[Anon Poll] FIRST Senior Mentor & Regional Director Interactions

I was just curious how often teams reach out to their FIRST Senior Mentor or Regional Director, if at all, and how helpful they are in resolving an issue. There is no need to include the issue you contacted anyone about. This is to gauge how well the FSM resources are being used by teams.

This is a multiple answer poll. Votes are anonymous.

In the past 3 years:

  • I have contacted my FSM with a positive result
  • I have contacted my FSM with a negative result
  • I have contacted my FSM with a neutral result
  • I have contacted my RD with a positive result
  • I have contacted my RD with a negative result
  • I have contacted my RD with a neutral result
  • I don’t know what/who my FSM is
  • I don’t know what/who my RD is
  • I bypassed my FSM and RD to speak to HQ
  • I have not needed to contact my FSM or RD

0 voters

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No option for “I do not believe that the current RD has teams in my region’s best interests in mind” ?

Or “My RD is literally 2 very large states away and cares more about the interests of THAT state than the teams in my region” ?


I am hoping to have more probing polls after we see the results of this poll.

So far I only have 8 voters, definitely need more to gauge the CD vibe.

Michigan doesn’t appear to have an FSM. Relative to this poll, what would Tom Ochs or Gail Alpert be?

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Not sure how to answer as I am my own FSM :thinking:


This is news to me. Can someone weigh in? @Mike_Schreiber @Jim_Zondag?

There’s no option for “my nearest FSM is 6000 miles away”


There’s no option for “I work closely with both the FSM and RD as part of my volunteer role” - I imagine that’s not the type of feedback you’re looking for, rather how teams interact with them.

Yup, more of a question geared towards “who do you contact with issues that need external resolution” or if a team needs external advisement/mentoring, and “how does this interaction go?”

I would add one more person to that list then, the RPC chairman. At least here in MN, I know a fairly significant amount of contact runs through Mark, who directs teams to the correct person to talk to.

Unfortunately I can’t edit a poll after 5 minutes.

I’m not Mike or Jim.

Gail is the closest thing we have to an RD. She’s actually a super-RD, overseeing 34 events in Michigan. One of those is our State Championship, which is really five events, so Gail’s total is actually 38, this year. She gets a LOT of support from event coordinators and key volunteers, and most of us who volunteer or compete don’t deal with her directly very often. My team hosts an event so we have a couple of coordinators (event and volunteer) who are on conference calls with Gail several times each year.

If you want a senior mentor, Michigan has quite a few. If you want a FIRST Senior Mentor, I don’t know if we have any.


I actually forget that Mark isn’t our “Regional Director” all the time even though I work closely with Mark and Ken fairly regularly! Mark (RPC Chair), Laurie (FSM and like 30 other titles), and Ken (Regional Director) all do a crazy amount within MN and have been extremely easy to contact/work with in my experience. If there’s a test case for how the FSM program looks when it works I would refer people to check out MN’s implementation of the program.

We are very fortunate here in Ontario to have FIRST Canada and their incredibly accessible staff. They respond quickly to all inquiries and are always focused on the team experience. Whenever 1114 has any sort of issue, we know we can reach out to any of the staff, and it will be handled promptly and professionally.



The FIRST Senior Mentor system is broken: paper.

Happily however, our community does a good job of identifying and celebrating the people who do serve as senior mentors, regardless of title.

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I’ve had multiple positive experiences with @Rosiebotboss and the RD for New England, primarily as a point of contact for reaching other teams when other options have been exhausted.

I’ve had great experiences with our regional director on a variety of things (attempting to resolve team issues, helping me find another team when that didn’t work out, helping me set up a mentor recruitment event at my company, introducing my team to potential mentors, etc).

Our region’s FSM is also a mentor on my team, so we’ve never formally reached out to him as an FSM.

For those who don’t know who your FIRST Senior Mentor is: https://www.firstinspires.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/first-senior-mentor-program/current-senior-mentors

And your Regional Directors/FIRST Tech Challenge/FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League Jr Partners can be found here: https://www.firstinspires.org/find-local-support


Preface: I’m really not trying to throw stones, but I haven’t found phrasing that 100% conveys that tone.

First Robotics Canada does a great job. I know they’ve done a lot to get us set up in BC, but there is a lot that could be improved. Especially in the"Who do I turn to for help / guidance?".

From the periphery it’s unclear what is the scope of First Robotics Canada’s mission is and how it interfaces with First Western Canada or First Quebec or First British Columbia if at all (None of these websites link to or acknowledge each other).

To the point of this thread, Ian Koscielski or Jason Brett would be who I’d turn to locally but they aren’t listed anywhere. I’ve never met Barish Golland but a bio should be required if you’re going to be listed as a senior mentor.

Duncan assembles a pile of rocks (for another thread)
  • All sub-Canadian regions should standardize and use First Robotics Canada’s website layout.

  • All of the regional websites should reference the informational resources available at First Robotics Canada.

  • First Robotics Canada should spin off First Ontario.

Would a misinformed/disadvantageous result be the same as a negative result?

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