TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – About 120 grade school students will be at O’Leary Middle School this Saturday for a qualifying robotics tournament.

Those who qualify will move on to the South State Tournament scheduled for Jan. 28 at the College of Southern Idaho. The January tournament will feature students in schools south of Idaho Falls and Moscow, including the Magic Valley.

It is this Saturday’s event that officials are worried about due to the lack of volunteer judges.

“We are desperately looking for judges,” said Suzann Dolecheck, an extension educator with the University of Idaho Extension in Twin Falls. The extension office, in conjunction with the Twin Falls School District, is sponsoring the event.

Dolecheck said the competition needs two panels of judges, six judges on each panel. As of Friday, only four people had signed up.

The tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at O’Leary. Dolecheck said she expects 10 of the 20 teams to move on to the South State Tournament.

If you’re interested in becoming a judge, contact the extension office at 734-9590.

Students compete in a robotics tournament on Thursday, April 28, 2016 at Harrison Elementary School in Twin Falls. (File photo by Andrew Weeks)

Upcoming Robotic Camps
Three different robotics camps are scheduled for the week before Christmas for grade school children, and another one is scheduled for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

The first three camps will take place Dec. 19-23 at the extension office located inside the Twin Falls County West building and include beginners, intermediate and experienced robotics students. The other, called Take to the Sky, is scheduled for Dec. 27-29 and focuses on robotics activities around flight. Each day will focus on a different aspect of flight – airplanes, rockets and drones.

Several students are already signed up for camps during the first week of camps, but very few have signed up for the flight-themed camps. If additional students don’t sign up, Dolecheck said the class will likely be canceled.

“We did it a little different this time,” she said. “People can sign up for $15 for one day, or $40 to take all three. We need a minimum of 10 kids.”

The extension office has held other activities during the same time period and they’ve always done well, but this year is different.

“I don’t know what it is,” she said. “We need a minimum of 10 kids, but so far we just haven’t had a lot sign up. Usually those camps do well.”

To sign up your child or to volunteer, call the extension office at 734-9590.