Best Sponsor Ever

This is my first post, so be gentle.

I’m captain of team #781. We registered the day before the due date, and I have spent almost every minute since then trying to get myself aquainted with the competition.

Anyways I just figured I would share with you our teams awsome luck in sponsorship.

First point, we didnt go to the sponsor, the sponsor came to us.

I’m up here in windy cold Ontario, in a small town called Kincardine. Our town is supported by a local nuclear power plant. The plant is responcible for a vast majority of the jobs in our town.

Recently the plant was bought by a company called British Energy a HUGE international company that owns quite a few power plants world wide. The local plant assumed operations under a new corperation called Bruce Power (since I just happen to live in Bruce County) the publicity director from BP two days before the competition’s entry due date e-mailed and called my principal explaining breifly the competition and asked if our schools robotics team (we actally have competed and won in some local lego league competitions) would be interested. As captain I was asked and jumped at the chance.

Whats the big deal of this long winded message?

BP is completely willing for fork every last expense. We in no way have to do any fundraising. It will all be paid for.

Since this is our rookie year I think it will help alot because we can spend more time focusing on the robot and the competition rather than the green.

I’ll just finish of by asking for any tips, I have scoured the internet and picked up almost anything online that’s helpful for a new team. But im wondering if you guys as fellow students and captains could let me know just what I’m to expect, and some advice.

Also one final request. Does anyone have a pdf of last years rulebook? Ive looked for it but cant find it. They seem to no longer be on the FIRST site since the revamp.


Jordan Armstrong

P.S. Sorry for the long post, I tend to do that.

*Originally posted by Jordan A. *
**BP is completely willing for fork every last expense. We in no way have to do any fundraising. It will all be paid for.

Since this is our rookie year I think it will help alot because we can spend more time focusing on the robot and the competition rather than the green.

While I congratulate you with the new team and apparently a great sponsor I caution you to not get too cocky on the issue of fundraising.

Even though you apparently don’t have to do any fundraising this year get the students that are interested in fundraising some exposure to this field. Let’s face it, every team here would like to be handed the golden goose of fundraising as you apparently have…but I believe If your situation changes next year you might not be prepared to actually go out and do some fundraising.

Like I said before congratulations on the new team and your great sponsor but…always keep an eye out for new sponsors and fundraising Ideas just in case your situation changes.

Good Luck In 2002!

Thanks for the advice Elgin, I’ll remember it.

I hope that I didnt come off as horribly cocky.

Well, not horribly cocky… :wink:
Welcome to the forums Jordan. As you know, you are very lucky to have such a sponsor, but Elgin is completely correct. Just be ready in case something happens and your sponsor won’t be able to be as generous next year (not meant to sound threatening :eek: )
Some advice from me…
My team is different from most teams in that we are not associated with a high school. I think we have 12 local high schools represented within our team - all meeting at DuPont facilities. One of our problems because of this last year was not so much with the robot or competition (which you have read about), but with the team’s sense of togetherness (awwww). But seriously, due to the segregation of our team into subteams, we weren’t very close outside our own groups. Team building exercises help people get to know one another and generally produce a more open atmosphere which is key in getting new ideas out of people during brainstorming. So, in sum, be sure everyone is comfortable with one another and knows that they have something to contribute.
Good Luck to you and your team, Jordan!

Let me echo the fundraising comments…
Do some fundraising and put that money away for a rainy day or for some expenses that you find that the Power Plant can not provide in a timely manner. (quick cash is far more valuble than purchase orders that can take days to process)

With your money, you will also have a means to buy a few thank you gifts for those volunteers from the company that you will be working so closely with. (You do not want to ask the company to pay for them, do you??)

You may even find that they will not be able to send you to any of the POST SEASON Competitions that are run by teams. You may raise enough to come down to Manchester, NH to take part in River Rage in September…

Oh yea, if you do not require fundraising, you will never know how many freeloaders you have.

Happy New Year

Fundraising also has another purpose other than money.

The process gives each team member ownership in the program. All to often it is human nature to take lightley an activity that you have not worked hard for. Having everything handed to you without working for it is not good.

