Expanding a Robotics team

So my team’s having difficulties recruiting members, or rather getting them to actually participate…
my school’s one of those super academically geared (Bellaire High School, where GPA ____'s are abundant), where a ___load of ppl sign up for clubs and don’t do ______ for it…(yes i’m frustrated:mad: ). Plus with the current attendance, I highly doubt that after this year, there wont be much of a club left…(our primary and ONLY programmer will be gone as well as about half the club, me included) Apparently another robotics at our club was started a few years back but it died sadly…The current “era” started last year. I really REALLY enjoy this club…and I’d hate to see my school lose it.

so basically can somebody give me ideas on how to improve club attendance or improve the club’s size? I’m really jealous seeing teams that have like a stadium full of adamant members,

try flyers, they usually work

consider contacting another team in your area, and see if they can help out

Have you considered expanding to incorporate nearby schools without current robotics teams?

Our team partnered 2 schools together. There will always be issues with 2 sponsoring schools. But in general, I think it is worth it if neither school can have it on it’s own.

You’ll have to be creative… You probably know the students at your school better than I do.

Expanding including other robotics team might not be feasible cuz nearby schools all have their own teams. Lamar HS has one, Westside has one, Booker T has one. I might try fliers but I dont know if our school will permit it…apparently we’re under some fire right now cuz our “president” had the box with controllers and electronics shipped to school and it was put under his name for some reason, and we had to go to the principal to get it…We werent even considered an official club our first year…:confused:

anyways I just hope that my team has a future…cuz it looks really grim right now…:frowning: :frowning:

I would suggest proving to people that there is a place for everyone on a robotics team. Each just has to find his or her niche. Try talking to students you think would be interested. Show what you do, and why you do it. The right words can make the difference. Also, be enthusiastic. Talk about it. If you express your excitement and dedication for it, chances are others will too.

Also, to help on the administration end, you should try to keep them updated on what you do too. Try to find some supportive faculty, and it can expand from there if you generate the interest and show all of the benefits of the program.

Well. Flyers are a place to start. If you are not sure, ask for permission to put them up. You dont want to risk getting in trouble if your school sponsors or facilitates the team.

Many schools allow requests for announcements on the PA. Some schools have bulletin boards, marquees, or newspapers. Try contacting your school paper, perhaps they might be willing to write an article.

Open houses and introductory nights are a good way to get freshman. Just see if your club can set up a booth or something.

Try to talk to people in different schools if it’s possible. Get the word out to anybody in your school that the team really is fun and great.

Okay. Here’s what Cyber Blue did last year. We had an Open House one day in the early fall. It was only for kids at the school who might like to join the team. To prepare for it, we put up flyers around the school and made a video to play on the video announcements.

If kids at the school simply aren’t interested, here’s a few ideas. Take two upperclassman from robotics and get permission from a teacher who teaches lowerclassmen to go into their class and talk to the kids for ten minutes about what the robotics team is. It’d probably be better to go to a higher academic class like an honors class or an early placement math class if you are trying to attract higher-level thinking students.

Another thing you might try is getting permission from your school to have a robotics pep session after this season is over. You could show everything your robot can do. You can get a top athlete and have him/her race against the robot. Then, have table at the entrance where students can sign up for the team (or have an “interested” list sign-up to contact the students later).

Another attempt at getting the robotics team noticed in the school would be to have the robot at lunch in the cafeteria where you could have a information table. Have one of your mentors there to answer questions (having a mentor will likely make it look like a serious operation).

If you’re looking for freshman, go to the junior high school this spring and talk to middle school students. Maybe you could have a day camp where the high schoolers help the students build a small robot (You could invest in FLL material or VEX).

You might also try talking to a Physics teacher and seeing if the robotics team could take over the class to teach an engineering concept. Perhaps you could use your robot.

