PDA

View Full Version : FiM is NOT FIRST


Beth Sweet
10-30-2008, 10:48 AM
It has been about 2 months now since FIRST was bombarded by this new FiM which until that time, had been a well-kept secret. When I first read the thread and through the documentation, I chose to defer my thoughts until I was able to think with my head instead of my heart. It has taken 2 months, but I finally feel that I have been able to look at this based on the facts that FiM has given. What follows are the thoughts that I've composed.

------------------------------------
This year, there was a new program created called FIRST in Michigan (FiM). All Michigan FRC teams were required to participate in it if they wanted to participate in FIRST. FiM, however, is not the same thing as FIRST. It is truly a separate organization with a fully different set of values. FiM is seen by anyone outside of the committee which formed it, as an attempt to turn FIRST into OCCRA. (For those unfamiliar with OCCRA, please see the OCCRA section of the CD forums; in short it is a purely robot organization encompassing SE Michigan) FiM does not have respect, nor care, about any awards outside of robot/technical.

While some may say the above statement is biased, FiM has said it in its actions. Technical awards are worth more than twice of non-“culture changing” non-technical awards. FiM has set up this system to evaluate based on points. As such, their point allocation dictates their values.

Awards
All Technical Awards * 5 points
Other Judged Awards** 2 points
FIRST Culture Transforming Awards*** 0 points

* Industrial Design, Quality, Driving Tomorrow's Technology, Innovation in Control, Creativity
** Chrysler Team Spirit, Highest Rookie Seed, Imagery, Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism, Judges Award, Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety, Website
*** Chairman’s Award, Engineering Inspiration, Rookie All-Star, Woodie Flowers, Entrepreneurship, Autodesk Visualization
Unspecified which category: Autodesk Inventor

The data above comes from FiM’s .pdf file which it sent out to Michigan teams, the first time any of us found out that we would not be allowed to participate in FIRST Robotics this year. As you can see above, “Other Judged Awards” are worth less than half of what “Technical Awards” are. That means, that in the mind of FiM, being the most Graciously Professional team in the entire competition is worth less than half of having the best designed electronics board. What absolutely terrifies me, is that I have it on fairly good authority that the FIRST Board of Directors has approved this system. Apparently the FIRST Board of Directors no longer values gracious professionalism either, at least not even half as much as an Industrially Designed robot.

What really upsets me, is that this new program which teams who want to be a part of FIRST are required to participate in, thinks that “Culture Transforming Awards” are the least valuable in the entire competition. The Chairman’s Award, which FIRST has preached for years to be the most important, and the most coveted, is worth absolutely nothing. 0 points go toward the team effort, and all that these all important “Culture Transforming Awards” do is qualify only the team for states for 1 award. A “Technical Award” gives a team effort 5 points toward the States, and qualifies a team for that award at states.

FIRST in Michigan is an entirely different program than FIRST. Perhaps the people who have started this organization can create their own organization, which, similar to OCCRA, may operate separately of FIRST. I want to participate in FIRST, where the hours upon hours I spend teaching my students about gracious professionalism, and helping them perfect their Chairman’s submission and presentation, are actually worth something. The detrimental effects of this program will linger. I have been told these point allocations are written in stone for this year, that they will not be changed. The FIRST Board of Directors needs to take a face full of cold water and reconsider their approval of this program. The damaging long term effects of this “experimental pilot” could take years to reverse. If those who are in charge of the FiM organization are to be the ones who evaluate the program, this catastrophe could continue on for years to come. What FiM is doing will ruin the FIRST program in Michigan, I do not doubt this for a second. If FiM wants a purely robot program, by all means, create one. If FiM wants a lower cost program, by all means create one. But if FiM wants to get their way but knows well that no one will buy their line so they’re going to force their way onto teams who want to participate in the real FIRST, well, I’m officially going on the record that I’m not ok with that.

JVN
10-30-2008, 11:44 AM
How much are you paraphrasing, and how much is the actual verbage released by FiM?

Beth Sweet
10-30-2008, 12:12 PM
How much are you paraphrasing, and how much is the actual verbage released by FiM?

Awards
All Technical Awards * 5 points
Other Judged Awards** 2 points
FIRST Culture Transforming Awards*** 0 points

* Industrial Design, Quality, Driving Tomorrow's Technology, Innovation in Control, Creativity
** Chrysler Team Spirit, Highest Rookie Seed, Imagery, Johnson & Johnson Gracious Professionalism, Judges Award, Underwriters Laboratories Industrial Safety, Website
*** Chairmanís Award, Engineering Inspiration, Rookie All-Star, Woodie Flowers, Entrepreneurship, Autodesk Visualization
Unspecified which category: Autodesk Inventor

From the above, the number of points was not included on the list for FIRST Culture Transforming Awards, however in words, it is later told to not be worth points, as such, I put that in. For the Award lists, the Technical Awards were listed as were the Culture Transforming. Other was listed as all awards except Technical and Culture, so I went through last year's award list and included those not listed in either category. Those items italicized above and in my original post are pulled from the .pdf document. The non-italicized portion is taken from my conversations with FiM members (Board and otherwise) and implications of the .pdf file.

Justin Montois
11-23-2008, 02:25 AM
I am going to have to agree. I think that FiM from what I can read, and no one from FiM is coming forward to refute this, is that FiM basically wants a robotics program that is more robot based then the CULTURE CHANGING (How can you call it that, and then award it zero points. I guess they feel changing culture is bad?) aspect of FIRST but FiM dosen't have the teams, sponsors and high schools that don't already have FRC teams, in order to have a big enough program. So the solution they came up with was to come up with this pilot program essentially forcing teams into their program. I'll also officially go on the record that I’m not ok with most of what's being done in this "Pilot"

I can live with the change in format. I'm not really happy about it because I love the regionals, I love having the option of going anywhere in the country(world?) to compete. I do like the increased number of matches played. I think that's one of the things that FiM is right about.

I know that generally people are resistant to change. And most of the people that I have talked to about this program have a very negative reaction to it. I think FIRST needs to really think long and hard about continuing this program in other states.

If it works in Michigan, then keep it there. Let them have their competition's and the rest of the FIRST community will be happy to recognize the best teams by allowing them to compete at Championships. I don't think this "pilot" should be use anywhere else until a group of teams feels it's necessary for their state.