On team #47 Chief Delphi each team member is responsible for a set amount of fundraising in $$$ as well as effort including attendance at all activities. This seperates the students that are along for a free ride from the students that are truly committed to the program. You will need a committment of 100% from each and every team member to be successful at the FIRST competition.

All to often I have seen teams where the majority of work is done by a few students, teachers and engineers while the remainder of the team is off having fun. That is not to say that working on the robot is not fun.

Team structure and organization is an important factor to success.

Congratulations on having a strong $$$ committment from your sponsor.

Hi Jordan,

Congrats on getting into the competition this year. You guys will have a blast.

Here is the link from Team 188’s website that has the 2001 rules etc…

Good luck and I look forward to seeing you and your team at the kick-off on January 5th.

Oh boy, here we go again. Well, you’re a very lucky rookie team: you’ve got a free ride from a sponsor, you’re familiar with FIRST from the lego league, and you’ve discovered Chief Delphi. But all may not be as well as it may seem in Ontario. Do you have enough people on your team to do well? Do they have any technical knowledge and manual skills? Can you live off coffee for a week with seventeen minutes of sleep a day? These are only some of the questions you have to ask yourself. Jordan, as captain, are you prepared to be a leader? Did BP promise you engineers with electronic expertise as well as knowledge of efficiency in design? Can you be a leader in the shop, in the pit, and on the field? Again, just a few of the questions you have to ask yourself. As said before, togetherness is very important. The people on your team are the people you should spend the most time with over the next four months and then some, so you better work well with them. Oh, and here’s a tip: Don’t punch anybody in the face when a camera is pointed at you, it might get on CNN. I learned that lesson…

*Originally posted by Dan_550 *
** Oh, and here’s a tip: Don’t punch anybody in the face when a camera is pointed at you, it might get on CNN. I learned that lesson… **

So, Dan, how did that happen?

Dan, wow you punched a CNN camera man. Why?

Anyways, I am extremely skeptical of this sponsor. Either he is lying to you. There are strings attached to this. Or he has no idea what the end cost is going to be. Anyway, not fundraising hurts you two ways. Not having money incase your “Dream Sponsor” doesn’t promise everything, and hurting you in your Chairman’s Award (which is one of the criteria, kind of).

I don’t know how it is Canada, but in the US, a power company is not really a big money company. They make enough money to pay for power plants, the employees, and the wire in the streets. Enron was the biggest energy supplier, before it went bankrupt. Plus President Bush pushed for energy companies to keep their prices cheap, to keep the economy rolling.

Don’t get the wrong imprison that power companies are poor, because they are not. I know there a lot of Con Edison sponsored teams, in the NY Regionals.

Howdy Jordan, and welcome to the boards!
Congrats on the sponsorship, thats a huge thing to have. Fundraising is still good for all the reasons previously posted but also think of it this way, say the whole team gets together at nationals, err the championships, and you all are going to have dinner together team expense is nice. Or if you seed or get picked for the finals you can have an alliance dinner. Those are just nice things to do. But banking the money is really a good idea. Having cash flow for spieit type stuff is good to have once the robot is finnished. Free loaders, aka the florida club, are deffinately people you want to eliminate, they can be the biggest drain on team funds. Sometimes if sponsors see the florida club around they tend to question what their money is being used for. Other than that, make sure that everyone can get along, otherwise at 2 am the night before shipping, or any other night depending on how your team works, you guys could have problems. Also make sure students and adults get along well, sometimes there is a gap and it can get overlooked until competition time. Having rules set for competitions early is a VERY good idea. OK I think I’ve put in too much now. Have fun this year and enjoy everything.


Congrats! on getting a sponsor and joing the rest of us nuts. It looks as though you have plenty of advice on the “fund raising issue” so I’ll pass on some other advice.

  1. Go to the Chief Delphi site’s white paper section and download the various papers that address new teams.

  2. Check out the SharingFIRST website.

  3. If your going to Disney, get your reservations NOW !!!

  4. Watch out for ego problems. Put together a system to resolve conflict among competing ideas. Try to reach a consensus, but don’t be afraid to dictate if need be.

