Earlier this month I signed the lease for our soon-to-be new clubhouse. It’s located in the Bellgrade Shopping Centre on Huguenot Road, and it’s more than twice the size of our current club.
We’ve been through many ups and downs since opening in 2019. But through it all, including a global pandemic, you stuck with us. In fact, our very first member still comes in every week. I’ve watched your children grow and learn and make new friends. And I feel absolutely blessed to have so many amazing families in our community.
Since our post-pandemic membership push last fall, we have grown steadily. Now it’s time to take RoboKai to the next level. We have had plenty of fun building robots, playing games, and making friends in our humble little clubhouse. But there is so much more we want to do: New kinds of robots, new kinds of games, and new ways for your children to explore their curiosity, their intellect, and their passion for machines and programming. More space will allow us to really spread our wings.
This year is going to be an important one for us. We are hiring more staff, adding more programs, and setting the stage for an after-school club like no other. It has been my goal from day one to make RoboKai a place where every child is welcomed, loved, appreciated, and respected for who they are. We don’t really think of them as children; we think of them as future adults. With scary news all over TV and the internet these days, we want them to understand that they, not we, control the future. It belongs to them, not us. We want them to believe in themselves, to feel hope and inspiration, to feel as though they are not passengers on a ship in a stormy sea, but rather captains of a rocket ship exploring exciting new frontiers. Life can be both scary and exhilarating at the same time. You can tackle any challenge when you have confidence, along with friends and family to support you.
I tell prospective members our focus is on fun. That is both the end and the means for RoboKai. I believe fervently that when you are having fun, your mind is more receptive to learning. That’s because the process of learning involves inevitable failures. Failure can be painful, especially to children who are worried about being a disappointment to themselves or, more often the case, to others. At RoboKai, we teach that failure is not only an important part of learning, it can be a positive and fun thing. If you have ever been to our club during a battle royale, you’ll see robots ripping each other to pieces – robots that kids worked hard to build. But rarely will you see tears. Instead, you’ll hear laughter and cheering. That’s because we keep the environment fun and celebrate the chaos. We remind the kids that you can always fix what’s broken. Better yet, make it stronger for the next battle.
For some kids, the notion of building something to tear it apart doesn't make sense. But once they have the confidence in their skills, they can appreciate the value in losing and learning and persevering. Keeping it fun allows them to build that confidence without fear.
I am excited for what this move will bring. We are going to offer new opportunities for kids to be challenged. The more difficult the challenge, the more fun we’ll have. As we move past the pandemic, we will double down on the importance of making friends. If the last two years were a time of social distancing, we want the next two years to be a time of social closeness. A time of each-otherness.
Stay tuned for more details about our new space and new programs, including programs for both younger and older kids (and that includes kids like you). We don’t have a move date set, but it will be sometime in June. We intend to hold all our summer camps in the new space. (Speaking of which, if you haven’t registered for a camp but want to, the early bird registration ends this month. Click here for details.) We are very anxious to get to our new home. It’s going to be awesome.
Lastly, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the wonderful families who have taken this journey with us. Please spread word about how RoboKai has been fun for your child and has helped them grow. Leave a review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. We hear so many positive things every week from parents, and those vibes will help us become even bigger and better.
More robots. More friends. More fun. Coming soon.