Every year PVEF sponsors teams from Camarillo's public schools to participate in the international FIRST LEGO League competition (grades 4 - 8) and the Jr. FIRST LEGO League program (K - 3). These programs are the result of a collaboration between the non-profit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the LEGO Group, maker of the famous small plastic building blocks.
Each year these programs focus on a different real-world issue related to the sciences. Students must do a research project and design an age-appropriate, problem-solving presentation on the year's topic.
Older kids use LEGO robotics kits to accomplish challenge missions and participate in friendly competition. Each robotics challenge within the competition revolves around that year's theme. The students work out solutions to the various problems they are given and then meet for regional tournaments to share their knowledge, compare ideas, and display their robots.
Younger kids work with LEGO elements and moving parts to create solutions and present them for review.
PVEF not only sponsors 20+ teams for each age group, paying for kits ($150 - $600) and registration fees for each team, but also holds a free-of-charge Coach/Mentor Workshop for adult volunteers and a low-cost four-day summer camp for FLL participants. PVEF also hosts an Expo for Jr. FLL participants, a local practice tournament, and an official Qualifying Tournament for FLL participants. These tournaments attract teams from as far away as Santa Barbara, Pasadena and Los Angeles. All of these things are offerred to our Camarillo public school students for the low participation fee of $50 per child for the FLL age group, and $15 T-shirt fee per child for the Jr. FLL age group.