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Madison
03-25-2003, 11:59 AM
This weekend passed, at the SBPLI Long Island Regional, I was asked by their advisor to no longer support Team 810 because I refused to apologize to her for the comments I made in this thread (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19305&perpage=15&highlight=loss%20of%20gracious%20professionalism&pagenumber=1).

I am appalled and ashamed at the way our guest was treated, and my posts were the culmination of several months of frustration, anger, pain and sadness as a result of my involvement on Team 810. The details of this are considerably more involved than many people know and are more a result of personal prejudice and inappropriate comments and behavior than any common team politics. So, please refrain from making any comments about such team politics, as you most assuredly don't know all of the facts.

I did everything I could to lead by example, both by my actions as a mentor and by my actions as an individual. I don't expect that the students should follow in my footsteps as their advisor so fears, but that they will take with them the impact I have had despite the adversity that I face. I wanted, above all else, to show them that they didn't have to sacrifice dignity, self-respect, individuality or conviction to succeed. Just as FIRST was started with the notion of presenting engineers as an alternative role model, I wanted to take that noble goal one step further and introduce them to worth of engineers and all humanity. I wanted to exhibit to them the importance of understanding that we can't all understand one another, but that our input and achievements -- and our failures -- hold no greater significance than those of anyone else. We're all equal, even though it doesn't always seem that way.

I may not have succeeded. I can't be the judge of that.

So, now, with those events behind me, I'm re-examining my involvement in FIRST and trying to decide how I want to approach my future involvement in this program.

I've been considering the notion of operating as something of a FIRST mercenary, if you will. That is, I would be willing to make myself available in any capacity to any team that requires assistance. If a team is overwhelmed, or lacks engineering support, or just has some ideas for an off-season project that need guidance, I would make myself available to help them.

Is there a market for such people? I understand there may be some hesitancy to turn over part of your robot's design to someone you've never met, and that's not something I can provide an easy solution for.

Similarly, I've thought about creating a series of turn-key solutions for FIRST teams. Just as CD has its White Papers, I've considered maintaining a website that acts as a depository of off-the-shelf robot components. That is, I would sit around all day thinking stuff up, designing it, creating drawings and a bill of materials, and posting it to the web for anyone to use. The primary difference I see that separates this from a White Paper is the possibility of publishing 'unproven' design concepts. Where team's often post White Papers of robot components they've already used, I'd also be interested in developing new designs and concepts for daring teams to try.

Is this something anyone would be interested in? Or, does it step on CD's toes a bit too much with regard to their white papers?

Finally, I could just go off and start a team; or maybe join an existing team. I've already had some offers along these lines, and I appreciate each of them. It seems that in my community, I have a reputation for being some amazing engineer -- but, I doubt that my skills even approach those of some of CD's more acclaimed, educated users.

So, honestly, with my history of achievements and failures, controversy and success, would I be the sort of person you'd welcome to your team?

I once had a pie in the sky vision that FIRST teams would accefpt any volunteer help, especially where the person was dedicated, driven, and experienced. I have now been taught otherwise, but I'm curious to learn exactly how ubiquitous the sentiment of my former team is amongst other FIRST teams.

Any advice or criticism is welcomed. I'm really a bit lost now that I don't have any real function or reason to be in the FIRST community. Thanks for your time.

Cory
03-25-2003, 12:06 PM
That would be a very very cool idea Maddie. I would love to see aplace with designs for robotics related stuff for any team to try out and see if they can get it to work/improve on it.

Cory

Brandon Martus
03-25-2003, 12:20 PM
Originally posted by M. Krass
... maintaining a website that acts as a depository of off-the-shelf robot components.

... of publishing 'unproven' design concepts.

Is this something anyone would be interested in?

Or, does it step on CD's toes a bit too much with regard to their white papers?



I think that's a good idea. No toes would be stepped on, since you would be publishing unproven concepts. Even so, I don't think you can ever have too many resources. I could see this being especially helpful for those teams who don't have the resources/technical-know-how to do certain things.

Joe Matt
03-25-2003, 12:34 PM
Off-the-shelf robot componenets.... intresting...

I have known you through posts since the first day M, and I can say I'm sorry for you leaving. I can guess what some of your problems are, but I'm not going to make decisions based on that.

But if you need help with the site I can help you. I think if we can get this and possably some 'plug & play' programing on your proposed site that would be a huge beniffit to the FIRST community. Rookie teams can find a solution to an idea they have from a component on your site.

I like it.

DougHogg
03-25-2003, 12:37 PM
If you are ever in the Los Angeles area, we would love some help.

In addition to anything else you do with a web site, etc, I would suggest hooking up with a team somewhere, just from the viewpoint of staying connected to the game, students, other mentors, etc. Figure out what you really like to do in FIRST and then find a team that needs or wants someone in that capacity.