  5. Get your machine design finalized in week 1.

  6. Plan for your drivers to have the machine all of week 6.

  7. Don’t wait till the last minute to make those shipping arrangements.

  8. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. You don’t have time.

  9. Breath.

  10. If you aren’t sure about something, post a question ASAP.

  11. Appoint someone to manage the materials. Ordering, Bill of materials, Who’s using what, Weight of individual parts, etc.

  12. Order Materials ASAP. Things don’t always arrive when you expect or need them.

  13. Appoint a team to build the playing field during week 2.

  14. Manage your machine shop resources wisely. Get someone involved that knows what you can practically build given your resources.

  15. Be the leader and delegate. Keep your eye on the big picture. Don’t drop the ball by getting bogged down and missing something important.

  16. FIRST will change and/or clarify the rules on occasion through updates. Appoint someone to be responsible for downloading and reporting these updates to the team.

There are many more things to know and I’m sure others will add to this list. Just remember that there are hundreds of other teams out there that are willing to help you out .

Good Luck ! :slight_smile:


I just had another thought, try searching the board for thread about rookie help. I typed rookie help and got a big list of stuff, this thread is one i remember as being helpful. just browse the archives, there is much to be found in there amid the random posts. Hope that helps too.

Sometimes it’s easier to build the playing field first, if you are having trouble visualising what needs to be done.

I agree Jeff, we normally have the playing field under construction within days/hours of the kickoff. With at least the guts of it done a few days later, its easier to brainstorm.

Congratulations on your sponsorship, and welcome to FIRST.

It sounds like you are in good shape for funds, though as many posters stated, you should probably still do some fundraising for possible future needs and to create a sense of “ownership” within your team.

Now, what you need for a successful rookie years is designers. The FIRST competition encompasses a lot of things, but the bottom line is that the robot design and construction is primarily a mechanical exercise. You need people who can evaluate the game rules and determine what the robot needs to do to play the game. Then you need to do mechanical design, and you need to make and assemble parts. Students, teachers, and anyone else on your team can contribute a lot in the way of design concepts for your robot, but hopefully you will have a person or two with mechanical engineering background to help bring the concepts to reality.

Good luck, and have fun.

I don’t think this has been mentioned: be prepared to have no life outside FIRST for 6 weeks. Especially the final week; no matter what everyone says, the robot is rarely finished at the beginning of week 6. It can get hellacious the final week. On the plus side, most schools have the day before shipping off (Presidents Day), and some have winter vacation that week.

Again, thanks to everyone for your advice, I will take it all to heart and definatly put it in practice

As far as fundraising goes, I do really see your point about needing spending cash for the unforseen things. I will bring this up with the team and see how it works out. Perhaps BP can offer us a lump sum for stuff like that. If not we will look elsewhere.

As far as schedualing goes its rather bad here in Ontario. Our mid term exams are right in the middle of the build period, and thanks to our system of government we have no presidents, hence no presidents day.

Our team is rather small (15-20) which might hurt us. But there are about 10 of us that I know for a fact are extremely dedicated.

I have taken it upon myself to learn the basics of the kit. I know about pneumatics, I have the RC and OI + pBASIC down. the Vic188’s and spike’s are no problem. I do however think I’ll be lacking on the motor side. But we’ll see.

A team mate of mine has actually come up with a pretty ingenious form of tank steering using only one joystick. (There is one publisized online but its not that, a little different. More predictable)

The way things stand right now our build site is provided for us by a nice company (SED) however its rather small. Not enough room for even a court by itself. We are hoping to get another place. But if that doesnt happen we will just be assembling a section of the court and doing preliminary testing, then later on maybe assembling a court at the school or some other place for training. Does this seem like a good idea considering the circumstances? Or what would you recomend.

As far as no life goes, I have informed my girlfriend that she better take an interest in robotics, or it will be a long 6 weeks without me. :smiley:

And finally, we would like to go to the championships, but if they are only allowing even teams to register we will have to see about placing well in the regionals.

Thanks again for the advice, I appreciate all of it.

Out of curiosity, what regionals are you going to?

*Originally posted by EddieMcD *
**Out of curiosity, what regionals are you going to? **

Just the Canadian.