I recently worked the Lego league event, which was an absolute pleasure. The event had twelve teams from different schools competing in a variety of categories, revolving around designing and programming Lego robots to perform tasks. The teams prepare for this competition months in advance, as well as giving a presentation on the day. They also have a teamworking challenge, one of my favourite challenges of the day because it allowed teams (such as mine) to shine, despite their not-so-great programming skills. There’s no need for technical knowledge on the part of the ambassador – my job was simply to keep the team I was assigned to on track by directing them to the right places in good time. (There was a large clock on display, but I’d recommend wearing a wristwatch). It was all on campus which was convenient, and we did a practice run through to make sure we knew all the locations. The Lead Ambassadors, Alex and Matt, clearly explained the schedule for the day and provided printouts, assigning us each a role before the day began. As I had a similar schedule to another team, we worked together to make sure our teams left at the same time to get to the correct rooms. We also had a great debate while walking there between the teams regarding Jaffa Cakes: cakes or biscuits? It was a hotly contested argument but alas no conclusion was reached.
The atmosphere for the day was great – the schedule was jam packed, so we were busy constantly, but in the small bits of downtime it was great to talk to the students and staff as both were really enthusiastic. The Lead Ambassadors requested that we keep our phones away in our bags (which were stored with our coats for the day) and encouraged us to engage with the students rather than just chatting to other ambassadors. It was great advice, as it was so fun to chat to the keen students. I didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk to schools other than my own, but all the teams seemed lovely. There was a hiccup with technology for some of the schools, as their laptops wouldn’t connect to the campus Wi-Fi initially, but I passed this onto the Lead Ambassadors who managed to help sort it. Any other technical questions I asked the Outreach Team or computing experts running the event, and everyone I passed questions onto provided helpful answers.
I would most definitely recommend working a large event; the Lego league event was really fun and flew by. A highlight of the day was my team winning a prize for their presentation, which was so innovative. It’s funny, I’d only met them that morning but by the afternoon prize giving I’d become quite attached to them and was so proud when they won two prizes – I hadn’t had a hand in it, but it was so rewarding to see their hard work pay off. Ambassadors were given the spare medals so now I have a sweet keepsake as an unexpected bonus. My advice for Ambassadors working big events would be to engage with as many people as possible – chat to your fellow Ambassadors while waiting for your briefing, talk to the students but also to the staff – the staff from the schools are usually really passionate too, and the Outreach Team are marvellous; they really care about the projects and want to do what they can to help it go smoothly. They also really listen to how you found it, and any feedback is always appreciated.
Outreach Student Ambassador, Jess Shaw, shares her experience working in one of Outreach’s large events, Lego League, in December 2019