GCAMP is a proud 2023 sponsor of various community programs, including several robotics teams. One of those teams is composed of five middle- school students: the self-dubbed Team Marshmallow Menagerie.
GCAMP first met the Marshmallow Menagerie team when GCAMP arranged for the team to take a tour of Helm Tool in December 2022. The students’ love for manufacturing, and the parents’ commitment to their kids’ interests, was immediately evident when the group braved a snowstorm to make it to their tour. Throughout the tour, the students asked thoughtful, pointed questions and uncovered special insights into the world of manufacturing.
The middle-school team is an unaffiliated team, meaning they aren’t associated with any school. Team Marshmallow Menagerie exists purely because the parents of its members want their children to fully embrace industrial experiences and STEM learning. Four of the five team members are girls whose love of robotics is challenging the stereotype that STEM and industry are male-dominated fields.
Beyond their time spent learning and exploring, the Marshmallow Menagerie also spent their year building.
This year, the Wisconn Valley Vex IQ MS challenge was held on January 15th in Kenosha, Wisconsin. After a well-fought battle, the team took away some hardware. Team Marshmallow Menagerie placed 2nd for the Teamwork Challenge. To cap off an impressive tournament, they also won the 2023 Think Award.
As part of their successful competition run, the Marshmallow Menagerie competed at the VEX IQ Robotics Illinois State Championships. The tournament, held February 18th in Arlington Heights, featured 17 middle school teams from around the state. As part of the competition, the teams were paired up to compete with a partner team against other duos. The Marshmallow Menagerie team was named the winners of the Teamwork Champion Award in conjunction with their paired partner Team Space Turtles.
The State Championship’s featured game this year was Slapshot. In Slapshot, a team’s robot must work to score the “Blocks” in the arena into “Goals.” The stakes were high: the winners of the Slapshot game would go on to compete at the World Championships.
Team Marshmallow Menagerie performed remarkably under the pressure, placing in the top three in the state tournament. Thanks to their well-executed Slapshot performance, the team punched their ticket to Dallas, Texas to compete at the world level.
Once the excitement over qualifying for Worlds settled down, it was time for logistics- namely, affording to go to Worlds. GCAMP was approached by Team Marshmallow Menagerie as they looked for funds to compete at the World Championships. After all of the team’s hard work, GCAMP was happy to help them continue showcasing their excellence by awarding a grant to Team Marshmallow Menagerie with funds to send the team to Dallas.
This year’s 2023 VEX IQ Middle School World Championship was a multi-day event, running from April 30th to May 2nd. The teams brought their best, and Team Marshmallow Menagerie finished out their competition year on a high note.
Team Marshmallow Menagerie’s hard work, innovative solutions, and well-deserved successes were a joy to follow this year, and we cannot wait to see the amazing accomplishments they will achieve in the future. Tomorrow’s workforce is already trailblazing exciting accomplishments in the industrial arena, and GCAMP is thrilled to cheer and support as they do so.
Read more about the team’s State tournament accomplishments here: https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20230221/arlington-heights-hosts-state-robotics-championship