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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 10-17-2007, 08:16 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory View Post
[The cost of a football team] is absorbed by the school. Nearly every (is there any high school without a football team?) school has a football team. The students don't have to come up with the money themselves.
I'm pretty sure you're not looking at the same budgets I am. A large part of the funding for most sports programs comes from tickets and concession sales, booster clubs provide another big chunk, and sponsorship is significant. In a few specific cases I know, parents are required to volunteer (yes, it's an oxymoron) for a certain amount of concession duty, or to buy their way out of the obligation. The costs cannot be "absorbed" by the school; they must be covered by income from specific sources.

And in many schools, the students (or their parents) do pay to be part of the football team, sometimes on the order of several hundred dollars a season.


The biggest difference in funding models I see between football and FRC teams is that admission is free to watch FRC competitions. As long as FRC is cheap for the spectators, it will be expensive for the participants.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 08:36 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

Basic economic theory tells us that if I give you something, I want something of value in return.

Sponsors have to see value in their support. If they perceive things as they pay money so someone else can have a hobby, or even an education, then that is a non-starter.

Sponsors have to be convinced that there is a value proposition here. ( FRC )is important to us but probably not to them. Substitute FRC for every other activity that happens at school and the community and you will see what I mean.

If you can persuade enough sponsors to see enough value to them and the community then you have a shot at getting 100, or 500 or 1,000 bucks or even more from each of them.

The persuading is the (relatively) easy part. The harder part is figuring out how to connect the dots on bringing value to the potential sponsor.

There is a reason Tyco supports FIRST and Yamaha supports Band and Nike supports sports, etc.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 09:21 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

Another one of the hidden aspects/bonuses of FIRST is learning.
The students learn, the mentors learn, the sponsors learn, the school systems learn. Part of the business plan is to get the word out. What good is the word if no one is listening and starting to understand the scope of FIRST's mission? If there is no learning, there is no chance of recognition and inspiration. It gets - really - fun when you enter our outstanding teachers into this mix. They are natural born educators. Yes, they want to inspire - but I guarantee you, when a teacher is involved, there is going to be a lot of learning involved as well. I see it every day on our team.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 10:16 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

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Originally Posted by JaneYoung View Post
It gets - really - fun when you enter our outstanding teachers into this mix. They are natural born educators. Yes, they want to inspire - but I guarantee you, when a teacher is involved, there is going to be a lot of learning involved as well. I see it every day on our team.
Boy Howdy !!

I'm really starting to see this one happening. We have some great teachers mentoring to some of our efforts and they really bring a whole new perspective to things. It really helps puts the capital 'T' in team.

Build a broad student team and mirror the mentors against that. Engineers, business types, communicator, educators...
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Unread 10-17-2007, 10:21 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

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Originally Posted by Alan Anderson View Post
I'm pretty sure you're not looking at the same budgets I am. A large part of the funding for most sports programs comes from tickets and concession sales, booster clubs provide another big chunk, and sponsorship is significant. In a few specific cases I know, parents are required to volunteer (yes, it's an oxymoron) for a certain amount of concession duty, or to buy their way out of the obligation. The costs cannot be "absorbed" by the school; they must be covered by income from specific sources.

And in many schools, the students (or their parents) do pay to be part of the football team, sometimes on the order of several hundred dollars a season.


The biggest difference in funding models I see between football and FRC teams is that admission is free to watch FRC competitions. As long as FRC is cheap for the spectators, it will be expensive for the participants.

In the Northeast many smaller schools do not have football teams and many middle class school systems are going increasingly to "pay to play" funding.

Back to the original topic: Maintaining the health of existing teams should be a part of the overall FIRST Growth plan. Teams need to find long term support from their school or sponsor to pay that difficult initial entry fee so the students only need to raise money for a trip and can focus on science and technology.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 10:36 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

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Originally Posted by AcesPease View Post
Back to the original topic: Maintaining the health of existing teams should be a part of the overall FIRST Growth plan.
That's part of the President's Circle mission right now. While the initial focus has been on collecting resources for bringing new teams into being, there's also an emphasis on sustaining (and enriching) teams that already compete.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 10:38 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

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Originally Posted by AcesPease View Post
In the Northeast many smaller schools do not have football teams and many middle class school systems are going increasingly to "pay to play" funding.