That's my suggestion.

Ben Mitchell
03-25-2003, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by M. Krass
This weekend passed, at the SBPLI Long Island Regional, I was asked by their advisor to no longer support Team 810 because I refused to apologize to her for the comments I made in this thread (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19305&perpage=15&highlight=loss%20of%20gracious%20professionalism&pagenumber=1).


It says a lot for the content of your character, for sticking to your morals, and not backing down. I would consider it to be the team's loss, and not yours.

I think that your idea would be pretty neat - Ken's idea of a college-level FIRSTer's club might tie in very well with yours: you both could merge them, and the result could be a think tank for ideas from people who currently are not in high school, but still want to be a part of FIRST.

I think it's a great idea.

Matt Reiland
03-25-2003, 04:14 PM
I know of quite a few teams that are looking for someone, anyone, to help them with mechanics and design of the robot. There are many teams out there that will thank you for your time and respect it. I am sure all teams out there have had their problems, we have, but after helping other teams here and there and actually having people thank you and realize you didn't have to, it makes you come back and do it again.

andy
03-25-2003, 04:52 PM
Wow that sounds really amazing
I would like to thank you and all other volunteers that devote time to FIRST and teams of FIRST. Without people like you it would be very difficult to build a successful robot. Remember that thanks to NASA many rookie teams joined this year and many will next year thanks to those teams and NASA. Your help would be appreiciated by many of those rookie (and vet.) teams. We for one, while we feel that our robot will be competitive we would have liked some help designing the drive train and other componants of our robot. If we had an expirienced engineer we could take our initial ideas to hin/her and ask if it is feasable with the parts we have. We for one had a drive train that could have worked the first time-if we hade more powerful motors. A mentor could have told us that our design would not work with our current design. Please don't get discouraged by that team, (i dont know the whole story) look to other teams. We would love your help. Thank you again.
-Andy

Al Skierkiewicz
03-25-2003, 09:58 PM
Reading about this "divorce" and other posts, cuts me like a knife. Cooperating is one of the most difficult things to do when adult volunteers get together to lead young people. In all my years as a FIRST volunteer and before that as a Scout leader, I have seen clashes between adults. They occur, albeit sporadically, to my amazement. All too frequently, the clashes come about because someone with too little sleep is in a stressful situation and doesn't know how to handle the last straw that comes their way. That one incident should not affect a long relationship between adults and certainly not be at the detriment of the students. M Krass, I ask you to consider whether the team will be better off without you, will the students learn as much from your absence, what will the team have learned from this. I know there are some truly impossible people out there and it is possible that one may have filtered onto a FIRST team. Those people don't last long in FIRST or they change.
Gracious Professionalism is not just so many words for me. (GP actually sums up the Scout Law into a single phrase. FIRST students are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave) When I speak to new students about GP (and especially FLL students) I tell them it is not enough to act like their grandmother is watching, they have to act like my grandmother is watching. I am grateful that the adults on the team I volunteer for feel just as strongly and I hope that we are passing these ideas on to our students.
So much for being on the soapbox for tonight. I am sure you will shine wherever you end up. Good luck in all you do.

Madison
03-26-2003, 10:03 AM
Originally posted by Al Skierkiewicz
M Krass, I ask you to consider whether the team will be better off without you, will the students learn as much from your absence, what will the team have learned from this. I know there are some truly impossible people out there and it is possible that one may have filtered onto a FIRST team. Those people don't last long in FIRST or they change.


The answer is no, categorically. I haven't ever doubted that. If I didn't think my presence made for a better experience for the team and its students, I shouldn't have ever been there in the first place.

The only thing I hope they learn from any of this is that, sometimes, there arise issues of personal safety and happiness about which there can be no compromise.

My split from 810 isn't as a result of a petty team disagreement, but from many months of perpetual insults and hurtful, unsolicited "advice" from their advisor about my life and my future -- at times, bordering on "discrimination" (in quotes because the federal government says it's okay to discriminate against me, and I'd rather not go into detail.)

It's with great regret that I have had to distance myself from the students and the team, really. They provided me with amazing opportunities to influence them and teach them about what I've learned in life and engineering, and they also gave me an amazing outlet for my ideas and experiments. I don't know if I'll be so fortunate as to find so many opportunities ever again. But, until something about the administration of the team is changed, there is no chance that I will subject myself to the same abuse.



So much for being on the soapbox for tonight. I am sure you will shine wherever you end up. Good luck in all you do.

Thank you. I hope you're right, and I hope that as the season ends and the cycle begins again, I'll find someplace to be and something to do that allows me to continue trying to be a valuable asset and contributor to FIRST and its teams.