OCCRA
Go to Post We were asked to help change a culture. If the solution was simple FIRST would have given more specific guidelines on how to do this. It is our job as teams to find unique and creative ways to help fulfill the request from FIRST. - tim-tim [more]
Home
Go Back   Chief Delphi > FIRST > General Forum
CD-Media   CD-Spy  
portal register members calendar search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read FAQ rules

 
Reply
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2014, 10:38 AM
Steven Smith Steven Smith is offline
Registered User
FRC #3005 (RoboChargers)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Rookie Year: 2013
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 279
Steven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

This is different for everyone, but for me, I work at a tech company with tens of thousands of engineers in Dallas, Texas. Our team is actually had to avoid recruiting new mentors for a period last year so we can properly develop the skills of our young team without overwhelming the students, budget, etc.

I recommend having a 30sec to 2min elevator pitch specific to what FIRST can do for someone as a mentor. For me, that pitch revolves around
- Do you like to build things? We have a budget to build all the cool projects many engineers do at home, but with high school students.
- Ever thought of joining a HackerSpace/MakerSpace? That is basically what FIRST can be for mentors in the offseason.
- Feel like your day job doesn't allow you to continue technical development as an engineer? Challenge yourself by relearning engineering topics. There is no better way to humble yourself than to try to explain a complex topic you "somewhat remember" to a high school student.
- And oh ya by the way... you can legitimately make a difference in the lives of students and our community. There are alot of equally time consuming hobbies my coworkers have (golfing, video games, etc.) that don't have the added benefit of actually helping people, and are arguably no more fun.

Honestly, I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to be a mentor. The fools don't know what they are missing.

Steven
__________________
2013 - 2018 - Mentor - Robochargers 3005
2017- 2018 - Mentor - FTC 13537/13539/13542/13552
2014 - 2017 - Mentor - FLL 5817 / 7913
2013 - Day I Die - Robot Fanatic
Reply With Quote
  #17   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2014, 04:13 PM
liviamarrs's Avatar
liviamarrs liviamarrs is offline
Registered User
FRC #0422 (Mech Tech Dragons)
Team Role: Alumni
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Rookie Year: 2010
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Posts: 10
liviamarrs is a jewel in the roughliviamarrs is a jewel in the roughliviamarrs is a jewel in the rough
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

Lack of mentors has caused some of the largest problems on our team. Recently, we have been fixing the 'student run' program of past years to a much more equal share of power between mentors and students. The benefits from this are amazing and keep appearing, but we've also been faced with the fact that we just do not have enough support for our mentors. The recent build and competition seasons proved that, and I am worried that no one is going to have any energy when we get back from World's to continue the growth of our year round program.

So we've recently ramped up trying to find new mentors. But, I've noticed a trend in our attempts. Generally we go to a meeting or event, we make the sell, we get the contact or a guarantee of a follow up...and then nothing happens. How can I make our search for mentors more efficient?
Reply With Quote
  #18   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2014, 04:37 PM
philso philso is offline
Mentor
no team
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Rookie Year: 2009
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 1,589
philso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond reputephilso has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Libby K View Post
Mandatory parent meeting. Seriously, it's worked wonders for 1923.

If you want to be on the team, you (the student) and at least one parent/guardian has to show up to our Parents' meeting.

At this meeting, we hand out a copy of the team handbook. Then we walk through:
  • What FIRST is, Gracious Professionalism, etc.
  • The programs we do (FLL/FTC mentoring, outreach, FRC)
  • Events and travel plans for the school year
  • Team rules & regulations, including behavior expectations
  • Schedule for shop & safety training days
  • Roles for parents, siblings, and other family supporters
Then we make sure that each parent/kid combo signs the last page of the handbook, and gives it in. Without that meeting, and the signed page, you're not on the team.

(Obviously, accommodations are made for people who can't make it, we'll work one on one with families who can't schedule it in, etc)

The most important part of that meeting for us is letting the parents know that we do need and welcome their help. Since we don't build in the school, we need parent chaperones to man the front door of our build site, bring food for meals during build, chaperone the buses, etc.

It sounds harsh on paper, but we also state that if your student wants to travel with the team (we're in the Mid-Atlantic Region, so none of the districts are actually close to us - all our events require bus & hotel), a parent MUST sign up for some sort of helper-slot in our calendar, at least once. Bringing dinner, running front-door check-in... something. Two hours of your parent's time, or a little bit of $ to help feed the kids at the build site. We also have a 'parent steering committee' for those who opt to be more highly involved, that helps organize this effort.

Parents warm up to this pretty quickly - and we always make sure that parents know they are invited to ALL our events. Whether they come on the bus or drive on their own, parents are welcome to sit with the team and help cheer us on. Once they're at one event? They're hooked, just like the kids are. Our parent committee is bigger than our student leaders committee at this point!

