Seven girls from the local Adel-DeSoto-Minburn Girl Scout Troop will see if their hard work pays off on Saturday, Jan. 18, in Ames for the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition.

FLL is a program designed toward children interested in science, technology, and engineering. Each year, FIRST releases a new challenge to engage the teams in hands-on robotics design and scientific research. Individual’s, ages 9-14, form teams of 2-10 members who have approximately three months to design, program as well as build their robot, and prepare an in-depth research presentation related to the specific challenge.

The girls, otherwise known as the Giant Bunny Chickens, said they couldn’t believe that they made it to the state competition after their win at regionals on Dec. 14.

"I didn’t expect us to win anything because it took us longer to program our robots than some of the other teams," member Joslynn Smith said. "We didn’t think we would have everything done by the time we went to (regionals)."

However, when the team heard they were one of the winners they were floored.

"You could have knocked us on the floor," Leanne Putman-Thomas, Girl Scout Leader and instructor, said. "We went into the competition with a goal of showing up and competing. Not only did we meet that goal, but here we are."

The team will continue that mindset when they compete at the state competition.

"I’m going into the state competition like we did the last one and show up to compete," Putman-Thomas said. "And I told them to wear the same socks as they did at regionals."

Putman-Thomas has seen the girls’ progress since September and says she is proud of what they have accomplished so far.

"When we started we had three boxes of LEGO’s and thought ‘what have we done?’, but we worked through it," she said. "Proud doesn’t even describe how well these girls have done the past few months."

Member Rebecca Beaman said she is excited to see the team’s hard work pay off at Saturday’s competition. "I’m really excited but nervous because the event is really big," she said. "I think we will do a good job."

The girls will get a total of 15 minutes to set up, give their presentation, and be asked follow-up questions. If the girls do well they could be eligible to participate in a variety of post-season tournament opportunities in the U.S. and around the world.

Most of the FLL competition will be held in Howe and Hoover Halls on Jan. 18. The event is free and open to the public.