Commitment

How much student commitment does our team require?

Student Attendance

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. For the 2022-2023 season, we expect students to put in 85 hours from October through our first main season competition.

Our standard team meeting times are:

  • Saturdays, 10 am - 4 pm

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Our meeting times and frequency will vary depending on our season.

Parent/Family Adult Commitment

Supporting a FIRST Robotics Competition team requires a lot of commitment. Our key mentors routinely put in 10-20 hours per week to support our team in addition to having full-time jobs. We ask that family adults also help support  and be engaged with our team.

We ask the following of families:

  • When dropping off or picking up a student, come inside and say “Hi!”

  • Help provide team meals during the season and help clean up after lunch. 

  • Show up for at least part of team meeting three times prior to our main competitions.

  • Assist with non-meeting activities such as fundraising.

Summer

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

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 Saturday meetings full-day (10 am - 4 pm ) 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 continue our typical Saturday full-day meetings  and start having Tuesday and Thursday evening (6:30 pm - 8:30 pm) meetings. 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.

Main Competitions

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 - additional people will get in the way).

  • 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.

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A student works on the wiring on the robot in preparation for competition.