Burmeister #279
11-23-2008, 05:18 PM
what do you mean "not allowed to participate in FIRST"? i'm confuzzled, though i understand the rest of your argument.

Akash Rastogi
11-23-2008, 05:41 PM
Although I do agree with some of yor points, it is still FIRST if the students are still being Inspired to partake in Science and Technology. When you say that FiM is not FIRSt, it sounds like you are implying that the true goals of FIRST are not being realized, which I do not think holds true in the case of FiM being compared to the rest of the FIRST world.

Even still, I sincerely wish all Michigan teams the best of luck this season and hope that they find the good in this transition, and "experiment" as I've heard it called before, along with the bad.*

*I don't want the concept of FiM either, btw. Just want you to clarify what you are implying in terms of FiM not being FIRST.

colin340
11-24-2008, 09:05 AM
i agree FiM is in my opinion will change the whole first experience and not for the better.

why i disagree
-like it or not the the chairman's award is the core of first and by down playing it you will see First start to change in to a scary mix of battle bots and science Olympiad i mean the fact that they want chairman's award to come and just present is really weird it feels like they are almost being punished the chairman's award is about your whole team about your robot about you team about your actions in the heat of a match about your design they say it about you presentation but we all know it about your team as a package
-cross-state relations a great part of First, meeting people from other teams in other state is one of my favorite things(like getting to hang out with teams like moe and hot) and by make it so different state teams could only meet at nationals would it would greatly hinder these relationship
-regional quality if you have ever been to FLR you will know what i mean i don't want to compete in a high school gym i like that fact the thing are like that theres enuf room, that it feels safe and theres tons of seats ( i don't mean to brag but they do i really nice job)

i like more matches but not at the cost of the whole feel of first

i like what 340x4xLife said "
If it works in Michigan, then keep it there. Let them have their competition's and the rest of the FIRST community will be happy to recognize the best teams by allowing them to compete at Championships. I don't think this "pilot" should be use anywhere else until a group of teams feels it's necessary for their state."

Folks please don't follow first blindly THINK about it and speak your mind this is going to be the first time the team will have to stand up for there Ideas in order to keep First-First

think-Dean would want you to

Joe Matt
11-24-2008, 11:51 AM
To put it simply: FIRST has sold out.

They've exchanged their values and ideas for more money and exposure.

Carol
11-24-2008, 12:46 PM
If you don't agree with FiM, but want to see FIRST grow to include most if not all of the schools in the nation, and expand worldwide, how would you manage the growth? If FIRST (FRC that is) expands to 10,000 teams (versus the current 1300-1500), do you think that the current model would still be workable?

How many regionals would you need to handle this number? Even assuming that each team can go to only one regional, with 80 teams at each regional, you would need 125 regionals. How many matches would you get? So how many teams would qualify for Championships? And how would you judge Chairman's Award from 125 entries? How about the other awards? How often would you even get to see certain teams, let alone compete against or with them.

It's easy to say "this is changing everything and I don't like it", but unless you want to freeze the number of teams, something will change. So, instead of griping, I challenge you to suggest better, workable solutions.


P.S. I picked 10,000 teams because FLL is projecting over 13,000 teams this year. And they are facing a lot of the challenges listed above.

EricH
11-24-2008, 01:13 PM
If you don't agree with FiM, but want to see FIRST grow to include most if not all of the schools in the nation, and expand worldwide, how would you manage the growth? If FIRST (FRC that is) expands to 10,000 teams (versus the current 1300-1500), do you think that the current model would still be workable?

FiM's methods, but WIDE OPEN and with the Culture Changing awards rated much higher than zero.

The main thing that annoyed me initially was that this was sprung suddenly on the teams and required--you had to be in it to compete at all. After seeing this thread, add that they're not counting the culture change awards as they should. And, after the early manual release, the confusion created by the Awards section (there is a thread on this elsewhere).

If they'd been more open, and had said, "Hey, we want to do this, what do you think?" it would be another story. Everyone could have put input in and (hopefully) had it used to make this better.

With 10,000 teams, the current model isn't workable. But the FiM model seems to be already in place in a number of other events (BB, BEST, etc.). What sets FIRST apart is mentor involvement and Gracious Professionalism. If you're not going to include those, or you're only going to pay them lip service, you may as well go to the other events. They're cheaper, and you do the same basic thing, build a robot.

colin340
11-25-2008, 11:21 AM
If you don't agree with FiM, but want to see FIRST grow to include most if not all of the schools in the nation, and expand worldwide, how would you manage the growth? If FIRST (FRC that is) expands to 10,000 teams (versus the current 1300-1500), do you think that the current model would still be workable?

How many regionals would you need to handle this number? Even assuming that each team can go to only one regional, with 80 teams at each regional, you would need 125 regionals. How many matches would you get? So how many teams would qualify for Championships? And how would you judge Chairman's Award from 125 entries? How about the other awards? How often would you even get to see certain teams, let alone compete against or with them.

It's easy to say "this is changing everything and I don't like it", but unless you want to freeze the number of teams, something will change. So, instead of griping, I challenge you to suggest better, workable solutions.


P.S. I picked 10,000 teams because FLL is projecting over 13,000 teams this year. And they are facing a lot of the challenges listed above.

first of all, it's great to see that many people willing to disagree with FIRST is also great to see no one flipping out and claiming that were being un-GP

Carol-you bring up a great point here, but I have to disagree I feel that rather than producing thousands more teams in these economic times will be nearly impossible. In that rather than starting tons more teams. We need to work to elevate more teams to be more MOE we need to work to advance rookie teams of 10 kids two veteran teams of 50 or 60 kids, teens need to work to consolidate, I feel, we all need to work to make sure that the kids, who want to be on a first-team can join the team that is not necessarily based in their own school. right now . I personally don't see first getting anywhere close to a team in every school but rather a large team in every city/town

I know that transportation in some areas could be an issue, but what is more expensive. A 2-month bus pass or a small team?

FIRST-stop trying to cut costs and quality and encourage teams to recruit more members from a larger area and and build a stronger more competitive team. and work harder to go international!!!

colin340
11-25-2008, 11:24 AM
To put it simply: FIRST has sold out.

They've exchanged their values and ideas for more money and exposure.

Joe well, you may believe this to be true, but extreme statements like that are the sort of things that will turn people away from graciously disagreeing with FiM

artdutra04
11-25-2008, 11:34 AM
If you don't agree with FiM, but want to see FIRST grow to include most if not all of the schools in the nation, and expand worldwide, how would you manage the growth? If FIRST (FRC that is) expands to 10,000 teams (versus the current 1300-1500), do you think that the current model would still be workable?That's a hard question.

