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Dear FIRST ® Community,
As we head into the final months of our extended 2020-2021 FIRST ® GAME CHANGERSSM powered by Star Wars: Force for Change season, we are excited to share updates on Global Season Celebrations happening in June and Off-Season Events beginning in July.
Global Season Celebrations – Late June
We’re truly proud of the incredible achievements of FIRST teams this season. To recognize our teams’ triumphs and victories and the FIRST community’s contributions during the extended FIRST GAME CHANGERS season, FIRST HQ is planning virtual season celebrations for our programs in a variety of formats:
- FIRST ® LEGO® League will share highlights and special messages from the PLAYMAKERSSM and RePLAYSM season on social media channels throughout June, including unveiling the 2021 Volunteers of the Year. The FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Virtual Open International event, hosted by our partner in Greece on June 24-27, will bring together over 200 teams, and the FIRST community is invited to view Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Robot Game match highlights.
- FIRST ® Tech Challenge will host a virtual celebration broadcast featuring special guests on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 7:00pm ET on FIRSTtv on Twitch. During the broadcast, we’ll reveal the 2021 Dean’s List Award Winners, 2021 Volunteers of the Year, and recognize teams from around the world who reached their ULTIMATE GOALSM presented by Qualcomm. Highest ranked teams and Inspire, Compass & Promote Award winners will be celebrated.
- FIRST ® Robotics Competition will host a virtual celebration broadcast featuring special guests on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at 12:00pm ET on FIRSTtv on Twitch. During the broadcast, we’ll reveal the 2021 Dean’s List Award Winners, 2021 Volunteers of the Year, 2021 Woodie Flowers Award, the Game Design Challenge winning teams, and 2021 INFINITE RECHARGESM Championship Chairman’s Award winners and finalists.
The cross-program FIRST ® Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change will celebrate 60 game-changing inventions from the FIRST ® Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm and FIRST LEGO League Challenge Innovation Project and present awards on Wednesday, June 30, at 2:30 pm ET on FIRSTtv.
Save the dates for these celebratory moments, and teams should stay tuned for more information in team blasts.
Off-Season Events – Beginning July 1
This year, Off-Season Events for all programs begin July 1, including FIRST Robotics Competition. To help the FIRST community with planning, and especially so with respect to public health, we are developing cross-program guidance and resources for Off-Season Events, defined as a gathering organized by a Host Organization that utilizes FIRST program content for which there is a participation fee or sponsorship funding. The Host Organization will need to complete an event notice for all Off-Season Events and an updated agreement if borrowing FIRST Robotics Competition equipment from FIRST HQ.
For more information on Off-Season Events, read our FAQ below. More guidance and details to assist in the planning of Off-Season Events will be available on or before May 28 in the FIRST Resource Library.
This season has been unlike any other. In the face of unprecedented challenges and with support from an incredible global network of mentors, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, alumni, parents, educators, and other supporters, FIRST teams have built, innovated, collaborated, and competed as FIRST game changers. Together, with perseverance and ingenuity, we’ve continued our mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators.
We invite you to share your challenges, triumphs, and victories on social media using the #FIRSTGAMECHANGERS and hope you’ll join us in celebrating the season and preparing for an exciting new season of FIRST kicking off later this year.
Your friends at FIRST HQ
Off-Season Event FAQ
When is the 2020-2021 Off-Season Period?
The 2020-2021 Off-Season Period is between July 1, 2021, and the date specified for each program (FIRST LEGO League - July 31, FIRST Tech Challenge - August 31, FIRST Robotics Competition - December 31). Note that while the Off-Season Period for FIRST Robotics Competition extends through December, any equipment borrowed from FIRST Headquarters in Manchester must be received there not later than November 12. This means any Off-Season Events taking place after that will not have access to official equipment.
What is an Off-Season Event?
An Off-Season Event is defined as a gathering that utilizes FIRST program content for which there is a participation fee or sponsorship funding. This could include competitions and summer programs and includes all FIRST programs globally. Off-season team activities such as no-fee scrimmages, open houses, and other non-paid activities are not considered to be Off-Season Events.
Who can host an Off-Season Event?
Off-Season Events must be planned and supported by a Host Organization (ie. FIRST Partner Organization, FIRST Program Delivery Organization, local school/district, youth serving organization, team 501(c)3, etc.). They cannot by hosted by an individual or unincorporated group.
What considerations should my organization make before planning an Off-Season Event?
Host Organizations should consider such topics as:
- Compliance with local COVID-19 protocols for in-person gatherings
- Appropriate level of insurance
- Youth protection measures
- Data protection measures
- Adherence to state/local tax regulations
More guidance and resources on these considerations will be available by May 28 on the FIRST website and Field Development SharePoint site for our Program Delivery Partners.
What actions need to be taken by an Off-Season Event Host Organizations?
Off-Season Event Host Organizations will be asked to submit an Off-Season Event Notice via an online form to FIRST HQ beginning May 28. The form will be shared with the local Program Delivery Partner and will collect basic information about the Hosting Organization, Off-Season Event details, and registration details as well as confirm the following:
- Hosting Organization compliance with local COVID-19 protocols for in-person gatherings
- Acknowledgement of Right to Cancel by FIRST in cases of emergencies and other extraordinary situations.
- Consideration for conducting the event with the appropriate level of insurance, youth protection measures, data protection and adherence to state/local tax regulations as determined locally.
Hosts borrowing equipment from FIRST HQ will be required to complete and sign an updated Off-Season Event Agreement, which will be available in the FIRST Resource Library beginning May 28.
More guidance and resources will be available by May 28.
Will Off-Season Event Host Organizations be able to borrow FIRST Robotics Competition field and equipment from FIRST HQ?
Yes, Hosts borrowing FIRST Robotics Competition equipment from FIRST HQ will be required to complete and sign an Off-Season Event Agreement, which will be available in the FIRST Resource Library not later than May 28. All FIRST Robotics Competition equipment loaned out by FIRST HQ must be received by FIRST HQ by November 12.
As in prior seasons, the agreement will require insurance of $1M+, indemnification for FIRST HQ, and a FIRST Technical Advisor, as well as include COVID-19 protocol, Right to Cancel, and equipment return deadline agreements. There is no fee to borrow the equipment, but the borrower is responsible for all transportation fees and other incidental expenses.