Captains are the student leaders officially in charge of the 4311 Swampscott Currents. There are many leadership opportunities on the team that do not require a captain title, however, the captain designation is meant to provide team structure and recognize those who have put an exceptional amount of work into 4311. Captains oversee projects, work together to coordinate the team, provide specialized insight into engineering issues, and act as role models for younger members. Each subteam has a respective captain, meaning there are typically four captains.
Mentors are the ones who officially appoint new captains. However, because current captains have a thorough understanding of other members' contributions, captains nominate students for available captain roles. Mentors assess the captains' evaluation and decide whether to award said students with the captain title. Captains should seek to nominate members who have exhibited excellent leadership and commitment to 4311. Members must be nominated for the position that corresponds to their subteam.
Responsibilities of captains
Each year, captains work to improve the team and ensure its success at competition. Captains are responsible for:
Implementing all team guidelines listed on this Wiki and certifying that they are upheld.
Identifying weaknesses of 4311 and devising/implementing plans to address them.
Fulfilling all of the responsibilities of their respective subteams, and overseeing any projects that their subteams are working on.
Working to create and fill leadership positions for other members.
Coordinating with other captains to allow for a cohesive, unified team.
Placing tasks on the Crockalockin' Board for members to complete.
Working with other members to complete Crockalockin' tasks.
Scheduling, planning, and leading team meetings.
Updating this Wiki with subteam information that may be useful in the future (like how a climbing mechanism was built in a past year).
Updating this Wiki with any necessary changes to the team guidelines.
Preparing the team for their graduation by training younger members to fill their role.
Nominating new members for available captain positions.
Captains are encouraged to work with other members to accomplish these goals; they are not captain-exclusive. However, captains hold direct responsibility for seeing that all of the above goals are completed.
There are many different ways to lead 4311 and be an effective captain. In order to do the best possible job, however, there are two traits on which a captain must focus. First, captains must seek to be inspiring, motivating leaders. The successful operation of the Swampscott Currents involves many different groups of people working together, and captains are the ones who ensure that each group has proper direction. This means that captains should organize their subteams into smaller groups and coordinate said groups as they complete tasks. Captains must be able to appoint other members to do projects under their supervision - they cannot complete all of their subteams' work by themselves! Secondly, captains need to be forward-looking, always seeking to improve the team. Simply building a robot, going to competition, and coming home means very little if the team has learned nothing from it. Captains should actively look for shortcomings in 4311 - a lack of organization, for example, or poor member training - and attempt to fix such issues. In this manner, captains leave a permanent mark on the team, enabling 4311 to perform better each year.
Improvement can be achieved in multiple fashions. In past years, though, the team has chosen to hold "debrief" meetings at the season's end to discuss performance. From those discussions, at least one captain wrote proposal(s) detailing how 4311 could be improved. Written proposals are a very useful method for goal setting, as they allow for immutable planning which can be acted upon later. Therefore, written proposals are the preferred method for enacting large-scale change on the 4311 Swampscott Currents.