It took quite a while to get to this point, but now that we're here we couldn't see our team running any other way. Parents are a great source of energy for our team. We love our MidKnight Moms & Dads! (and grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and siblings... well, you get it.)
This is not so different from what the USA Swim teams require, at least in the Houston area.

Stress to the parents that their children get much more out of any programs that the parents are direct involved with. Over the last 5-6 years, the swim teams in our YMCA league where the parents are consistently involved tend to perform much better than the teams where the parents treat the team as an aquatic day care.

Some parents may be intimidated and think they cannot help your team because they are not engineers/programers or are not technical. Explain that there are many non-technical roles such as arranging for food, travel etc. for the team. One does not need to "be technical" to help proofread a Chairman's essay or help practice for the Chairman's interview.
Reply With Quote
  #19   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2014, 07:54 PM
Monochron's Avatar
Monochron Monochron is offline
Engineering Mentor
AKA: Brian O'Sullivan
FRC #4561 (TerrorBytes)
Team Role: Engineer
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Rookie Year: 2002
Location: Research Triangle Park, NC
Posts: 1,209
Monochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Libby K View Post
Mandatory parent meeting. Seriously, it's worked wonders for 1923.

If you want to be on the team, you (the student) and at least one parent/guardian has to show up to our Parents' meeting.....
That is some really fantastic stuff. Requiring the parents to be more involved may make a big different for our team.

One of the interesting challenges we have now is that a lot of our parents feel like they can be a part of the decision making process while not actually helping out with the team. For instance, we weren't able to have student dues this year because the parents got all up in arms at our parents meeting.
If we give the idea that, in order to be a part of the team, they have to contribute in some what it may help reduce the "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation.
Reply With Quote
  #20   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2014, 08:01 PM
lpickett's Avatar
lpickett lpickett is offline
Linda Pickett
FRC #1730 (Team Driven)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: May 2008
Rookie Year: 2008
Location: Lee's Summit, MO
Posts: 110
lpickett is a jewel in the roughlpickett is a jewel in the roughlpickett is a jewel in the rough
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

We have been blessed with great parent participation. We also have mentors from several businesses with varying skills. My view is just ask around to small machine shops, welding shops, union halls and any other place that can help you in whatever you need. Do presentations at Rotary, Optimist, Lions, VFW, American Legion, etc. The more you get these students out in the community and show what they can achieve with this great program, the more opportunities you have to get mentors/sponsors. I myself was recruited at work and got hooked. I am not only a mentor, but I also sponsor the team each year. I try to tithe to the team as I would to church. It will get harder next year when I retire, but I will still aim to help as much as I can.
Reply With Quote
  #21   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-03-2014, 09:04 PM
aryker's Avatar
aryker aryker is offline
Registered User
FRC #0868 (TechHOUNDS)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Rookie Year: 2008
Location: Carmel, IN
Posts: 104
aryker will become famous soon enougharyker will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monochron View Post
One of the interesting challenges we have now is that a lot of our parents feel like they can be a part of the decision making process while not actually helping out with the team. For instance, we weren't able to have student dues this year because the parents got all up in arms at our parents meeting.
Our team had similar problems in the distant past. Our solution was to tell the parents(read: prospective mentors) at our parent night meeting that a requirement for being a mentor is that they have to keep a consistent level of involvement throughout the build season. This can be at whatever level they're comfortable with, all the way down to one night a week. This ensures that we don't have parents come in for the first time at week six and make suggestions or design changes that we already tried in week two.
Reply With Quote
  #22   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-04-2014, 10:01 AM
Libby K's Avatar
Libby K Libby K is offline
Always a MidKnight Inventor.
AKA: Libby Kamen Drost
FRC #1923 (The MidKnight Inventors)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Rookie Year: 1992
Location: West Windsor & Plainsboro, NJ
Posts: 1,637
Libby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond reputeLibby K has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monochron View Post
That is some really fantastic stuff. Requiring the parents to be more involved may make a big different for our team.

One of the interesting challenges we have now is that a lot of our parents feel like they can be a part of the decision making process while not actually helping out with the team. For instance, we weren't able to have student dues this year because the parents got all up in arms at our parents meeting.
If we give the idea that, in order to be a part of the team, they have to contribute in some what it may help reduce the "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation.
We do have a distinction between 'parent' and 'mentor'. (We have some crossovers w/ engineer parents, but those are case-by-case.) The Parent Steering Committee makes a difference. They get a chance to have their voices heard, but the decisions are still made by the administrative mentors.

