Creating Fun Events for Recruitment

Hello everyone! We all know that FIRST is a lot of fun. But how does your team have fun outside of FIRST? Normally our team has introduced members to the program by starting of with a CPR and First Aid training, which have found causes many not wanting to come back. We are looking for new ways to ease new members into FIRST in a large group setting. Any ideas?

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Demos help a lot and maybe even letting people control the robot. Our team does this and we always get a huge interest and many questions.

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Recruitment is such a broad term / subject to tackle in the FRC world. Its hard to pin down a common way to do it due to a team’s resources, community, school, etc.

Robot Demos are the baseline for recruitment. People LOVE seeing a robot. I mean, we ARE robotics kids. That’s always a good start.

But HOW is a very weird aspect. I would try to do demos, participate in pep rallies and town festivities. Always have videos, photos, etc. to show off your team and always try to pin down WHAT you do. Like I said to someone: try describing FIRST, Competition life, etc. to your Uncle Henry who keeps asking you about your battlebot competition.

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You’ve asked several very different questions, or at least questions with very different answers.

Movie nights (sometimes including an all-nighter), dodge ball, laser tag and paint ball outings, and taking the air cannon to games and parades and fairs and such.

Yeah… start off with at least some of the more interesting things. Starting off with tours of the build site, with brief presentations/demos (preferably interactive) of what goes on in each space, some robot drive practice (including having new members drive and reset field elements and change batteries) and hitting the specific safety rules of each place, then finishing up with the more general safety brief is more likely to engage people than first aid and CPR. Next would be using the tools, again emphasizing safety as you go is fairly interesting . Maybe describe last year’s design, strategy, design, build, and finally the robot and how it worked, then watch a few matches off The Blue Alliance to see how it came together. If the mentors know first aid/CPR, you can cover things like “How to clean up a battery spill” is more likely to be useful and interesting. Also, don’t wait too many sessions before the new people start DOING stuff. It doesn’t have to be running the cutting tools or soldering, but maybe doing a robot inspection/minor repairs, or changing the bearings in a gearbox can be engaging.

Finally, the title:

Creating Fun Events for Recruitment

This is unrelated to the questions of what to do after you’ve got them to a team event. Don’t create events for recruitment, because you then have to do the work to get everyone there in the first place, which is probably the hardest part of recruiting! Instead, seek out existing events with large numbers of people (within your geographic and age limits) attend to set up recruiting tables/demos whatever. These might be school fairs of your feeder middle schools, STEM fairs, just-plain city/regional fairs and picnics and festivals. Try to bring a good cross section of the team - showing up to something like this with one student and one mentor is not likely to attract very many.

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I can understand not wanting to to come back to a robotics team if your first meeting isn’t robotics related. I think a better option would either be to have a regular meeting so new students can see what goes on in a typical meeting, or if you have a particularly big group, have a sort of orentation where they learn what your team’s all about, how the competition works, what the expectations are, etc.

If you happen to have a FIRST-spec field with you, go ahead. If you’re anywhere else, I wouldn’t let random people just drive the robot around at a demo unless it’s had some major changes. (10% drivetrain speed, no mechanisms enabled, bumpers on)

Agreed. What we usually do is limit speed of drivebase (our mechanisms for this year are either super slow or like an everybot so not an issue with those), have a team member with their hands over the person controlling to forcefully take over, and someone ready to hit disable. We also tape off an area with caution tape (like a crime scene) and have people monitor to make sure no one crosses over.

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