But if FIRST has to sacrifice their ideals and values* just to grow the program, that's not healthy growth. That's cancer.


* FiM is a robot competition. It's not a culture-changing competition that happens to use robots as a vehicle for inspiration.

GaryVoshol
11-25-2008, 12:38 PM
FiM originally set up 16 districts, envisioning an eventual 16 district tournaments. If every tournament were allowed to send Chairman's, IE and Rookie All-Star winners to the State Championship, there wouldn't be enough room to send the winning alliance from each district. Thus the culture changing awards category was created. This year there are 7 district tournaments, so the capacity could have been there, but it would mean changing the structure as more and more districts are added.

I think they went overboard in how they decided to resolve that, though. There's no reason a culture-changing award couldn't be given high points in the overall scheme. Winning Chairman's at the district should get you at least as many points as winning the robot competition. Winning a robot quality award should be equal to winning a team organization quality award (ie. entrepreneurship). In most cases, there won't be teams that are "robot teams" vs those that are "culture teams". Most teams that are good at one will be reasonably good at the other.

A better structure of points could be set up to better reflect the values of FIRST. When I heard of the concept, my thought was, "You mean points like in a FF league?" "Yes," was the answer, "But better." In my opinion, the point structure they came up with was not better. Hopefully after they see how the thing runs this year, they will tweak the point structure.

I can see the special category of you-can-come-without-your-robot for some teams who win one of the culture awards but don't do much on the field. They should be recognized just as much as the ones who build great robots. The recognition will be done in a different manner. The plan I heard was to have them put up displays in the entrance area at Ypsi. But it would be better still if they were allowed to compete because the culture-changing award they won generated enough points to get them entrance to the whole tournament. I'm afraid there might still be a team or two that wins some award(s) but wouldn't get enough points - in which case, they would truly be very lonely out there in that lobby with their display. I'm not sure how that can be resolved.

One downfall I immediately saw to this plan was the elimination of teams from outside the state, and the potential for very few teams to travel outside Michigan. We will certainly miss the teams that used to come to our events from ON, IN, IL, OH and other locales. If the district structure were to expand to other areas, perhaps the impact of this could be lessened. For example, there might be a structure in the Upper Midwest with a championship in Minneapolis, fed by several districts in WI, IA, MN, etc. Each championship would have an allotment of spots for the World Championship based on the teams entered. Teams would be assigned - or perhaps could declare - which championship event they were working towards. But they would be allowed to sign up for districts outside their championship on a space-available basis, earning points toward their own championship. I'd be a little worried about teams shopping for an easy district, but teams can do that now by selecting their regional event(s). So for instance, a UP team could decide to attend districts in Traverse City and another in Milwaukee, earning qualification points to either the Michigan or Minneapolis championship, but not both.

Beth Sweet
11-25-2008, 01:20 PM
Many people have touched on my point. I understand that FIRST is expanding, and perhaps the districts are a good way to cope. For that, only time will tell. I await this season.

What many of you have also picked up on is that my problem is the implication of the point values creating a program which has a completely different set of values than FIRST, the program in which I have proudly participated for years. Thank you all for voicing your thoughts, whether you agree with me or not, having a dialogue is productive.

Cory
11-25-2008, 03:04 PM
The really stupid part about FiM to me, is that the model is clearly centered around the competition. It's focusing more on the robots, and the competitive experience by rewarding robot performance more than other aspects of FIRST.

Now I don't necessarily have an issue with this, because I like competing as much as anyone else, but I see where people have complaints.

The reason I think that it's stupid is because in most states besides MI, what is going to happen is the district system will actually make the competitions far worse. Teams from outside the area will not be able to travel to an event, and you'll see the same old group of teams. In areas without many strong teams, this will mean events that are super boring, or consistently dominated by one good team.

As to the point of "what do we do when we have 10,000 teams and can't use the current model?" well...let's just say I don't see that happening anytime soon. It's taken the better part of two decades to get to around 2,000 teams. FIRST management is completely delusional if they think there's a snowball's chance in hell of EVER having a FRC team in every school in the country, or even 50% of them.

What FIRST ought to be doing is figuring out how to prevent 15-20% of their teams from dropping out of the competition every year, instead of worrying about their growth rate. What good will it do to have 10,000 teams who barely have a clue and are just scraping by versus 2,000 teams that are actually sustainable?

IKE
11-25-2008, 05:06 PM
That's a hard question.

But if FIRST has to sacrifice their ideals and values* just to grow the program, that's not healthy growth. That's cancer.


* FiM is a robot competition. It's not a culture-changing competition that happens to use robots as a vehicle for inspiration.

I have run some of the numbers and posted it in another thread (started by Dave) what I would do. http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68653&page=18
Check those out. I really think something great could come from FiM.


I would argue some of the key objectives of a "Pilot" is to have a large enough sample for it to be meaningful. Also to not destroy the integrity of the whole by just making Universal changes to everyone. That is why you do a "Pilot".

The State boarder was chosen as a way to Geographically limit the damage if things go bad. Take it as it is.

I think it is very selfish to make statements like: "FIRST should not care about those that don't have programs, and instead help me and my friends". This is what "I" hear when senior teams tell me that they don't want things to change. I know that is not what you are intending, but again that is what I hear.

Back to the Quality vs. Quantity vs. Funding. Currently most of the regionals are subsidized heavily by corporations. Guess what, when discressionary money runs out, so does the large sum of cash to put on a regional. You already have Automakers like Nissan and many others pulling out of Auto-Shows that help sell their products. Do you think they will continue to earmark $250K so a "certain" group of kids can be inspired? A big part of FiM is trying to find a sustainable model for FRC. Right now their are 6 district events that teams automatically get to participate in 2 for $5k. Then 50% of teams get to qualify for the State Championship, which should be at least as good as GLR. What is not GP about that? Finding a way to remove one of the "off work" days so more mentors can participate, what is not GP about that? Having events close enough so that parents can come and watch. Letting Rookies get 2 events under their belts their first year. And there are many more positive elements. Talk to Rookies that didn't come back, and the number one thing they will tell you is too limit return on investment. It takes a couple of years for the "values" to sink in.

