Hello there, its been a long time since I used this forum, and I would like to use it to try and get some input from teams, especially those who feel they don’t have the resources/mentors on their teams to get “everything done they’d like.” As someone who tries to stay neutral by not mentoring but also would like to help teams as much as possible, please let me know if this basic outline of a new project id like to try out would be worth it, in the opinion of those more involved than I am.
To simplify the idea, I would like to try and focus on FIRST specific things that may come up at competitions or during their season that some may see as not as important.
For an example, I would create a video to show a team about safety concerns that you may see at a competition. I would go over some basics and some resources to go more in depth, give suggestions on what teams should have in their pits, what team safety reps might need to know, ect. I would also like to utilize people I know in the industry to help me to make sure my research is correct. Then, if a team is going through my video or training and has any questions, they can reach out directly. If a team is also within a good distance from myself or would like me to call in to a meeting if they are a bit far, I could do that as well to actually give training.
As someone who was a Jack of All Trades on my team and has contacts to a large handful of other teams and resources around FIRST, I would expand this to not just one idea like safety, but things like team image/team spirit, presentations, scouting, organization, ect.
Would this be something that would be worth attempting to try and help? I am sorry if this is already someone else’s brain child. I would just like to help. If something like this wouldn’t be helpful, can you think of anything else you think would be helpful to the community I can do without being a mentor for a team?
Thanks for reading and sorry for the word vomit, I tried to keep it short!
“Stay neutral” I don’t have any idea what this means. The majority of volunteers that I know are mentors for teams and have absolutely no problem “staying neutral” in their volunteer roles.
If you’re wanting to put more time into FRC, be a mentor. Being a mentor for a team makes people better volunteers, as it enables them to be more sympathetic to the team experience. Being a mentor is the most direct way anybody can impact the lives of students and help to make a difference in this program.
If you don’t have time to mentor, continue volunteering. Just keep in mind the team experience should come first and foremost whether you mentor a team or not.
A series of videos that helps rural/unconnected teams (specially if you could get them translated to other languages) could be of great help. That said I would recommend working with teams to get them created, as after the year(s) of remote teaching these kids likely know what kind of remote teaching works (or more likely doesn’t work). Also if you find the right teams to work with, they could help you reach out to those teams that might need these kind of training but are unlikely to just randomly find your content on youtube.
Sidenote: as Ryan said there is no need to “stay neutral” by not mentoring a team if you want to. As, PNW (and other districts I would assume) run on mentors (and students) volunteers, that stay neutral by staying impartial and treating all teams fairly at events
While training videos can always help, do some searching - odds are there are already a dozen such videos made and published by teams covering similar topics. That’s the problem with such a passionate base of participants! The other problem, naturally, is getting such videos in front of the teams that could really use them. How do you get your videos in front of the low-resource team that’s in the middle of nowhere 1000 miles from you?
You’d do much more to reach out to some local teams and work with them directly. Either mentor one, or find out what is holding those specific teams back and run some workshops with them. It may not feel as broad-reaching, but you’re going to make a bigger impact that way!
Not to piggy back on Jon but making up information packets with your knowledge, curriculum and guides then going out an “evangelizing” FIRST in your area would be a fantastic help. There is tons out there already but not in easily compiled places where teams can have access to it. Teams write up all sorts of materials that are just scattered around the internet.
Compiling this all down into a ready to go program you could give to anyone interested in getting started is it! That’s truly “neutral” but you get to help as many people as possible. Not every team has technical mentors, but they do have parents that could follow guide books. I think this is why the Everybot idea is so popular. Any mentor willing to commit the time can lead a team from start to finish. More stuff like this definitely!
Even checking in with teams in your area to see if they are aware of CD, the reddit, discord, etc to get them connected with the other teams. What sites are good for parts? What about where to find vendor info and cad files? All that stuff even veterans may not really know.
Shamelessly piggybacking off of Mr Siefen and Jon. I think helping teams develop their own curriculum would be a great help to many teams in your area, especially to those with low mentor bandwidth to develop these curriculums/ and have no clue where to start. I know there are a few resources that have a general curriculum, but a curriculum built specifically for the needs of an individual team would be awesome!
Assuming you are in SE Wisconsin, another idea would be to help with the WCTC FRC training day Wisconsin FIRST has every year. It was very last minute this year, so some useful topics were missed.
Not to piggyback off the piggy backing but anyone that wants to help us at frczero.org or the people at docs.wpilib.org or gm0.org (specific to FTC) I think are all open and available to take in new guides and lessons and aren’t vendor specific. I’ve been accused of self promoting before so my point here is that there are a few places designed to try and be capture points for information all with varied purposes and aims.
I’m trying to track down more so be prepared for edits.
I like your idea of the topic of event prep. Id probably reach out to some vet teams and some of the long term mentors, and see about their lessons learned that you may not have thought of. Maybe a few teams are willing to help provide content to make entertaining videos. MRA houses 8802 and 2830, so theyre in a good spot. I havent gotten a chance to work with cyber cheese but as a new team from multiple schools, they might be a good spot to start with seeing what they do and dont know.
One other way would be engaging state leaders who represent your area. DPI and state legislators are looking at changing how the grants work, getting support from more of them before the process gets close to the next session means a better chance of sucess.
This fall my non direcr mentor efforts are on recruiting for 3 or 4 different FRC teams through some alternative methods of introducing them to FIRST and FRC. Thats how im trying to help without the technical knowledge lots of people here have.
Looking at a map, Tosa and NW milwaukee are missing teams. Thats my future project. FRC or FTC i think itd fill a knowledge and skills gap, as well as simply providing an equal chance to participate.
Please as you get information posted, share links here so this audience can find you.
When I started mentoring multiple teams I realized that 90% of what I was contributing was neutral. It wasn’t about the specific team I was with. It was information that all teams could use. I know what you mean.
Please keep volunteering and I’m looking forward to the materials you produce.