Robotics club takes field trips


Robo Rascals with the Cathlamet Fire Department/EMS members in front of their engine. Photo by Amanda Boehler.

Submitted by Jessica Vik

4-H Wahkiakum Robotics Program Coordinator

4-H Liaison to WHS

The Career Connect Washington program has touched many students both in school and after school in Wahkiakum and Naselle Grays River Valley School Districts. WSU 4-H works with students and teachers in the schools on robotics, and recently coordinated two field trips. The first was a ferry ride across the river to the Georgia Pacific Mill in Wauna, OR. A planning partnership with Wahkiakum High School's (WHS) Renee Freeman and WSU 4-H's Liaison to WHS, Jessica Vik, took place to make it happen. Students from the 5th period Engineering via Robotics class taught by Jeff Rooklidge and students involved in the after-school Robotics Club program at the high school under the leadership of Ron Wright and Amanda Heston, toured the mill on February 27, 2023. Students got to see the process of making paper and then how it is turned into paper towels and toilet paper. They will never look at a roll on the shelf in the same way again. They were surprised at how many steps it took to make something we take for granted, as well as steps they take to conserve; recycling as much as they can back into the paper making process. Pick-and-Place Robots and Delivery Robots were observed doing heavy jobs a person can't do. A stop at the machine shop showed students how they make parts in-house using a lathe, CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines and other high-end equipment. After the tour, the mill provided lunch for the students. Some members on the Mecha Mules team brought their First Tech Challenge (FTC) robot and gave a presentation at lunch time. "What your school is doing to prepare kids to go into a tech world is way ahead of other schools," said Kristy Ward, who helped set up the field trip from Georgia Pacific. Information on working at the mill and colleges they partner with for papermaking programs were shared with the juniors and seniors who will be making choices soon on what happens after high school.

WHS students received a pack of TP during their mill tour. Photo by Jessica Vik.

The Robo Rascals 4-H Robotics Club took a field trip to the Cathlamet Fire Hall on March 29, 2023. Kids got to see all kinds of tech equipment used in firefighting, EMS calls and vehicle extrication. A basic overview of each rig was given with the tools they carry and its purpose. A demonstration of putting on bunker gear in no more than a minute was given by a firefighter. There were several timers going to see if he could do it, and he did with time to spare! The "jaws of life" equipment was pulled out. They demonstrated the cutters and spreaders opening and closing. The Cathlamet Fire Department houses the ambulances too, so kids got to see this equipment as well. Department member Will was a gracious patient as our tour guide, Justin Roberts, showed how he could lift him with the push of a button into the back of the ambulance with the auto loader. Another tool carried on the ambulance is an auto CPR machine. Kids got to practice compressions on a dummy and then see how this machine can do it for them, so volunteers don't get tired. While there is no age limit to taking a CPR class, the kids were told if they were interested, the age of 12 is a good time to start. By this time, they can properly do compressions if they have to. The grand finale to the trip was a walk down to the marina. Department members drove an engine down and sprayed water into the river from their roof mounted monitor. One student told their 4-H leader that after seeing all the firefighting equipment, they want to be a firefighter. The great thing about our county's fire departments is they are all volunteers and there are several districts. So even if this is not a career choice, you can still join a department to serve your community.

There is another field trip in planning stages for May to the Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR. Here a group of elementary students of both Wahkiakum and Naselle Grays River Valley Schools will get to not only tour the museum but also participate in the Underwater Learning Lab. Thanks to support by Career Connect Washington, local schools and WSU 4-H are able to connect students with businesses around their community and beyond to see what volunteer and job opportunities are out there.


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