Back to the original topic: Maintaining the health of existing teams should be a part of the overall FIRST Growth plan. Teams need to find long term support from their school or sponsor to pay that difficult initial entry fee so the students only need to raise money for a trip and can focus on science and technology.
FIRST is doing that. Do you remember the homework assignment from last year? We need to start shifting our focus away from private sources and start demanding public sources for the funding we need. This is going to require a shift in our thinking. We need to start inspiring the local community and getting them excited about what we are doing everyday.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 10:45 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory View Post
Yes. But that price is absorbed by the school. Nearly every (is there any high school without a football team?) school has a football team. The students don't have to come up with the money themselves. The football team will exist every year, regardless of how little money a school district has, because something else like FIRST will get cut before the budget for sports does. I can't think of any student/parent/mentor fundraised activities that are as expensive as FIRST.
A few years ago I used think that raising $10-$20k a year was such a huge ordeal, but now that our team is well established at our school, the burden of raising that much money becomes less. This year our parents have become more involved in fundraising and several of them also participate in fundraising for athletics and band. $20k a year for one of the big three athletic teams (football, baseball, basketball) is nothing. Heck our school's band program goes through almost $80k a year. I hear parents fork out at least $500 for their kid to play football. So I don't think that it's necessarily true that FIRST is the most expensive activity in school. I do think most schools with an enrollment of 1200+ can support a FIRST team, it will just take time.

Districts may cut robotics budgets before athletics only because they know it will cause less of an uproar. If parents and the community expect robotics in a school - then it won't get cut. We had a change in superintendent a few years back and our team was receving funds from the sup's personal budget. When the new sup came into the district I had to go ask for the money that had been available in the past and she knew she had to support it because it would be "political suicide" if she didn't - those were her words not mine!!

A previous post discussed how many teams depend heavily on the mentors and if the mentors leave the team dies. I'm sure this may be sadly true for many teams, but if they've been around and involving parents, alumni, and other mentors (like what athletics and band programs do), then these teams would continue. I know if I had to leave my team, it would continue on without me.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 10:51 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

I think one of my points was potraied wrong, when i mentioned learnging about engineering, i should have said all the aspects that first teaches kids. All im saying is that you cant expect every school in america to get new programs when the ones that already exist are struggeling to make enough money to compete.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 11:11 AM
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Re: The Sad truth

The good news is, I believe FIRST realises that there are several school systems that will take longer than they hoped to bring in Sci/Tech programs to their schools -- hence FTC. The bad news is, at least here in Northern Viriginia FTC has exploded and there aren't enough spots in the FIRST FTC competitions for all of the teams.

I played football in Middle Georgia for 3 years in high school. Each year our budget (including paying the coaches a bit extra, keeping the grass green on the field, 1-wk football camp, equipment, travel, steak dinners at long away games, etc) was in excess of $100k. How did we manage it? About half of that money came from the school board; the other half from booster clubs. In other words, the community that's interested in a program pays for the program. How are FRC teams any different?

In real life, I use almost nothing I learned from football except that with a bit of hard work you can get somewhere. Oh, and I have bad knees on top of that. I could have (and wished I would have) learned that from a FIRST FRC team instead. At least then I would have gone to college with a purpose other than "I'm supposed to go to college to get a good job".

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Unread 10-17-2007, 12:11 PM
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Re: The Sad truth

I've been thinking about this for a little while. It took awhile to figure out exactly why this bothers me, but I think I have gathered my thoughts.

"FIRST just wants to grow bigger.. FIRST just wants to make money". It made me think.. who is this "FIRST" that has lost its way? Is it the people behind desks in Manchester? They deal with general FIRST finances, but aren't the ones going and expanding so much. What about the mentors and volunteers? Being volunteers they certainly aren't "in it for the money", but they certainly are the ones starting new teams. But then, they are also the ones who are teaching, which was pointed out as a major goal. Students doing Dean's homework are working on expanding as well, but are the core of this program. Is Dean "doing it for the money"? I don't think so... but one of the goals is to expand and change the way society views science and technology and to educate.

