Are all teams like this? *Long Post Warning*

I hope not all teams are like this, but since Ive only been on this team I got to ask… Are all teams like this?

Our team at the beginning of the year had a good 30 students which is actually good for our school, with many of those students being grade nines (even better) but it seems the team leader didn’t want to set-up anything to help the new members feel welcome or help them learn anything and by idk probably the 4th week the team was back down to about 10-15 members max.

After loosing the majority of the members the leader took it upon himself and two friends to take the robot home and basically build it at their houses with out the help of any other members, keeping as much work to themselves as they can to be “all-stars” the only time they would bring in something for another member to do is when they didn’t want to do it like grinding or drilling holes.

So now that the build season is over and only a handful of people have worked on the robot (not to lack of interest by other members or will of other members) the leader of our team decides they will go to the first competition with only about 3/4 of our team (basically the members who are more “buddy buddy” with the leader) leaving the rest behind who showed up to meetings, those who wanted to help and learn, those who wanted to have fun but ended up having zero, those who dedicated their lunch hours to be apart of the team and got absolutely nothing out of it.

Not to forget the drivers, human player, and coach are the leaders buddies or him, and they are dffinantly not the right people for the task. No driver or player tryouts were held, when everyone on the team knows there are better suited people for the spots then those “picked”.

One more thing is I was supposed to go until the leader/captain of the team asked me “Are you driving people” and I said “no I do not have a car” in which he followed with “OK your not going to the competition” and its funny because our ‘staff advisor’ watched everything go down like this and basically encouraged it.

So I ask again are all teams like this?

I hope that you will find that the vast majority of teams are not like this. Look at the comments made in the Unsung FIRST Heros area. There are a number of great mentors and great teams. Look at the number of alumni that return to teams or go off and start new teams. Your experience is definitely NOT typical. But it is sad.

Is the team lead a mentor from you major sponsor, A teacher, Or a student?

I assume by some of the comments in your post that you are a student and that you are not the only one who feels this way. Has anyone brought this issue to the attention of thier parents or the main contact at the school?

If you advisor isn’t willing to change the situation, then maybe it is time to bring these issues to someone in the school administration.

I hate to see a team run in a way that is deterimental to the students involved. I’m sure you will get a number of responses from folks much wiser then myself. All I can say is that if the situation is bad, you have to work to change it. If that means you can’t meet a happy medium with your team’s organization, see if there are other teams somewhere in the area looking for new members.

Hopefully someone here will give you advice that will help.

This is the first time I have ever heard of anything like this happening. This is not in FIRST spirit and definitely does not follow Gracious Professionalism. Your “staff advisor” should not condone any of this. I hope you can find another team. And I seriously doubt your current team will last very long. It’s sad that some people actually act this way. You should take Gerorge’s advice and go to a higher official. A sponsor even. Sponsors can have a major effect on the decisions made on a team. I’m sure anyone with a common sense can see that this isn’t helping anyone on that team. Do you have any engineers? Is your team leader a student? A mentor? Whoever it is… should know better than to not include students. I hope that no other team runs like that.


That’s sad, it sounds you guys would’ve had a killer team if the newbies had learned the stuff. A majority of ours weren’t interested in how something works or how to design stuff, they just wanted to be told what to do, then when they got bored of it they went and played computer games. It seems that you had an amazing batch of newbies that would have carried you far, its sad that they weren’t given the chance. My advice, get that guy kicked off and maybe set up summer workshops (maybe using Vex) to teach everyone interested, and remove the greatest power, the power of knowledge from the guy’s hands.

RD, this is your third year in FIRST, was your team like this the first two years also, or just this year?
What kind of changes occurred in the team structure between last year and this?
Or have you joined a completely new team?
This is puzzling in light of your positive posts about your team in previous years.

I would have to say that, for a short while, my high school team had similar issues. Looking back on it now, I would have to say that none of the issues that we had to deal with (barring financial) were as bad as they seemed while I was there. A large part of the inflation of issues such as cliques, opportunities for new members and such was due to the fact that in high school, there are so many issues outside of FIRST that influence people’s decisions.

In my old team, motives behind several decisions were misconstrued for many reasons. We built our robot on my friend’s porch because that way we could work on weekends/very late nights and not be locked out of our work area. We also had several of the same classes so we could work very flexible hours and study together to make sure that we didn’t fail. However, for new members this made it very hard to even see the robot as they couldn’t get transportation. Our robot design was quirky so we only let people who knew the quirks drive it (so basically the builders/people with transportation/seniors & juniors). Combine this with the fact that most people in high school generally have no tact when they feel that they are being treated unfairly, and it turned into a you vs. me vs. them vs. everyone else issue when in reality it was just high school students dealing badly with a bad situation.

I would say that before you go over anyone’s head and create further chaos, you should get a meeting together with all of the concerned parties with some objective mediators (Teachers/administrators) to discuss the decisions made this year and the reasons behind them. I sincerely hope that you find that the problems are not rooted in malice. If they are, then remember that the actions taken in response must be appropriate for the individual student’s as well as the team’s wellbeing. Then you can go into solving problems for next year. (BTW I didn’t mention parents as mediators as I have seen some parents being anything but objective when it comes to their children)

Either way, while some of the behavior of high school students is not in the spirit of FIRST, I believe that this is a reality that students will have to deal with at some point in their life. Perhaps some good can come of this as the students learn how to deal with difficult situations when working with people.

Long story short, calm yourself down. Then get together with your team and figure out what has been done, and what needs to be done to sustain/rebuild the team.

BTW 1002 was NOT my high school team (they are my awesome current team) and my high school team has had 5 years since these incidents occured, and seem to be doing well.

Talk to your schools principle. If any school funds or facilities were used for the team then this ‘team leader’ should be held personally accountable for taking the schools money and resources and using it for his own personal benefit.

If people want to have their own private team then let them come up with the money and resources.

In my 1st year, it was similar to this but I just stuck it out, but in my 2nd year it was a better atmosphere, but this is by far the worst year.

Last year, no one was really excluded if they didnt want to be, if you made an attempt you would do work, learn, and sometimes even get to choose what you wanted to do, but the drivers spot adn all that were still picked unfairly.

Same team, just gotten worse, beofre it was pretty enjoyable.

I talked to my mom and she called the principle but he didnt get anything done really. He was going to talk to the teacher and team leader/captain but it got put on the back burner. On monday I am going to have it braught to his attention again to try and show him it needs to be attended to.

I think thats all for now, Ill go through the posts again and try to get some things happening to better the team…

Thanks guys.

I don’t know how your team determines its leaders, but if you use elections like our team there is a very simple way to fix this for next year; vote those people out. Our team had horrible problems with leadership this year as well (different problems though, other than 2 of us all the officers either resigned or were removed from office because they didn’t show up or do enough), and what I’ve noticed afterwards as we’re talking about next year is that many people in the club (including brand new members) are giving lots of input because they don’t want anything like this happening again. If there are others who feel like you do (and I’m pretty certain there are), have everyone request to organise what you will do next year to do better, and if the leaders don’t want to plan at all (or want to stay the same way) try to oust them. Bring your grievances up with the team itself, especially these leaders, because if you do not push them and threaten to remove them these actions will likely continue.

What you describe is definately not normal for a FIRST team. Something needs to be done about it