2021 Volunteer Registration

HQ sent an email today. The gist is that 2021 Volunteer Registration is delayed until January or later.

We will continue to monitor conditions and reevaluate the possibility of adding in-person gameplay events in January.

As potential event volunteers, this means that we will not open volunteer registration for in-person events until after that decision is made.

Full Text

Hello FIRST ® Robotics Competition Volunteer,

As announced in the FIRST ® Inspires blog post, we will open the FIRST Robotics Competition registration assuming a season experience without in-person gameplay. We will continue to monitor conditions and reevaluate the possibility of adding in-person gameplay events in January.

As potential event volunteers, this means that we will not open volunteer registration for in-person events until after that decision is made. These events are made possible through the support of our event volunteers and if we do have events this season, these events will be smaller in scale and will require fewer volunteers than a typical season. We are still reviewing the list of required event volunteer roles and will be excited to share those opportunities if we have in-person events.

We have also released more updated information about the season within the FIRST Robotics Competition Blog. The At Home Challenges presented will need the help of remote volunteers, especially our Judges and Judge Advisors. Exact details of these roles and responsibilities are still being finalized. We will open volunteer registration in the coming months for these remote events so volunteers who are interested can sign up.

Volunteers can opt in to receive the FIRST Robotics Competition Team Email blast by going here. These emails go out once a week and include information regarding events, deadlines, Game/Challenge related info, award submissions, scholarships, etc. Volunteers may also be interested in opting into the blog here to learn season information from Frank Merrick.

This season will be different than any other, however, we are confident students will have a wonderful experience with the upcoming challenges. Thank you all for everything you do for FIRST . We truly could not do everything we do without our volunteers!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


Always frustrating that FIRST does not have official tools for engaging volunteer interest before VCs are on deadline to fill. If volunteer site was active and had an opportunity to gather volunteer contact info and event options then route to the proper Volunteer Coordinators(s) 2 things would happen. 1)Potential volunteers that are recruited off season know what to do besides “stand by, well get back to you” 2) VCs have a way to collect early volunteer counts.


In a normal year, maybe. But for 2021, not knowing if there will be events, when they might be, or what volunteers would be needed to staff them, it wouldn’t be productive to get lists of volunteers for the traditional roles. Anyone think we will need a safety glasses table attendant? And there’s a lot of other roles that might not be used in 2021.

This email from FIRST wasn’t a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” letter. Just in case some volunteers hadn’t heard about the uncertainty of plans, it was good for FIRST to let everyone know.


agreed the letter is good. But, the question for the known volunteer pool is: “no way working” vs " If conditions are good" vs “sure i’m ready to help”. Trying to get a feel if the current pool is 5% of normal or 50% of normal. (not explained well).

I don’t think there will be any shortage of volunteers for virtual events. I would always prefer for FIRST to get more data, but they could open remote volunteer opportunities and fill it pretty easily unless they put ridiculous requirements on volunteer age and qualification which they would never do unless there was a really good reason except wait


Agreed. In a recent Texas Mentor Talks session, a gentleman who has been a Head Referee at many local FLL tournaments said that the virtual format might allow him to try serving as a Judge.

For the past several years, I have traveled and volunteered out of state and visit relatives. It would be much easier to volunteer at non-local events if the volunteer position is virtual. Unfortunately, volunteering virtually at the Hawaii Regional doesn’t give one the opportunity to feel the sand between one’s toes while standing on those beautiful beaches :disappointed:

It’s a disappointing situation with uncertainty at my job with contract coming up 2019 could very well have been my last year being able to to volunteer extensively for FIRST. I never would have guessed that 2020 and 2021would leave me on the sidelines.

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Conversely in my case, I changed positions at work on 1/1/2020 that gave me time to volunteer more than in recent years (not to the level you “normally” do!) and for the first time since I was in college, I would have done a 5 event run (3 IN Districts, IN DCMP, and Detroit CMP). Little did I know that I’d be one of the lucky few to get any events at all (just one in my case).

It used to be I had vacation time but too much workload to use it. Now I have vacation time but nothing/nowhere good to use it on. :man_shrugging: Besides the 1/2 day used on the one event, I haven’t touched any of mine… even the one family trip I took I ended up getting credited due to working a long weekend right before. A good problem to have, even if it is somewhat frustrating.