As far as the Culture Transforming awards, some might say that any points you put towards a culture transforming award cheapens the meaning of the Award. Just a thought. I too was shocked that there were not points for those awards, but I think there is more to it.

Disagreeing with some of the points system is great. Adding input on what you value about FIRST is great (thank you Beth). Being passionate about your program is great. Please be realistic. Most teams are building with donated money, and traveling with donated money, and playing on fields with donated money. FiM may not be the exact right answer, but I applaud them for trying. I look forward to looking back on 2009 to see if FiM is a success.

Justin Montois
11-25-2008, 05:17 PM
I totally agree with Cory and Colin touched on this point as well. We should be striving towards sustainable teams. Not more teams just for the sake of having them.

If the goal of FIRST in this endeavor is to get more students involved, the experience they get on a so-so team that is struggling, is not as good as the experience they would get if they perhaps traveled down the road a bit to a school that already has a successful team. Our team currently has a few students from a neighboring district without a team and I know they are having a great experience.

As far as FiM is concerned, I guess I'm not totally clear about what their goal is. The Q&A says that this competition structure was determined to be the best way to bring a quality experience to as many students as possible. Yet they have also said that there are "so many teams" in Michigan that the three regional’s they host is not enough to support all the teams. Yet for some reason the answer is not another regional. Because they say, they don't have the money in sponsorship to start another regional. I find it interesting that all these new teams in Michigan seem to find money to start and be competitive yet the money is lacking for a regional.

I think if there true goal is a quality experience then robbing teams of an FRC Regional experience is not the answer. I love the Finger Lakes Regional. To me, that's what FIRST is. The build season is fun and everything don't get me wrong, but going to FLR is what it's all about. Over the years 340 has been lucky to meet teams like 365, 67, 65, 68, 217, 354, among others. That's the FIRST experience. Under the FiM model we wouldn't have a 365 shirt in our shop, or a 217 and 237 shirt.

Simply, if your state can't support another regional, then stop pushing for new teams. Look at the MOE Robotics group. How many high schools is that? And you can't tell me those kids haven't gotten an amazing experience. Between a great robot every year and a national Chairman's award, they are a team that should be emulated. Ask a kid on a struggling team in Michigan if he doesn’t wish his team could be like that.

Quality. Not Quantity.

GaryVoshol
11-25-2008, 07:08 PM
Yet they have also said that there are "so many teams" in Michigan that the three regional’s they host is not enough to support all the teams. Yet for some reason the answer is not another regional. Because they say, they don't have the money in sponsorship to start another regional. I find it interesting that all these new teams in Michigan seem to find money to start and be competitive yet the money is lacking for a regional.There are now 127 teams registered in Michigan, including 13 rookies and 13 second-year teams. Not "all those new" teams, but a steady growth. With the 3 regionals we had about 140-150 slots - the Detroit Regional at Wayne State was limited to only about 35 teams because of the size of the facility. The people who created what eventually became FiM were looking toward the time there wouldn't be enough regional slots in the state for all the teams from the state, let alone those who wanted to go to a second regional in the state. They could have looked for sponsorship to hold a 4th regional, which would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000. Instead, they chose to eliminate two of the regionals, create 7 new district tournaments at a total cost of less than one regional, and change GLR into the Michigan Championship.

I think if there true goal is a quality experience then robbing teams of an FRC Regional experience is not the answer. I love the Finger Lakes Regional. To me, that's what FIRST is. The build season is fun and everything don't get me wrong, but going to FLR is what it's all about. Over the years 340 has been lucky to meet teams like 365, 67, 65, 68, 217, 354, among others. That's the FIRST experience. Under the FiM model we wouldn't have a 365 shirt in our shop, or a 217 and 237 shirt.I've already addressed the concerns about not seeing teams from other states. But the reality of the situation is that very soon, Michigan would have to close registration to other states anyway, as Washington did for a time. That or say, "No more new teams."

Simply, if your state can't support another regional, then stop pushing for new teams. Look at the MOE Robotics group. How many high schools is that? And you can't tell me those kids haven't gotten an amazing experience. Between a great robot every year and a national Chairman's award, they are a team that should be emulated. Ask a kid on a struggling team in Michigan if he doesn’t wish his team could be like that.

Quality. Not Quantity.Except MOE is in a tiny little state - even considering they get some students from nearby states. Oakland County alone is 40% the size of Delaware - and has 28 teams, including 5 rookies. Some of the rookie teams in Michigan this year are from communities 50 or more miles from any existing team. Some are from the Detroit schools, with no transportation available to the suburbs. Are you really in favor of saying "No room" to inner city and small-town/rural school districts? And most of the legacy teams are in southeast Michigan, historically largely supported by the auto industry. There are many medium-size cities and scores of small town school systems still without teams. FiM was created to give access to those areas.

Is it an ideal solution? No. We've argued the point structure here in this thread. But something had to be done, or the existing teams would have been in the position of crossing the moat, pulling up the drawbridge behind them, and keeping the castle to themselves.

Paul Copioli
11-25-2008, 09:00 PM
For those of you not in favor of FiM, I just ask that you be careful with what you say. Unknowingly, some of you have called me, and many like me, not GP. I ask that you take a moment and think before you write.

Maybe FiM won't work. Maybe it will. I can guarantee you that the numbers for point values probably should be tweaked. There is nothing stopping that.

I can tell you this: my team has saved money due to this model. Many others are competing in two events for the first time in their history. To say the FiM competition structure doesn't teach GP, I just don't get it.

Cory brought up an interesting point about one team dominating a weak district. How many Silicon Valley Regionals has 254 won in the last 11 years? Seems to me that the possibility of weak regionals already exists. Sorry, but I am calling it like I see it.

It is funny to me that many of you complaining are not even from Michigan. Why can't you let it play out and we can debate then. While there may be many that will force the issue after the season, there are many more of us that will take a factual look at how it actually worked. Believe it or not, the evil FiM folks do care about GP (there are over 5 WFFA winners that are part of FiM) and about teams. Retention is at the top of the priority list.

Beth,

When you see Jim Zondag at the Novi Kickoff (if you are going there), please tell him to his face that he is not promoting Gracious Professionalism and make sure I am there to see it.

Paul

Beth Sweet
11-25-2008, 09:26 PM
Beth,

When you see Jim Zondag at the Novi Kickoff (if you are going there), please tell him to his face that he is not promoting Gracious Professionalism and make sure I am there to see it.

