Have you ever heard of "equine therapy?" That's horseback riding. Stuff like puzzles, kayaking, marathons, even martial arts can provide veterans with relief and escape from stress and anxiety. We give veterans that outlet through circuits and software. In technical terms, it could be considered a practical application of "problem-solving therapy." But the technical terms behind STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math - can be boring. So we focus on fun when we meet veterans, and if they want to explore more STEM, we'll do that too.
Battle of the Bots
We meet veterans in person when we host one of our Battle of the Bots. For veterans and their families, it's a fun day of getting their hands dirty with some of our open-source robots. These days are never the same experience. Some days are for putting the robots together, and some days are a little bit more complicated. That's when we put brains to work solving problems, like how to follow a line, or how to make our bots talk, or even how to win a sumo match. All the excitement can make it a long day, from getting everyone acquainted, to the hard work of team competition through robotics challenges.
We're grateful Al Gore invented the internet, because it gives us the website. Whether you've attended our bot battles or not, veterans can explore circuits and software with an electronics kit. Sign up here, and we'll ship you one. It's not the same robot kit, but it has the same hardware chip - an open-source Arduino microcontroller. We hope some part of the robot battles or the projects in our kit just reaches out and grabs you. When you get excited, we get excited. That's when the fun starts. We'll get you off on the right track, finding things that make you want to hop out of bed in the morning. On the way, we're pretty sure the journey helps to build and reinforce the qualities below.
Building confidence may be what we're most excited to do, right after defending freedom. Achieving success in activities generally seen as complex and challenging is how we break through the preconceived barriers in our minds.
When veterans join us and engage in technical activities, they do more than learn new skills. They have a chance to develop things like a new lexicon and learn more about their own capabilities. Those are important to anyone needing to transition and redefine themselves after service.
Our programs lure veterans toward technology, spurring thought about how it's used to solve problems and answer needs. That makes it a reachable goal of redirecting veterans from being warriors and physical disruptors to economic disruptors capable of more than blowing stuff up.