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Unread 04-03-2010, 10:46 PM
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Calling All FIRST Teams

FIRST Teams,
I am a senior for Team 401.
After the Virginia Regional as we were heading home we started having a discussion about how we felt that rookie teams come in with a lack of knowledge about how the Team should work.
We wanted a document that displays all the information about how FIRST wants teams to be run. So in basic we want to work on writing a manual on how to become a chairmans award winning team.
As many of you can guess. We aren't a chairmans award winning team. So we want your opinions. We want to hear what FIRST has to say as a group and simply be the scribes.
Any information you might have will be welcome. I will be following both this thread or you can send any information to FRCTeam401@gmail.com
Thank you,
Team 401
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Unread 04-04-2010, 12:13 AM
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Justin Montois Justin Montois is offline
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

I appreciate what you are trying to do. I think we should be helping rookies the best we can. However I think it's important to let a team, especially a rookie team find out what works best for them on their own regarding running a team.

Let the team grow, let them fail, let them learn and always be ready to lend a helping hand. I think that's the best way to help rookie teams.

Just my opinion.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 12:20 AM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Quote:
Originally Posted by 340x4xLife View Post
I appreciate what you are trying to do. I think we should be helping rookies the best we can. However I think it's important to let a team, especially a rookie team find out what works best for them on their own regarding running a team.

Let the team grow, let them fail, let them learn and always be ready to lend a helping hand. I think that's the best way to help rookie teams.

Just my opinion.
While letting them learn and fail is necessary, they do need resources and ideas. They don't need to implement those ideas and it is at their discretion to figure out how to use those ideas, but I think that a resource like this is necessary. Try the websites of chairman's award winning teams. I know RUSH has posted a "toolkit for success" and distributes it as much as possible to anyone who wants to start a team or just did start a team.

http://teamrush27.net//resources/toolkit.html
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Unread 04-04-2010, 12:24 AM
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Justin Montois Justin Montois is offline
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Quote:
Originally Posted by ICanCountTo19 View Post
While letting them learn and fail is necessary, they do need resources and ideas. They don't need to implement those ideas and it is at their discretion to figure out how to use those ideas, but I think that a resource like this is necessary. Try the websites of chairman's award winning teams. I know RUSH has posted a "toolkit for success" and distributes it as much as possible to anyone who wants to start a team or just did start a team.

http://teamrush27.net//resources/toolkit.html
Oh I don't disagree.

Team 365 is hard to beat when looking for resources. GO MOE!

http://moe365.org/moementum/moementum.php
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Unread 04-04-2010, 01:47 AM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Miss Daisy's Team-in-a-Box is another resource.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 05:38 PM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

This is a great idea, but may have already been covered by other resources that are available to teams. The Mentor Resources library on the FIRST website, the NEMO website, the Kickoff and Conference Workshops site and the Think Tank, as well as the white papers here on CD and the other team's websites, have covered a lot of topics including team organization.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:04 PM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Rookies and veterans should study other teams and organizations to learn how successful operations work and how failure comes about.

Mentoring business plans to a team is certainly preferred rather than allowing teams to 'self discover'. They may as well 'self discover' chemistry and calculus.

I will be having a seminar at the Championship 2010 entitled "Donuts & Dollars: Creating a Financially Stable Organization".

It will not be a cookie cutter approach to fundraising but a little more complicated.

It is about helping the participants create effective strategies to help their community understand what they do, value what that do, and consequently the community provide more support to the team, financially and otherwise.

The conference seminar will be on youtube a couple of weeks after the event.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:12 PM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

You should check out 27 Team RUSH's team manuel. It's a comprehensive model for running a team. From that you can write your own business plan specific to your own team's needs/wants/desires.
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Unread 04-04-2010, 06:39 PM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeztech View Post
FIRST Teams,

We wanted a document that displays all the information about how FIRST wants teams to be run.
There already is such a document. The FRC Handbook.
http://www.usfirst.org/uploadedFiles...20Handbook.pdf

I do not believe FIRST has ever said specifically how they want teams to be run. Teams run as little companies. What works for one may not work for another.

Lots of great links already posted in this thread to best practices that work for some teams.

However, being available to mentor rookie teams is always a good thing. The volume of information that needs to be absorbed is overwhelming.
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Unread 04-05-2010, 07:27 AM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Any rookie team that goes it alone without at least some direct input and oversight from veteran teams, preferably in their region (*cough* form regional partnerships *cough*), is at a much greater risk of folding after a year or two of existence.

I would submit that the keys to sustainability are cut differently from region to region based on each region's economic, geographic, and social realities. Teambuilding resources that work well for a consortium of high schools or in a relatively solid economic area with access to lots of funding, people, and potential sponsors may not work for teams in economically depressed areas or rural areas with less ideal access to businesses or mentors. Online guides and handbooks are great reference material, but they are poor substitutes for direct and sustained veteran involvement with all new rookie teams through the first year+ of their existence.

The best way for rookies and younger veteran teams to thrive is for veteran teams from their area to actively connect with those teams and help guide them through the rough waters of their initial season and into their first offseason, where additional fundraising, sponsor drives, and student and mentor recruitment become essential. Do not hold their hands, let them make their own choices and mistakes and learn from them, but do shine a light on their path to help them avoid the most perilous hazards that threaten a team's longevity.

If teams in any one region of the country persist in living on their own little islands instead of coming together under one protective umbrella, the predatory wolves that typically hunt down and consume weak and isolated teams are more likely to pick them apart. Band together - work together - survive and thrive together, and you will keep those wolves at bay.
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Unread 04-05-2010, 07:46 AM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

For years we put a lot of effort into Chairman's with very little "success" at actually winning the award. We sat back many years listening to the speaches of the award being handed out thinking "We do that, but why don't we win?". Then we had a mentor come on board that benchmarked what other teams were doing and how they were presenting the information to the judges. Remember, if you don't tell them in a way that gets their attention and really sinks in, then they won't know. We have been fortunate enough to win Chairman's at the District and State level the last two years.

There is a good rule in life. Benchmark those that have the success you want, and you will often find the keys. We were fortunate that in our local area we had many chairman greats like 67, 217, 503, 27, 234, 71, 47, 111... This same philosophy is paying dividends for many teams in the area.

One of my biggest gripes is that there is only 1 Chairman's award handed out. As Dean said early on, you get what you celebrate. I would like to see an incentive for participating and presenting a Chairman's award submission. I would like to see a handful of honorable mentions given. I don't think there needs to be any hardware associated with these, but a name on the screen and a pat on the back would be a great start.
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Unread 04-05-2010, 08:39 AM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

Ok to clarify a bit more, The reason we're trying to put this together is mainly to help rookie teams promote the ideals of FIRST from the get-go. So We are constructing a manual of sorts to explain how FRC teams have come to work. The FIRST manual lacks examples. And we feel a 35 page document is too short to explain how FIRST works. We are also planning to have information about how teams should interact with the local community and local teams.

We also want to have this not be written by us. If we were to write this all on our own we wouldn't have a document that would meet the goals that we set out for this. So we want your input. Anything you might have that can be helpful is always welcomed. For those of you who pointed out teams websites with Rookie guides, thank you.

And also to any rookie teams who might read this we would like to have your input too. We want to know what you would find helpful to you in a document such as this. Any information that you didn't have but wish you knew.

Thank you,
Team 401
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Unread 04-05-2010, 08:52 AM
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Re: Calling All FIRST Teams

In addition to the handbooks mentioned, there are great ones from the President Circle teams from 2007. http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprogr....aspx?id=14036

Good luck with your endeavor!
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