Paul

Paul,

If Jim Zondag would care to discuss this issue with me, I would be happy to do so.

[Edit: For the record, I spoke with 4 FiM members before making this post, 1 of whom never responded to my email, another of whom said that my opinions would be shared, but likely ignored. This has been my last resort]

Justin Montois
11-25-2008, 09:36 PM
It is funny to me that many of you complaining are not even from Michigan. Why can't you let it play out and we can debate then. While there may be many that will force the issue after the season, there are many more of us that will take a factual look at how it actually worked. Believe it or not, the evil FiM folks do care about GP (there are over 5 WFFA winners that are part of FiM) and about teams. Retention is at the top of the priority list.


Paul

Paul,

Those of us not from Michigan that are discussing this have read Dave Lavery's post about midway down in this thread: http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68653&page=15

We realize what you guys are working on is probably going to spread. So we are trying to discuss it as much as possible. I think if FIRST plans to use the FiM platform as the way to grow FIRST then everyone should have a say no matter where they are from.

JVN
11-25-2008, 09:51 PM
It is funny to me that many of you complaining are not even from Michigan.

Maybe people are getting passionate about this because they feel the things happening inside Michigan are going to affect the future of this program outside of Michigan.


Why can't you let it play out and we can debate then. While there may be many that will force the issue after the season, there are many more of us that will take a factual look at how it actually worked.

Maybe because this program was proposed, structured, & instituted without any input from the international community people are concerned that it will be similarly deemed a "success" without any input or discussion within the international community. This is especially scary if the "success" of this program will end up affecting the rest of us.
Based on prior history... should the dissenters just hold their tongues and hope an appropriate time for airing grievances and open discussion is made available?

Though, I guess ultimately the opinions of the international FIRST community don't really matter when it comes to long term planning for the FIRST program. Right? Someone will come along and tell us all what is best for us, again.

Why are you so eager to stop the discussion?

-John

Paul Copioli
11-26-2008, 05:28 AM
John,

I am not eager to stop the discussion, but will not tolerate accuasations that FiM is trying to make FIRST like OCCRA and that FiM is making FIRST forget about the base fundamental values that we all hold so dear.

Look at the first post in this thread and if you think the accusations in it are valid, then we really have nothing more to discuss as I believe they are proposterous.

What actual solutions were proposed in the first post? What counter proposals were mentioned? It seemed to be a libelous rant that has no place in this forum.

I am not part of FiM as I disagree with some of the assumptions made, but I am willing to let it play out this season and take copious notes on what is good and what is bad and use factual (not emotional) arguments for it, against it, or propose changes. I am just asking the rest of you to do the same. I am sure Beth will do the same, but I disagree with the tactics she is using right now.

Are you saying that this discussion in this thread is actually helping anyone at all? I agree that this has been a cordial discussion, but it has not been a productive discussion.

Arguments like, "the competition will stink" or, "the quality of the event will go down" will only have the right to say "I told you so" at the end of the season; but what will they have actually done to try to help some of the barriers of entry (or to sustain) for a FIRST team?

Zflash
11-26-2008, 06:57 AM
I believe that FIM is still FIRST when you have such a large group of people that get together and compete against one another and help one another at the same time they are displaying and passing on GP every moment of the competition. As far as the point system I am sure that will work out eventually and it is not to late to change it now,the competition hasn't even started. If you feel strongly about it post a point system here for all to see and discuss. With that said money saving is a huge issue with any team in the FIRST community, and my understanding is that MI teams have gotten at least a $127,000 donation from someone to cut their registration cost, and have been allowed to put regionals on for less money as well. I hope that in the future the rest of us can recieve some of the benifits the MI has gotten this year that will surely make thier experience much better then the teams that can only afford one event, and the like us to take our students to multiple events each year. Good Luck FIM. and FIRST.

Beth Sweet
11-26-2008, 07:09 AM
My apologies if my corrections weren't clear, I thought that they were implied.

As, by my post, I state that point values are indicators of value importance, all awards should be given equal points, excluding at least Chairmans, long been claimed by FIRST to be the most honored, which ought to receive a greater number than the rest. The Chairman's Award, that which has been so revered and encouraged by FIRST, must be placed in a class by itself, above and beyond the rest. If there is a 5 point rate for the robot awards, in order to show equal value to the rest of the awards, all awards should be ranked at 5 points, except for "the most important award in all of FIRST" which quite obviously should receive more points than all the rest.

I was under the impression that this was implied by my original post, my apologies if this was not the case to some people.

IKE
11-26-2008, 07:33 AM
Some constructive Points:

Chairman's Award. One thing I have never liked about Chairman's award is the all or nothing approach. Teams can put a great deal of effort into it, and get very little feedback. Often, the runner's up will get the Engineering Inspiration award. What I would have loved for FiM to do is to grade a team's Chairman's effort. Give them a score that then gets used in the system. This promotes doing Chairmans. To put it frankly, I have seen a lot of really good submissions for Chairman's from my team, but only the greats win. Adding points to just the winner wouldn't make our team try any harder (or work any less). Now if we got a 75 out of 100, Next year we can push the kids to shoot for an 80 or better. For the Formual SAE competition the big award that all the engineers want to win is the Design competition. They score the design presentations relative to the merit of the design and the teams ability to present. Teams are then scored. 0-125. Typically most teams get rather generic scores ranging from 0 (DNF) to 70 pretty good. Semi-finalist (top 10) are typically 90-100 point range, and then the Design finals are held after the actual race (top 3). Design finals are also public!!! That way other teams get to be inspired.

As far as being concerned that a Chairman's level team will not get to compete at the State championship. I would say that it is highly unlikely (at least in Michigan and likely the Midwest). Seriously if you run the data, this Chairman's award level team would have to have a robot that is not playing Saturday afternoon at both Districts. I have a very hard time believing that a team organized enough to win a Chairman's in Michigan can't make a robot that drives well (which is all it usually takes to make it into the top 24 at a 40 team event).

If FiM is a good thing that should be spread, I would think the next step would be to erase the state borders and have districts and regional championships. You can go wherever you want, but I personally would look down on teams spending exhorbinant travel fees instead of using that capital to help sustain other teams. The best way to have good competition at home is to work with a local team. Yesterday, I talked to a leader from a Rookie Team that 217 has literally taken under their wing. Nice job Thunderchikens. 2337 was one of the Top qualifiers at nationals last year due to their hard work ethic, and the mentorship of the Mid-Michigan teams. If you don't have good competition in your area, then make it. If you raise the funds yourself, fine, fly to Vegas. If it is on a corporate grant. I personally think there is a better way to spend that money.

