How much student commitment does our team require?
We expect to see students on a regular basis. We recognize that not every student will be available for every meeting all of the time. However, students need to be active on a regular basis to have some idea of what is going on, fit in, and contribute.
Our standard team meeting times are:
Saturdays, 10 am - 4 pm
Wednesdays, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Our meeting times and frequency will vary depending on our season.
We are active in June and July each summer with routine meetings. Some of our existing students will take the summer off, which is okay. As summer is our main recruiting period, we encourage interested students and their families to check out our team. We have an off-season competition at the end of July for which students will be working on a robot in preparation for, in addition to some outreach activities. The July competition is a full day on a Saturday. However, there is an option for families to help set up and do robot practice Friday evening.
During August, we won’t have regular meetings. However, we will be doing some outreach activities and hosting an open house.
Fall is the warm up for our main season. In September through mid-October, we will be doing training activities, and bonding as a team. We will also finalize our registrations for the coming season during this period. We often limit our meetings to half-day (10 am - 1 pm) Saturday meetings during this period, with some training activities for portions of the team outside of those meetings.
Starting in late October, we will start our first build season. Our team will design, build, and program a mini-bot for a small robotics competition hosted by a local team. We will revert to our typical Saturday full-day (10 am - 4 pm) and Wednesday evening (6:30 pm - 8:30 pm) schedule. We will have additional meetings during Thanksgiving week. The competition is typically held on the first Saturday in December. After the competition, we typically have no meetings for the rest of the year, except for some limited training activities.
Winter through Early Spring
The official FIRST Robotics Competition starts with season kick-off, typically the first Saturday after New Years Day. This is when the team gets serious. In addition to the regular meetings, we will have additional meetings to support specific tasks. During the final weeks of build, it is not unusual to have students working on the robot six days a week. However, not all students are typically involved all six days. There is flexibility.
NOTE: For the 2019-2020 season, we had some extra evenings for some students, depending on their role, but not that many extra evenings were needed. We actually had a somewhat calm and under control season. But each season is different.
We typically compete in two main season competitions each year, usually sometime in March or early April. The competitions are on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule roughly as follows:
Wednesday evening, load-in and set-up (only a few team members are required).
Thursday all-day, continue set-up and work on robot, testing, last minute programming, and maybe even some practice matches (only part of the team is needed, others are welcome). We typically host a team meal in the evening at our hotel.
Friday all-day, qualifying matches.
Saturday all-day, qualifying matches in the morning, finals in the afternoon.
We encourage the entire time to show up for Friday and Saturday. Drive-team, pit crew, programming, and safety need to be present for Thursday. Wednesday evening is generally limited to just 5 students.
Several of our students, with a mentor available for guidance, make last minute additions to the robot.