bags that sport their LOGO and financial theme. The team can use your support to continue their engineering journey to Tacoma and beyond, and to provide for middle school students ready to graduate into the high school program from FLL.

To show your support, contact Caroline Hanson at Aspen Middle School ( to purchase a bag and you may view them in the AMS front office (online images in the works). The bags sell for $20, and the team has received feedback that local grocers like their sturdy construction.

Aspen Middle School sponsors a FIRST LEGO League tournament for hundreds of children on the Western Slope ages 9 through 13. The Robo Yetis are vital to that event, building field kits, setting up tables and serving as referees and other event volunteers. Buying a bag is a way to support this enriching STEM program.

If the Robo Yetis don’t impress you enough, the seventh-grade Bionic Bears are the Colorado nominees for the Global Innovation Award for their rollaway bear-resistant lid design. As seventh graders they may follow their peers, who traveled to the United States Patent and Trade Office in Washington, D.C., in June to share their concept to reduce e-waste. Teams that make it to that lofty event are the top 20 in the world. We have 12-year-olds applying for patents in this town!

So buy a bag and support these young innovators.

The Robo Yetis FTC Team 5196

Aspen High School

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