As I said before one of the major complaints from Rookie teams that I hear is that it is a ton of work and money just to get blown away as you are trying to get your machine going. Getting a second event, then they will actually have a chance to play. I know our team has helped many Rookies get their machines running at the Regionals (some even qualified ahead of us in 2007). There is a certain lansing team that I know I helped in 2005 & 2006 while they were having a hard time getting started. For me that is the most rewarding part of competition. I can't afford hotels, days off work, and fuel bills to travel across the country supporting regionals. I am looking forward this year because I can drive 2 hours early Saturday morning to help a team get their arm working, reset the fields, or run cables, or be a safety naz.. uh inspector.

For those that are close enough, and want to form an educated opinion, please come and volunteer at a Michigan District event near you. As JVN said, this model could get forced on the FIRST community and an Educated, Fact Based opinion will go a lot further than conjecture. You guys are smart, take a couple hours and run the numbers for yourself. If you find a better way please share.

johnr
11-26-2008, 07:35 AM
Please correct me if i am wrong,but if you win chairmans at district isn't that a invite to atlanta? If yes, why would you need another chance at getting that pass at states by playing? If no, then point system needs to be changed. I would hope that a team that wins a chairmans would also earn enough points at districts to go to states.

Beth Sweet
11-26-2008, 07:48 AM
Please correct me if i am wrong,but if you win chairmans at district isn't that a invite to atlanta? If yes, why would you need another chance at getting that pass at states by playing? If no, then point system needs to be changed. I would hope that a team that wins a chairmans would also earn enough points at districts to go to states.

That is incorrect. Winning Chairmans at district is an invite to States, who will then funnel it down, eliminating over half of the district winners. This was requested by FIRST, who, understandably was uncomfortable with us going from 3 regional winners to 7 district winners. Thus, States points are important.

GaryVoshol
11-26-2008, 07:55 AM
Please correct me if i am wrong,but if you win chairmans at district isn't that a invite to atlanta? If yes, why would you need another chance at getting that pass at states by playing? If no, then point system needs to be changed. I would hope that a team that wins a chairmans would also earn enough points at districts to go to states.

That is incorrect. Winning Chairmans at district is an invite to States, who will then funnel it down, eliminating over half of the district winners. This was requested by FIRST, who, understandably was uncomfortable with us going from 3 regional winners to 7 district winners. Thus, States points are important.

And in addition, there are two separate advancement tracks to State. Winning the CA, EI, etc. gets your team an invite to participate in the judging for those awards at State. Points earned on the field and for other awards gets your robot an invite to compete at State.

As I recall, the top 3 Chairman's presentations at State will get invited to Atlanta - with their robot, I presume.

Thus the contention that started this thread - that the points given toward competition and technical awards skew the focus of teams away from the culture-changing awards. We'll have to see how that all plays out.

colin340
11-26-2008, 11:29 AM
I can see the special category of you-can-come-without-your-robot for some teams who win one of the culture awards but don't do much on the field. They should be recognized just as much as the ones who build great robots. The recognition will be done in a different manner. The plan I heard was to have them put up displays in the entrance area at Ypsi. But it would be better still if they were allowed to compete because the culture-changing award they won generated enough points to get them entrance to the whole tournament. I'm afraid there might still be a team or two that wins some award(s) but wouldn't get enough points - in which case, they would truly be very lonely out there in that lobby with their display. I'm not sure how that can be resolved.



the students as well as the mentors on chairmans teams put in way to much time and energy to be reward with getting to set up a display.

on an other note i love the idea of chairmans teams getting a grade in points
but if you have ever judged a First comp(FLL FRC FTC) it's really hard to pick the best team let alone hand out a certain # of Points

Andrew Schreiber
11-26-2008, 02:16 PM
FiM is still FIRST. While their current system may be a little flawed we have to realize, this is a trial run. Nothing about these rules is set in stone. As long as FiM runs as transparently as possible I have a feeling that things will work out. Their stated goal is,

To make Dean Kamen's vision of FIRST a reality in Michigan through the durable establishment of a FIRST Robotics Competition team in every high school.
To foster early interest in the FIRST Robotics Competition through FIRST Lego League in the middle schools.


FiM comes at a time when the economic hardships being felt by everyone are at their worst. This is an attempt at bringing down the high cost of entry to FIRST. I applaud their attempt and think that they do have FIRST's best interests in mind. I ask that we let this try to help because otherwise FIRST will become unsustainable in the smaller or poorer schools where it is needed most.

Beth, if someone from FiM told you that your comments would be ignored I am VERY glad you mentioned it.

Herodotus
11-26-2008, 10:01 PM
I don't see how FiM changes the values of FIRST at all. Values aren't really dictated, they are created by everyone involved. If students are still being inspired and are inspiring others then the fundamental values of FIRST are still there, and so long as the older members of the teams are willing to pass those values down then GP will live forever. FIRST could become a battle competition and STILL retain GP if the the older members are willing to teach it.

The point system might make it a little bit tougher to encourage students to be GP, but that remains to be seen. If you don't want the values of FIRST to change then don't let them. Get your team together, go out there, compete your hearts out, and inspire people. Do that and GP will not die. Everyone makes the competitions what they are, so make them the best they can be.

Akash Rastogi
11-26-2008, 10:13 PM
I don't see how FiM changes the values of FIRST at all. Values aren't really dictated, they are created by everyone involved. If students are still being inspired and are inspiring others then the fundamental values of FIRST are still there, and so long as the older members of the teams are willing to pass those values down then GP will live forever. FIRST could become a battle competition and STILL retain GP if the the older members are willing to teach it.

YES! Thank you for saying what I meant in a clear way.

Justin Montois
11-26-2008, 10:16 PM
The point system might make it a little bit tougher to encourage students to be GP, but that remains to be seen. If you don't want the values of FIRST to change then don't let them. Get your team together, go out there, compete your hearts out, and inspire people. Do that and GP will not die. Everyone makes the competitions what they are, so make them the best they can be.

