Shelton robotics coach receives mentor award

Shelton robotics coach Josh Cayer won the Louis J. Schmecker Memorial Outstanding Mentor Award at the Shelton High School First Lego League robotics competition on Nov. 19.

Cayer coaches the 8th grade robotics team, the Circuit Breakers, team 3529, and was nominated by his daughter, Jules Cayer.

“I’m honored and appreciative to receive the Mentor award,” Cayer said. “I’ve worked hard to help all the kids in the Shelton FLL program grow as both engineers and young people.  It’s been a pleasure to be a part of it.”

In her essay where she nominated her father, Jules said that Shelton Intermediate School wanted to nominate Coach Josh Cayer to receive the award because “Coach Josh is one of the best coaches you could ask for.”

“He’s a phenomenal coach, human being, and father, and we couldn’t ask for anyone better to coach our team,” Jules wrote. “He provides great input, but yet is still able to remain very hands-off. He’s so hands-off; he refuses to even download a program for us! He will guide us in the right direction when we need help, but won’t tell us what to do.’”

Jules continued in her essay, saying that Cayer holds extra sessions at his house pre-season once the mat and theme are released and that he opens them to anyone that is on a team in the Shelton school system.

She also said her father hosts extra sessions during the off-season to teach her team and other Shelton teams how to improve programming and building skills.

“He is a prime example of someone who follows the FLL Core Values,” Jules said. “He lent parts from our robot to another team, he taught kids on younger teams how to build a good robot base at the beginning of the season, and he even carried an injured team member up the stairs when she needed him to.”

Jules said her father provides mock judging with any team that wants it in any aspect of FLL and he volunteers as an actual judge at robotics competitions when his team is not competing.

Jules stated in her essay that this past summer, her father and a few of our team members worked with Make A Wish Foundation to help grant a child’s wish, which was to go to Denmark and see how LEGOs are made.

She said he travels in Shelton with team member to visit elementary schools during STEM Nights and demonstrates the FLL program to kids so that they can learn about the program and all it has to offer.

Jules ended her essay stating why she and the Shelton robotics teams believe Cayer should win the Louis J. Schmecker Memorial Outstanding Mentor Award.

“We think we speak for all four Shelton teams (Circuit Breakers (3529), SIStematic (3530), Predators (3532), and Brainiacs (3533)) when we say that there is nobody out there that deserves this award more than our Coach Josh.”

Cayer said the two Shelton Intermediate School teams, the Circuit Breakers and SIStematic, competed in New Haven competition, but only the SIStematic advanced to the state level.

Cayer commented on his years of coaching Circuit Breakers and Jules for four years. He said it was Jules last year and she wanted to nominate him.

“It was a disappointing ending to the season for the Circuit Breakers, but at the end of the day, I got to spend 4 years of quality time with my daughter.  How many dads get that opportunity?” Cayer said.