MEET THE OEC VOLUNTEERS
Today, introducing Kenny Meesters from the Netherlands.
More than 10 years ago, a good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to volunteer at a ‘technology’ event. He asked me if I wanted to host the event (as an MC) and interview some teams that were competing in a robotics competition. I wasn’t really sure at first; how ‘fun’ would it be to interview kids who were playing with LEGO and building robots? I expected to find many kids just staring at their laptops, sitting at tables, quietly putting blocks together and just minding their own business. That was what I used to do when I was kid and played with LEGO.
Boy, was I wrong! Kids were exchanging gifts, singing and dancing together and having so much fun. It was indeed hard to do interviews, not because teams were busy with their robots, but because there was so much going on! In the pits, those 84 teams from 27 countries, didn’t even seem to think about the robot competition, just about having fun, making friends and celebrating together! I quickly learned that the FIRST LEGO League is more than robots and programming, it’s about discovery! You can find out if you like programming, research, presentation, teamwork, creativity or something else. And you can do it while having lots of fun and excitement!
That was the first Open European Championship back in 2006 in my town Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. And from that moment I really got hooked on the FIRST LEGO League. Since then, I’ve done a lot of different ‘jobs’ in the FIRST LEGO League: host, referee, judge, field resetter, technical crew, PIT administrator… And I’ve been in all these positions at many regional, national and international events.
Through this volunteering, I’ve been very lucky to meet many amazing teams and volunteers from all around the world. Wherever you go to a FIRST LEGO League tournament, in every city and country, you will find people who are passionate about the FIRST LEGO League: teams, volunteers, coaches, partners, organizations and sponsors. And more importantly, people who are ready to get the party started! Are you ready to join the party in Tenerife?
GET TO KNOW TENERIFE
Today we visit… el Teide.
Mount Teide‘s 3,718-metre (12,198 ft) summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. Not only it’s the highest mountain in Spain, its elevation makes Tenerife the tenth highest island in the world.And it actually is an active volcano! But don’t worry: the most recent eruption of Mount Teide happened in 1909. It also erupted in 1798, 1706, 1705 and 1704. It is believed that Christopher Columbus apparently saw the 1492 eruption of Mount Teide when he was sailing past Tenerife on his journey to the New World. Although it is a dormant volcano, many scientists believe it might erupt again in the near future.
To the Guanches (the original inhabitants of Tenerife) Teide was a sacred mountain and the home of Guayota, the devil, who kidnapped Magec, the god of light and the sun, and imprisoned him inside the volcano. The Guanches also believed that Teide held up the sky. It certainly has a very peculiar landscape, formed from layers of hardened lava and volcanic ash, which provide it with a gloomy and magical appearance. The volcano and its surroundings comprise Teide National Park, which has an area of 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres), and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.
An astronomical observatory is located on the slopes of the mountain, taking advantage of the altitude (above most clouds), good weather and stable seeing from the site. The Teide Observatory includes solar, radio and microwave telescopes, in addition to traditional optical night-time telescopes.
Teide is the main symbol of Tenerife and the most emblematic natural monument of the Canary Islands. It has been depicted frequently throughout history, from the earliest engravings made by European conquerors to typical Canarian craft objects, on the back of 1000 peseta notes, in oil paintings, stamps and on postcards.
DID YOU KNOW?
Some facts about the Canary Islands.
The whole archipelago is just 100 km (62 miles) from Africa, and a whopping 1,056 km (1,700 miles) from Spain’s mainland.
The Canary Islands are in a different time zone to Spain and Europe. When you travel to Tenerife, remember to turn the clock back an hour in relation to the time in Spain!
Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are located on the two largest Islands. Together they share the status as Capital of the archipelago. Santa Cruz de Tenerife is also home to the second most popular and stunningly spectacular Carnival in the world, attracting over a million people every February.
The Canary Islands are fortunate in having warm weather year-round, with hot, long days in the summer and cooler days, but remaining significantly warm in the winter.
The small island of El Hierro is working toward making the entire island self-sufficient by using only sustainable energy resources such as solar power, wind and water.
Canarian wrestling is the island’s very own sport. It is also a Guanche tradition, which is thought to be originated around 1420. However, only some of the early rules and techniques related to Canarian wrestling have survived to modern times. The sport became part of the islands’ folklore, usually being fought at celebrations or local festivals. It is said to be one of the earliest defined forms of wrestling. You can still find matches being held in some Canarian towns today.
Take the diving trip of a lifetime in the Canary Islands and you might be fortunate enough to get a glance of one of the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world – the endangered Loggerhead Turtle. Adult males reach approximately three feet long and have a lifespan of 47–67 years.