Why do anything to make it tougher to encourage students to be GP. The Chairman's Award, Engineering Inspiration Rookie Inspiration and Rookie All-Star shouldn't be 0 pts, 5 pts or 1,000. They should be an automatic ticket to the State Championship.

Under the current system, I could have a Robot that does not really function that well at all, but if my team wins the Chairman's Award or other Culture Changing Award, were going to the Championship. I don't see why FiM decided they should change that at all.

If a team wins the CA, EI, RA or RI they should be invited to the State Championship. Done Deal. I don't care what their robot does.

EricH
11-27-2008, 11:54 AM
For those of you not in favor of FiM, I just ask that you be careful with what you say. Unknowingly, some of you have called me, and many like me, not GP. I ask that you take a moment and think before you write.

Maybe FiM won't work. Maybe it will. I can guarantee you that the numbers for point values probably should be tweaked. There is nothing stopping that.

It is funny to me that many of you complaining are not even from Michigan. Why can't you let it play out and we can debate then. While there may be many that will force the issue after the season, there are many more of us that will take a factual look at how it actually worked. Believe it or not, the evil FiM folks do care about GP (there are over 5 WFFA winners that are part of FiM) and about teams. Retention is at the top of the priority list.
Paul, if something is going to affect us, or has the potential to affect us, we want to know about it. We want to make it as good as it can be before it gets to us. I'm certain you would too.

Also, the guarantee that the point values should be tweaked-- is that supposed to read "We'll tweak them" or "We think they should be tweaked, but it's not going to happen this year"? Those are the two readings that I can see, and it could go a long way towards slowing down this thread if you clarified which you meant.

If the point values that Beth posted are the true, final ones, what does that say about FiM? If FIRST decided to copy the FiM structure for Championship qualifications, what would that say about FIRST? Actions speak louder than words.

Here is my honest opinion: FiM has the right idea with regards to competition structure and prices. I don't think anyone can argue that until after the season. However, here is what can be argued:

The point structure to get to the State Championship. Right now, it says one thing. Most of FIRST would rather it said something different.
The "secrecy" surrounding how the concept came up and was introduced. That's in the past now, but if this concept spreads, it'll be an open question once again.
The apparent unresponsiveness of FiM. What would happen if FIRST chose to appear as unresponsive as FiM appears to be now? I bet that a lot of people would be very upset.Now, I'm going to assume that the Michigan pilot works out and is continued. Right now, I think that's a reasonable assumption. AS OF NOW, I would like to see the point values change. I may see something later to change, but I hope not.

Karthik
11-27-2008, 01:29 PM
The point structure to get to the State Championship. Right now, it says one thing. Most of FIRST would rather it said something different.

Are you sure that "most" of FIRST would rather a different point system? The posts of a few angry CD users don't constitute a true random sampling of the community. I for one think the point system is by far the best change being created by FiM. For years I have lobbied for FIRST to move to a qualification only Championship Event, and I'm glad Michigan is piloting this point system.

People keep talking about how FiM doesn't value gracious professionalism because their point system only awards points for technical awards. If we're seriously in a position where we need to hand out points to encourage GP, I think we all need to step back and re-evaluate this entire program. I mean, are teams submitting for Chairman's only because it offers a spot in Atlanta? Are teams only being safe to get some tokens? Are teams only cheering loudly for a chance at a trophy?

I see FiM's point system as a way of making sure the best robots move on to the robot competition at the State Championship. Similarly, the best Chairman's submissions will move on to the Chairman's competition at the State Championship. It makes sense to me.

Just looking at the numbers and doing some simple analysis based on past trends among CA contenders, I would be shocked if all 7 district CA winners don't end up being among the 66 robot competitors at the MI State Championship. As Ike pointed out, you basically only need to just make the elims at both districts to move on to the State Championship. (I could make some more detailed comments and pointed analysis here, but I'm afraid of an angry mob of "It's not about the robot" fanatics showing up at my doorstep with flaming torches.)

I've been to many non-FIRST events, with a small minority of FIRSTers. It's amazing to see how quickly they can spread gracious professionalism to others in a short period of time. Amazingly enough, these events don't actually have points being awarded for being graciously professional!!! Shocking, I know...

As long as the participants in FiM continue to practice and embody gracious professionalism, there's no reason to expect the sky to fall on our program. A point system that is more focused on robot building is not going to make FIRST spontaneously combust.

Beth Sweet
11-27-2008, 02:12 PM
When you're at work, how does your boss encourage certain behavior? If the known behavior to get a promotion or a bonus is to make the product the prettiest shade of green out there, will employees work to improve the product? No, they will make the product the prettiest shade of green, because that is where the benefits lie.

When you are raising a child, you praise them for the behavior that you want, and scold them for poor behavior. While they are growing, they need your praise to continue that good behavior, but when they are grown, they've learned the lesson that praise encouraged. You must provide the incentive for the action that you wish to be taken.

The same situation is here: you will get what you ask for. If FiM asks for nothing but robots, then they will get nothing but robots. Does that mean that people will work their rear ends off just for a trophy? You betcha. But as they do it, will they pick it up as a lifestyle which they will continue long after the quest for the trophy is over? Of course they will. We are human beings. We are encouraged by an end, and learn from the means.

In order to encourage the means, we must provide an end. This is not being done adequately.

Does this mean that some teams will be doing Chairman's style activities just for a trophy? I believe that if you talk to any team that has won the Chairman's award, they will likely tell you that the original reason that they started doing Chairman's actions because there was the incentive of an award, which promoted those activities.

EricH
11-27-2008, 03:50 PM
Karthik, Beth answered for me. It's not the technical awards and the nontechnical, non-culture change awards that are the problem, it's the culture change awards in relation to the other awards. If the way to cause an action is to create an award for it, so be it. If you take away the benefits of an action, will some people still do the action? Sure. But how many will now start?

Karthik
11-27-2008, 05:07 PM
I believe that if you talk to any team that has won the Chairman's award, they will likely tell you that the original reason that they started doing Chairman's actions because there was the incentive of an award, which promoted those activities.

Team 1114 most definitely did not start doing Chairman's type activities to win the award. We started new teams in our area because we loved FIRST, and wanted to spread it in our region. We provide resources to the community because we like helping people. We would have done these things with or without the award. The only things we do solely because of the award is prepare an essay and presentation.

It's not the technical awards and the nontechnical, non-culture change awards that are the problem, it's the culture change awards in relation to the other awards. If the way to cause an action is to create an award for it, so be it. If you take away the benefits of an action, will some people still do the action? Sure. But how many will now start?