The issue of team funding has come up. The comparison to athletic programs has been made. FIRST teams may or may not be funded by the school. The same goes for athletics. A lot of teams do struggle to find funds year after year, but is that because FIRST is expanding? I personally don't think so. A school which funds an athletic program over an educational program such as FIRST, in my opinion, has priorities which need to be changed. By expanding a program like this, that can happen. Science and technology and education should be made a greater priority in todays society, and I believe that this program is helping to do that.

Of course, student education is important. You learn things by learning how to build a robot. You learn things by being part of a team. Maybe you'll want to be an engineer after being on a team...maybe not. I think this program is bigger than students building a robot and being helped by local engineers. It's definitely bigger than finding out who can build the best robot. It's in the name.. its for inspiration and recognition of science and technology. It's having students, teachers, mentors, sponsors, corporations, government officials, and everyone else aware of the importance of science and technology in today's world. Everyone in that group is "FIRST". Everyone from the students who learn the difference between a sprocket and a gear, to the company who wrote out a check for a local team to compete. That's why sponsors are thanked; that's why there are awards. If you're here reading this, you've probably been inspired by some part of this program. I know I have, and I'm grateful and thank everyone who put something into it.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 02:24 PM
Lil' Lavery Lil' Lavery is offline
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Re: The Sad truth

I hate to perpetuate the off-topic tangent of athletics compared to FIRST, but I feel that a few of the people who have posted in this thread have a belief that is mildly disturbing to me. I don't think the point of FIRST was to entirely replace athletics, and I don't think that FIRST should ever replace athletics. By saying people need to re-evaluate their priorities for supporting athletics over FIRST, your essentially saying that athletic teams should be put in the same shoes many of these struggling FIRST teams are in (or more to the point, not exist, as many school don't have FIRST teams but do have athletics).
It would be great if FIRST had the same funding, publicity, and support as the athletic teams, but I don't think FIRST should usurp their place entirely. Sure, there are lessons in FIRST that are much harder to get, if possible at all, from sports. But sports have value in our society too.
Chief Delphi is a community primarily composed of people on the intellectual side of the spectrum. And as such, a heavy value is placed upon intellectual priorities, resulting in great value for FIRST, an intellectual and educational program. But, these intellectual and educational programs are only part of what is needed to create a functioning society as a whole.
Even on the simplest, most direct level athletics has values that FIRST does not possess. Athletic programs emphasize physical activity, physical activity that helps break up the average American's increasingly sedentary life style. While FIRST is not entirely devoid of physical activity, claiming it has the same value for physical fitness as athletics would be ludicrous. This is just one example of the value of athletic programs.
To say that any society that funds athletic programs over FIRST needs to reorganize their priorities is a dramatic view.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 03:39 PM
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Re: The Sad truth

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Originally Posted by Lil' Lavery View Post
I don't think the point of FIRST was to entirely replace athletics, and I don't think that FIRST should ever replace athletics. By saying people need to re-evaluate their priorities for supporting athletics over FIRST, your essentially saying that athletic teams should be put in the same shoes many of these struggling FIRST teams are in (or more to the point, not exist, as many school don't have FIRST teams but do have athletics)...

...To say that any society that funds athletic programs over FIRST needs to reorganize their priorities is a dramatic view.
I totally agree that athletics are beneficial and shouldn't (and will never be) completely replaced by FIRST. Both should be availiable to inspire people to do things they want to do. I do though, as dramatic as it may be, think that priorities do need to be re-evaluated. Of course sports have value in society, but I think that's also part of the issue. Things like FIRST promote the value in things other than sports and popular culture which sometimes gets lost in today's society. The point is that I think priorities need to be looked at because science and technology, and the people behind it should have more value.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 05:35 PM
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Re: The Sad truth

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Have you ever seen a high school football team budget?
Here in Guilford County, North Carolina we have a county commissioner that makes sure the pee wee football team from his dist. get $25,000 of the tax payers money...

$10,000 not that much when you look at what the county gives for after school programs/groups.

A smart team would go to the city asking for 10K then the county asking for another 10K usually the city gov will match what the county gives.
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Unread 10-17-2007, 07:18 PM
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Re: The Sad truth

for me FIRST is about learning about leadership, engineering, team work and all that good stuff. But I also think that a major part of first and its success is how fun it is and the quality of the relationships that are made in it. I honestly love FIRST only because it is so fun and I make tons of great friends and experiences through it.

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