If you'd like, I can send/post a writeup of what the setup/handbook looks like for our team (may not be until after competitions, though - I'm at an event every weekend until after CMP...)
__________________
Libby Kamen Drost
Team 1923: The MidKnight Inventors
2006-2009: Team Founder & Captain
2010-Present: Proud Alumni, Mentor & Drive Coach.
2015 Woodie Flowers Finalist Award.
2017-Present: Robotics Advisor, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District

-
229: Division By Zero / 4124: Integration by Parts
2010-2013: Clarkson University Mentor for FLL, FTC & FRC

-
questions? comments? concerns? | twitter: @libbyk | libby.kamen@wwprsd.org
Reply With Quote
  #23   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-04-2014, 10:13 AM
m1506m's Avatar
m1506m m1506m is offline
Registered User
FRC #1506
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Flint mi
Posts: 56
m1506m is an unknown quantity at this point
We are in the same boat, based out of a college, and our primary mentor base are college students. While they are engineering students, the turn around is often. Therfore we have a lack of stability year to year. We are also in desperate need of a mentor or two with real world design/engineering experience.
Reply With Quote
  #24   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-04-2014, 11:10 AM
ezygmont708's Avatar
ezygmont708 ezygmont708 is offline
FAIL = First Attempt In Learning
AKA: Zygmont
FRC #0708 (Hatters Robotics)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Rookie Year: 2007
Location: Horsham, PA
Posts: 94
ezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant futureezygmont708 has a brilliant future
I hand people a shirt, a quietly hum,"Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we're so glad you could attend come inside come inside!
__________________
E. Zygmont
Team Lead - Team 708 Hatters Robotics
Hatboro- Horsham Senior High School - Horsham, PA
Reply With Quote
  #25   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-04-2014, 11:31 AM
Steven Smith Steven Smith is offline
Registered User
FRC #3005 (RoboChargers)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Rookie Year: 2013
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 279
Steven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond reputeSteven Smith has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

I thought I'd make a follow up post, because as I reread this thread my half-joking response came across as a bit out of touch. I recognize there are a huge number of teams out there (including in my home city) that are struggling for mentors, and one of the things we're trying to do is drastically ramp up our mentor recruitment in the next 3-5 years to meet that need for our area teams (not just our own).

The point I was actually trying to make though... to sell anyone, on anything, you really need to come at it from their point of view.

Anticipate their concerns:
- How much will it cost them? (Varies by team)
- Time commitments? (Make sure they know how little they can volunteer and still be effective)
- Desire to work with students? (Is your team pretty mature? Let them know!)

Appeal to their interests:
- Do they like building things and challenging themselves?
- Desire to make a change for the good in the world?

And then also realize that everyone is human, and they get bombarded with requests constantly, and its easy for things to fall off the radar. It's hard to evaluate how awesome FIRST is from the outside. Get their foot in the door. Send them a follow up email/phone call to invite them out to a build day or demo event several months later... not to ask them to be a mentor, but to let them see what you're working on and whether it looks like fun to them.

Network... Network... Network...

Johnny's mom knows a guy who knows a guy? Get his number, invite him out. The whole reason I can recruit mentors is because I know a lot of engineers. 90% of the people out there might not be interested, but its a numbers game... never quit asking or quit looking.

Are there any makers organizations, ASME organizations, mechanical unions, in your area? Is there any organization that already brings together people that have some form of technical background? Can you go to a meeting and make a request for help? They've done the legwork for bringing together 10-100 people that do technical things, surely 1 of them might be interested?

Don't get discouraged. Know that once you do get 1-2 really good mentors one day, those mentors will be your most powerful tool to recruit new mentors... because they likely have many more connections established than you do with other technical people. It can just snowball from there.
__________________
2013 - 2018 - Mentor - Robochargers 3005
2017- 2018 - Mentor - FTC 13537/13539/13542/13552
2014 - 2017 - Mentor - FLL 5817 / 7913
2013 - Day I Die - Robot Fanatic

Last edited by Steven Smith : 04-04-2014 at 11:37 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #26   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-04-2014, 11:47 AM
Monochron's Avatar
Monochron Monochron is offline
Engineering Mentor
AKA: Brian O'Sullivan
FRC #4561 (TerrorBytes)
Team Role: Engineer
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Rookie Year: 2002
Location: Research Triangle Park, NC
Posts: 1,209
Monochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond reputeMonochron has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you recruit mentors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Libby K View Post
We do have a distinction between 'parent' and 'mentor'. (We have some crossovers w/ engineer parents, but those are case-by-case.) The Parent Steering Committee makes a difference. They get a chance to have their voices heard, but the decisions are still made by the administrative mentors.

If you'd like, I can send/post a writeup of what the setup/handbook looks like for our team (may not be until after competitions, though - I'm at an event every weekend until after CMP...)
Yeah, that would be great actually. We could use that to create something similar of our own. I think having a written out document would help cement the idea of order and the final decision resting with the mentors and those most active with the team.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:56 PM.

The Chief Delphi Forums are sponsored by Innovation First International, Inc.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © Chief Delphi