The Okotoks Stratobots were presented with Awesome Kid Awards by Okotoks town council this week.

They're a community-based robotics team made up of junior high and high school students from four different Okotoks schools.

In the last few months, the Stratobots competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge in February and the Alberta Provincial FTC Championships in March.

Team member Emma Cunningham explained to the town council that this was their fifth time competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge, but their first time winning a rather prestigious award.

"This year we actually won one of the bigger awards in the competition, which is the Inspire Award, which is basically the all-around best team award. We've never won that before. We've come close but this is definitely one of our biggest achievements ever, we did great this year."

According to the FIRST Tech Challenge website, the Inspire Award is given to teams that "share their experiences, enthusiasm, and knowledge with other teams, sponsors, their community, and the judges. Working as a unit, this team will have shown success in performing the task of designing and building a robot."

The Stratobots brought their robot, Waddles, along with them.

Abigail Plumb gave council a rundown of what Waddles was designed to do.

"Every year in FIRST, there's a different challenge or game. This year, the main concept of the game was picking up these little pixels... they're quite small and they're hard to pick up off the ground, quickly, efficiently, and effectively. So, we designed the system to be able to do that quickly, and then deposit these pixels onto a board that's at an angle. By doing that in each match we get points. Then we accomplished that with a bunch of other goals and different things we can do during the match to get points. Some of those things are launching a paper airplane, which we can demonstrate, and hanging off a bar."

Council was given a firsthand look at what Waddles can do, with Stratobots members providing a live demonstration in the council chamber.

One team member controls the robot's movement with a PlayStation 4 controller, while another controls the lift and drop mechanisms with a separate remote.

For their work on Waddles, the Stratobots received the Design Award at the Alberta Championship.

"We basically did a really good job designing it, solving the issues of the game in a new way, and it looks pretty," explained Cunningham.

Plumb provided some examples of the process and the different components that went into making the design a reality.

"We use computer-aided design, and so we do everything on the computer before we even do it on the robot. That allows us to do these really complex designs, and then we actually send designs off to manufacturing companies, who then cut metal parts for us, for example. We also 3D print a lot of our parts."

She gave a shoutout to their coach Kevin Plumb and former Stratobots member Owen Plumb.

"[Owen], actually, is the reason we have this team, because he's a really big nerd and he wanted to do it, and his dad was like 'You know what? I'll support you, I'll make this happen,' and he did, and now we're all here. We're so grateful, not only for Owen being such a big nerd, but also for his dad always continuing to support our team. I know he was hesitant because Owen is away in university, so I know Kevin was hesitant to do this year because Owen isn't here, but he still did it and we're super grateful because it was such a good time and we did really well."

Cunningham told council about the bond the team has formed.

"It taught us how to work as a team. We're kind of like family, we see each other a lot and, for better or for worse, we're kind of stuck with each other through competitions and we've learned to work together, learned to work with other teams. It's just been really fun."

More information on the Stratobots can be seen on their Twitter page.