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Mama Roboto
03-16-2008, 05:35 PM
I am new to writing into Chief Delphi although I have been tracking many posts as this is our team's rookie season (Team 2374). I am in the process of putting together a proposal to our school for next year's budget. We have 2 major issues:

1) Fundraising: we are a private Jesuit high school that relies heavily on fundraising to support our school in general. The administration at our school (I am a physics teacher) is concerned that if we fundraise specifically for the robotics team that it might take away from other fundraising efforts (for example, financial aid) or other programs (like sports).

2) Practice Location: this year, we used our physics classroom as well as a aircraft machine shop to construct our robot. Unfortunately, the classroom does not offer the space, has security issues, and we spend a good portion of our time setting up/cleaning up. The machine shop we used was about 45 minutes away, limiting many team members from getting down there.

So, I was wondering if any of you have advice about fundraising (specifically as a private school) and a practice location (how many of you practice offsite? Do you rent a location?).

I am putting together a proposal for our school, and I have been told that in order for the robotics program to continue it needs to be a sustainable, viable program.

Your advice is greatly appreciated!

IBdrummer
03-16-2008, 07:30 PM
I wish I could tell you how to help fundraise within the private school, but for practice I would try and see if you could grab a part of a gym and then roll up your carpet and feild construction into a corner. If not, try and see if there is a decent size unused area in any nearby school/college or even just a place that would help out with the cause

Wayne C.
03-16-2008, 07:39 PM
Our team reserves our Auxiliary gym a year in advance for the weekends for the build season. We set up on Friday after all the sports teams have done and take down Sunday night. That gives us 2 full days of practice time in a regulation sized field area.

I generally need to wrangle with the athletic department for this but I do it well before any of them even know they have a season to play and therefore beat them out on the first come-first served basis. As the team teacher and head coach I can do this for my team but I am not sure how successful a non-employee would be. Of course taking care of the facilities people over the years also helps when we need the extra hours. Everybody in our school has team 25 shirts.

This season team 103, the Cybersonics, generously invited us over to their field for practice and it set our team on a new mission. Their school built them a building and they have a permanent practice field and work area. We are jealous!!

But I am approaching our powers that be with the argument that every other major school team has a field/court/pool/stage to play in. I have my parent group looking into it. I have prefab building quotes for about $30K and I have suggestions from my facilities folks where we might erect a building. I've already told the boss that if this project comes to be I will put off retirement for a few years to see it through. So team 25 has a new mission for 2008-2009. I'm getting my grant writing resources in gear. Wish us luck.

WC

Uberbots
03-16-2008, 09:20 PM
I cant help you with the fundraising things...

we have some space in a local warehouse that the owner, Reflexite, donated to us. we are able to fit a full-sized field and a workshop in it, so its definitely a good deal.
So, i would suggest looking for local warehouses who would be willing to donate/rent to you guys. they usually have forklifts inside to move the heavy equipment, too (=

Jim E
03-16-2008, 09:47 PM
Practice Locations are non-existent for us too, but we seldom have time left in our build season to practice anyway! It usually ends up outside on the parking lot with a small piece of carpeting.

As far as fundraising, we have had some success. Most of the funds are collected by the students. For information on how they do it, go visit:

www.marsbot.org.

It is difficult to give you specific information here on fundraising since a lot will depend on your geographic location and resources available in your community.
Good Luck!

pafwl
03-16-2008, 09:52 PM
1) Fundraising: we are a private Jesuit high school that relies heavily on fundraising to support our school in general. The administration at our school (I am a physics teacher) is concerned that if we fundraise specifically for the robotics team that it might take away from other fundraising efforts (for example, financial aid) or other programs (like sports).

We are a Catholic High School in Pennsylvania. We have been involved in FIRST for 11 years. We have the same problem. Please visit our web site at www.frc272.com to see our FLL competition. We have run a tune-up competition for 10 years. Last year hosted 55 teams. Our studenst are the referees, queuers, announcers, scorers, video, DJ, etc. We make about $4000 per year. We also do a hoagie (sandwich, hero, subs) sale. We make and sell 1500 sandwiches to sell at the local parishes after mass on Super Bowl Sunday morning. We make about $5000 at that.

Both of these are things that others in the school or area do not do so we have no competition. We are now known for these.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Rick TYler
03-16-2008, 09:56 PM
I have a suggestion: switch to FTC. You would probably field 2-4 FTC teams, you can build the robots in a conference room (we do), and the lighter financial commitment may alleviate the concerns of your administrators. The experience for the student may actually be better in FTC since more students will be hands-on with driving, programming and construction. If you have questions about what it's like going from FRC to FTC, feel free to ask on the forum or PM me.

EDITED TO ADD: Hands-on experience. On our three FTC teams, we have about 20 students. Nine of them are drivers and coaches. Four of them program. Three are team leaders, and one is the Post president. No one is limited to the "marketing team" or the "crate building team." Everyone designs robots, everyone builds robots. I've found it's far more involving for the average student on the team than our old FRC team. YMMV, but don't make the mistake of thinking that switching to FTC is a step backwards.

EDITED AGAIN: I thought FRC was and is a lot of fun. Loving FTC isn't rejecting FRC. Some people love football, others love baseball. Both are great sports, but they definitely have different strengths and weaknesses.

Mama Roboto
03-17-2008, 12:06 AM
Thanks for your prompt responses. It is interesting to hear different stories from such experienced teams. I think finding a warehouse might be a good idea. There are a lot of business people that send their kids to the school I teach at, so maybe we can find something that will be reasonable (like a tax write off). The FTC option is interesting too. I originally thought of starting with an FTC team and even registered. Once my students visited a local school (Team 1540, the Flaming Chickens) and saw their robots and video footage, they were sold on trying for the FRC team.

In regards to funding, I think we have a number of potential sponsors, it's just a matter of the school allowing it to come in and specify it to robotics. I have heard the argument that our budget is more than any other activity on campus (this year, they gave us a $9000 budget, although we raised $14000 and spent $11000). Of course, I was surprised to hear this considering we have a very successful sports and drama program. However, the coaching, equipment, and field expenses come out of different funds. So, it is just about shuffling money around.

Anyways, thanks to your responses and I would welcome any further comments!

Cooley744
03-17-2008, 12:14 AM
a church's fellowship hall can be useful for running the robot. they will probably have multiple big rooms which can be cleared of its tables or whatever else it might have.

EricH
03-17-2008, 12:26 AM
a church's fellowship hall can be useful for running the robot. they will probably have multiple big rooms which can be cleared of its tables or whatever else it might have.
Each has to evaluated individually. At my church, there are only four rooms that I'd really consider running a robot in: the sanctuary (stage included), the O.V. room (fellowship hall), and the warehouse and main floor of the empty grocery store next to the church (which the church owns). I've also run a demo in another church but the robot didn't move (not enough room). That was 2006 (where shooting balls was the way to score).

JYang
03-17-2008, 01:33 AM
as for the funding is concerned, you do not have to just fundraise. if your school is unwilling to let the team go out and fundraise, you can always go around to companies to ask for grants or look for government/ corporation grants that are specifically set aside for programs such as FIRST. that way your school should not worry about taking money away from other groups.

for practice, see if you can get a piece of carpet and practice in the gym / library of your school. many other teams set up in an open space outside (such as a parking lot) and practice there.