Matt Campbell, Sam McInnis, Mac Steele, and Dominic Sorhaindo are all heading to Detroit, Mich. at the end of the month after being invited by organizers of the World Robotics Festival. They are known as the Hippie Lego Lovers. (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER: Four youth from Fall River will get to put their robotic skills to the test against the best in the world later this month.

VIDEO: Hippie Lego Lovers demonstration

Dominic Sorhaindo, Mac Steele, Sam McInnis, and Matt Campbell are all heading to Detroit, Mich. at the end of the month after being invited by organizers of the World Robotics Festival. They are known as the Hippie Lego Lovers.

“We always see stuff on the news about plastics and how animals were dying because of them, so we decided that would be what we would do as the topic,” said Campbell.

The topic they are doing is looking at banning single-use plastic, so you could use the same plastic over and over.

Mac Steele said the group is pretty excited to have this opportunity. They could be competing against those they have viewed on YouTube as inspiration. The welcoming ceremony is so large that it is being held in an NFL stadium.

“We’ve been to big competitions before, but this is the worlds with teams like Korea coming,” said Mac.

Sam is new to the team this year.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Sam.

The team practicing a routine with their robot in Fall River. (Healey photo)

J’aime Steele said the main topic is to bring educational awareness to people that single-use plastic isn’t good.

“One plastic water bottle takes 450 years to degrade in the landfill,” said Steele, noting that came up during the groups research. “Everything in the news with the shipping to China, burn all this fuel to get it there and then burn the plastic using more fuel. That’s a lot of pollution in the air.”

The group participated at the provincial robotic competition recently at Acadia University in Wolfville. They came in third place.

Because they are a LEGO Foundation team, they will have their entrance fee of $1,000 covered; and they have a $5,000 travel bursary to cover the team’s travel; and sponsorship from a few local businesses.

While in Detroit, the kids will be going to downtown Detroit to see get an educational experience. They will see how people live there, giving them an appreciation of how fortunate they are living in Fall River.

For the kids, their project is all about opening the eyes of the people around.

“For us it’s all about public awareness,” said Mac Steele. “The amount of fuel used to get rid of that one plastic bag or that one plastic water bottle is a lot.”

The four spoke about getting the huge honour of going to the worlds.

“I just thought of it as another California, but now that I think about it. It’s the worlds,” said Mac. “I’m a bit scared now.”

The team agreed it will be a lot of work, but in the end it will be all worth it.

“We come home from school and we kind of do more school work with the robotics,” said Matt. “We’re all friends, and it’s fun.”

“It might be more school, but I love the robotics,” added Sam.

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Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!