NOTE: This is my first crack at writing a post using only a mobile device. Wish me luck!
While our team of ten 4th, 5th, and 6 th graders made it past the Regional judges and onto Sectionals, we did not advance to State. That said, we as coaches and mentors couldn’t be prouder of those kids. In addition to focusing on building and programming LEGO robots that could complete challenges and do all sorts of impressive things, these kids focused SO much on learning about Reading Therapy Animal programs, the basics of web design and development, some (of the many) uses of Salesforce.com, and the integration of 3rd party apps like Eventbrite.
Taking what they learned through their research, this team stumbled upon a need, came up with a great solution, and built/presented an awesome solution to several libraries, elementary school classrooms and animal shelter. (Check out my last post for more details on that.)
From 50K feet, their solution worked like this:
- People navigate to the website of the organization facilitating Reading Therapy Animal sessions
- They search for and select a date/time that meets their needs (Eventbrite)
- They enter a few pieces of information about themselves and their reader (in Eventbrite)
- Upon registration, they get a confirmation email (Eventbrite)
- Reservation data is synced with Salesforce.com every morning at 5AM (Eventbrite sync)
- One day before their reservation they get an email and text reminder (Salesforce and Eventbrite)
- One hour before their reservation, they receive a text reminder (Salesforce)
On a personal level, this project was AMAZINGLY fulfilling. In no particular order…
- I got to spend TONS of quality time with my sons. Every week we spent upwards of 4 hours working together (along side their coaches and teammates) researching, learning, and building things related to their project.
- The kids were able to leverage my knowledge of Salesforce while architecting their solution.
- I could literally SEE these kids growing.
- They got professional level insight on their presentation skills.
- They were exposed to industry leading solutions like Salesforce and Eventbrite!
- They forced themselves (with a little adult encouragement) to go in front of strangers and talk about something they genuinely thought could help people.
- They knew the content. They believed in their solution. They understood the implications. They told everybody that would listen.
- I was able to take the opportunity to expose those that would listen to a few topics like the Iot. (Thanks Mr. Isaacs for introducing me to Estimote proximity beacons. The kids thought the idea of sending their sibling(s) a “get out of my room” text when they’re not home was quote “awesome”.)
In addition to the aforementioned items, this really was a great learning experience for me. On more than one occasion, I was pushed to “let them figure it out on their own”. This didn’t just mean I had to shut my mouth… (which for those of you that know me, is a TOUGH thing to do!)… but it also meant that I had to know the subject matter well enough to be able to guide conversations and help cultivate ideas in such a way that I’d confidently be able to bail the kids out if ever they got stuck.
There were times when the extent of which the Salesforce Community is indispensable was really highlighted. Take for example the integration of Eventbrite and Salesforce. This is something I’d NEVER done and of course I found my way into a situation where I needed to look to others for help. Namely, when passing custom field values from Eventbrite to SFDC. Seems like something that should be pretty straightforward, right? Wrong.
I had no idea that the Process Builder was needed to pass custom field values into SFDC. (I’ll write about that little trick next time!) I’d have been absolutely S.O.L had it not been for @jodiem (Tech Generalist and Salesforce MVP). Turns out she’d just been pouring over Eventbrite most recent set of release notes and had read about the additional legwork required to pull this trick off. I sent out an SOS on Twitter (via #askforce), Jodie pointed me in the right direction via DM, and within a day the kids were passing the values of custom fields between the systems. THANK YOU, JODIE!
Before I wrap things up, I’d be remiss if I didn’t let the 10s of you know about TheGifSquad.com. Any of you that follow me on twitter have probably seen me use the hashtags #GifSquad or #GifSquadForGood. If you wouldn’t mind, please take a moment to head over to the site, read about a few of the AMAZING things the group is doing, and find out a few interesting tidbits about the Salesforce Community members we’ve highlighted in our #WeekOf segments.
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