Updated: May 30, 2019
The majority of our team expenses are for things which the entire team uses. We have very few expenses which are per student. However, we do have one expense which is dependent upon on the number of students we have. Namely, our team “uniforms” or shirts. In addition, since re-branding in 2016, we have been experimenting with various options to outfit our team. We’re gradually settling on consistent set of team wear.
The above photo shows members of our team in the pit at the 2018 Central Illinois Regional competition. All but one individual, a visitor, in our pit area was actually wearing a team T-shirt. However, all but two individuals had covered up their team T-shirts to varying degrees. Why? A simple desire to keep warm won out over team pride.
For 2018 - 2019…
We much better for the 2018 - 2019 season. We outfitted our team with royal blue RedKap work shirts, a season-specific T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts meant to be worn underneath the work shirts. The long-sleeve T-shirts under the work shirts provided a readily identifiable bright color allowing us to more easily find our team. With only one exception, students did not cover up their team wear. But then again, both of our competitions venues ended up being considerably warmer than the prior year.
So… What’s Planned for the 2019 - 2020 Season?
We plan on doing something similar to what we did last year by outfitting our team with:
A RedKap work shirt
A season-specific T-shirt
A long-sleeve T-shirt
We will likely make some refinements such as using a T-shirt color which will be the same for both the short-sleeve and long-sleeve T-shirts. In addition, we may provide an option to obtain a sweat-shirt.
What About Pants?
Many teams have pants as part of their uniforms. We would prefer to not go that route as doing so significantly adds to the logistics of outfitting the team. In addition, we want to allow families to determine what fits best for their students. However, in the spirit of obtaining some degree of consistency, we will have a pants dress code for the cold weather events as follows:
Indigo Blue Color (i.e., standard blue jeans color)
For summer events, students may wear whatever necessary to stay comfortable. Shorts would be fine.
How Are We Paying for This?
Like the 2018 - 2019, the team doesn’t have sufficient funding to outfit the team as desired on it’s own. Outfitting the team as desired would cost several thousand dollars. (We’re estimating $3,500 based on 35 students x $100 per student.) One of our primary sponsors, Caterpillar, provides the majority of cash funding for our team. One of Caterpillar’s values, which we are aligned with, is that students should be able to participate independent of their family’s financial situation. As such, we will not impose a fee for a student to become a member.
However, a majority of our team families can contribute a modest amount towards the team. We ask team families to provide a suggested $100 donation to our “Outfitting the Team” fund. Please note that $100 is less than fees charged for many robotics teams and high school extra-curricular activities. (A local robotics organization charges a $450 fee for students to be part of team that works on smaller (i.e., less expensive) robots. Another local FIRST Robotics Competition team charges families a $1,000 fee for students to be part of their team.)
So how are we going to make this work? We will ask families to make a recommended donation to an outfitting the team fund.