I hear what you're saying Eric, and it does make sense. But the culture change awards still exist. Yes, they aren't worth as much when it comes to the point system, but they are still recognized and valued by the community. (As this thread clearly shows) My point is that the lack of points directed towards those awards, is not going to make people stop valuing those awards. As it stands in the non MI-FRC world, RAS, CA, EI are all rewarded with a Championship spot. Has this diminished the value of the Quality or Entrepreneurship Award? Have we seen Team Spirit disappear because there was no added bonus to the award?

People keep making it seem like Michigan as scrapped the Chairman's Award. This is not the case at all. The award exists, and will send three deserving teams to the World Championship in Michigan. For those who do need the incentive of an award to pursue this goal, plenty of incentive still exists.

EricH
11-27-2008, 05:23 PM
I hear what you're saying Eric, and it does make sense. But the culture change awards still exist. Yes, they aren't worth as much when it comes to the point system, but they are still recognized and valued by the community. (As this thread clearly shows) My point is that the lack of points directed towards those awards, is not going to make people stop valuing those awards. As it stands in the non MI-FRC world, RAS, CA, EI are all rewarded with a Championship spot. Has this diminished the value of the Quality or Entrepreneurship Award? Have we seen Team Spirit disappear because there was no added bonus to the award?
Correct. They exist--but does the Regional CA (as opposed to the district CA) send a team to the Championship without the robot? Yes, if the team chooses not to send the robot. That doesn't happen. Does the District CA do that? Not necessarily.

Back in about 2003-2004, FRC had a points system to go to the Championship. Each award had a given point value. If you had more than x points, you could go. I might suggest that FiM look at those for an example. I don't remember complaints about the system, but I wasn't paying much attention at the time.

Karthik, the competitors value the awards. Does FiM? I assume so, because all the awards have a point value. Does FiM's valuation match the FRC valuation, or the competitors' valuation? It appears that the latter is not true. I don't know about the former. I would hope that I'm wrong, but as I said before, actions speak louder than words.

Steve W
11-28-2008, 09:32 AM
I would like to disagree with a few points given here. If FIRST becomes a robot competition without the GP based awards, it will slowly become like Robot Wars and lose many of the teams competing. If it becomes a GP oriented program then were is the competition that enlightens the individual or the competitive spark.

FIRST is as good as it is because of the marriage of the two ideals. One without the other lowers the quality of the teams and the events. I was drawn to FIRST because when I went through the pit area students reached out and brought me to their robot. Some of these robots did not work well BUT the kids were enthused. In those same pits were students from other teams helping the less fortunate. If GP was not encouraged (for awards or not) I would have seen students making their robot the best it could be to beat all on-comers.

If FIRST deteriorates to a robot competition I am sure that there will be many who will reconsider their time commitments. I know that I would rather spend my time helping others with their needs than just join another game to see if I can be better than others.

People you must consider the reasoning behind the action. FiM may be an extension of FIRST or it might be an offshoot of FIRST were some want a robots only competition. Time will tell.

I know that most if not all Chairmans Award winners did a lot of their work because of the award. They started something for one reason and yet continued for another. You see once the ideals of FIRST are implanted in a team it then becomes a natural way of life. The award isn't everything but it is something, otherwise why do the teams spend so much time and energy on it when that time could be used somewhere else?

Rich Kressly
11-30-2008, 08:37 AM
Indeed, FiM is not FIRST, FRC isn't all of FIRST either...

For the life of me, in all of this discussion in multiple threads, one thing on both sides of the coin bothers me a little ... ok it bothers me a lot. Why do so many people here equate FIRST with the FRC program only and use these two terms like they are interchangeable?

Yes, FRC is the flagship program, yes the big robot challenge not only excites the students, but gets the adults to notice more too. Yes, there are elements of it that will most likely always captivate me. However, FRC (even in the MI district model), is still by far the most expensive robotics competition any high school can ever get involved in. Why, oh why, is so much energy being put toward something that will be so hard to sustain over time and is most likely not feasible in 49 other states any time soon?

I will remain skeptical about the REAL goal here. Creating as many FRC teams as possible is NOT exactly the same thing as growing FIRST and seeing FIRST in as many schools as possible, thereby addressing critical needs in STEM in our great nation and others.

Once upon a time, when Dean Kamen founded FIRST, there was only FRC to promote and grow. I suppose there are those folks, who have been on board that long, that still think the same way - but why?

If you REALLY want to affect lasting culture change, you need to start with FIRST's youngest program - Jr. FLL and grow these kids up in the notion. A senior on my team organized and executed an entire Jr. FLL Expo, complete with 15 brand new teams. I ran another one using all of her information, etc for another twelve teams. Do any of you have any idea how comparatively EASY and INEXPENSIVE this is to do? It's easier than developing even one FRC team and involves many, many more students. Some of our new recruits are already on board for ramping up to FLL.

If you REALLY want an affordable, accessible entry point for high schools then you need to utilize intermediate programs like FTC and VEX - where you can not only grow teams more efficiently, but you can integrate meaningful STEM curricula in schools that will reach many more students than just the few on a competition team. And please, spare me the thought that FRC is the ONLY way to "inspire" students. Remember that senior that created 15 Jr. FLL teams and an event out of nowhere? She's never been on our FRC roster nor has she ever touched or operated an FRC robot. She's spent three years on our FTC/VEX team and has participated in our TSA chapter. There are MANY ways to inspire and reach a student and every student is different. Every time I've asked for input from MI folks on these boards how the FTC/intermediate program fits into their FIRST growth plan the conversation goes dead silent - why?

If you REALLY are concerned about our future and our culture and positively affecting as many students as possible, it's time for many of us to take off the blinders and stop worrying about any single logo or program - only.

Paul, I'm very happy for your team and many like yours in MI who are saving money this year, I really am. And I honestly applaud the Jim Zondag's of the world who have poured their heart and soul into an effort that makes sense for them. However, in the grand scheme of things, I'm concerned about the aggregate "drain" on some of our best volunteers and teams and I'm concerned that when the FiM venture is a success (because on some levels I'm entirely sure it will be) what becomes of the rest of our teams, states, and regions.

As always, I could be dead wrong, but I feel strongly enough that I would urge all of us to think about this globally; especially those who read here and have a chance to affect policy.

namaste,
Rich