Um…we like missed all those opportunities sadly…like our school runs club jamboree at the begining of the school year for incomin fishies, but it was like…wheres our club? kind of deal…our sponsor/teacher brought a robot he was working on, “ball bot,” which used a huge bowling ball to move, sorta like a mouse.
Displaying last year’s robot isn’t doable…cuz the teacher scrapped it to make “ball bot” (man it sucks being underfunded)
the physics teacher at our school sponsors diff clubs, i think we tried to get her to sponsor us at first but to no avail…the physics 2 teacher is new…and shes AWFUL (i have her, she can’t plan a lab on catapults b/c i KNOW she got the lab of the internet, put restrictions on thing’s she couldn’t even classify, and didn’t even know what was in it when we asked questions about the write up…EVERYBODY who takes her class despises her)
i might try going to other classes to demonstrate the robot, but we need a working one first…(GAHHH)
all of these ideas are really good, but it almost feels like my team is just unlucky…

There is no luck to it. It’s work. It’s not going to be an easy road, but it will be a rewarding one in the long one. Don’t give up hope, and never give up. If you can reignite interest and participation, you will help many kids in the future than come through your school and benefit from FIRST. This is what it’s all about: The people, not just the robot.

I am sorry you are so frustrated, but please be encouraged to know that most all teams (even big, famous ones) go through some level of what you are experiencing. Believe me, I feel your pain!

Do you have any professionals mentoring your team who are not affiliated with your school? They can help. FIRST is thriving because it provides for PARTNERSHIPS with professionals outside of the traditional school environment. To put it bluntly, if the schools were preparing and inspiring our students at this level, we wouldn’t need FIRST.

Please hang in there and try to find something positive to focus on now. Thank your mentors and teachers, compliment and build-up your fellow team members.

And your team is not a “club,” it is a future-building, career-building academic activity. (Sorry, pet peeve of mine, calling FIRST teams “clubs.”):stuck_out_tongue:

Keep us updated on your team.

Good Luck.

Our school has tried open houses, direct recruitment, even has an educational class in programming for robotics and membership has declined.

Is your principal or director involved? If not, ask to make an appointment with them to talk about how to increase student participation. You’d be surprised what that can do.

Do you have teachers that run the meetings?

Its going to be hard for our team next year, we are going to be loosing, ithink like 4 or 5 seniors, and pretty much we will have left one person from each grade :(. in addition, we are on the verge of loosing our biggest sponsor, and our principal doesn’t support our club because she believes in treating all clubs “equal”. which she doesnt understand how much work we put in every build season into this.

In addition she will not let us have anyone else from anywhere that is not our school, because we have a really strong drug code with random drug tests, and they think that, our club will screw that up if people from other schools come and join :frowning:

Well first you would have to find a teacher or someone to be a mentor, then be sure that you will be able to recieve enough funds. From there advertise the robotics club. Make the advertisement seem appealing to your people.


I co-lead a team of professionals that had build a “demo robot” using the same kit as of 2008 Competition. Our robot is called the Croc-Bot and we take to schools and community events to bring awareness of robotics to the youth.

The team has 30 folks - participation is around 65%. This is the first time we have done this, and we plan to start a “new team” this July and hopefully participation will improve. Those that participated by attending a certain number of meetings, giving a certain amount of time to the project performed a valuable task to the team got a “certificate”. But those that did not get a certificate are still considered a valuable part of the team, they just have not had an opportunity to participate.

I also mentor a FIRST FRC Robotics Rookie team, and I would say we have around 10 kids participating out of 17, giving us roughly same percentage of participation.

The key is to understand who is participating, and make it visible - so you know where you are and also can set a goal of where do you want to be.

My recommendation is try to get 30 individuals and begin tracking it.

On both the demo team and the rookie team we had posted on the wall the names of the team members and scheduled meeting dates of the team, and as team members come to attend they put a “check” on the day they have attended.

My school has a roboctics class. It really helps to attract new people. We have around 25 people in it

My school is taking part in FRC for the first time and we are facing the same difficulty. we had about 30 people sign up only about 10 are serious and working their best.

I am the sponsor/coach for our team and I think you may be looking in the wrong direction. I teach Introduction to Computers, Computer Maintenance, and Networking (which falls under the Career and Technology department).

We do not recruit from “specific” groups or classes we have an open door policy for everyone on campus. I have had students who can work cal2 and phys2 equations all day long that have never picked up a screwdriver and at the same time I have had students who couldn’t tell you what a phys equation was but if you handed them a part they could have it assembled and working in less than 30 minutes and be able to tell you if it could pick up a 7.5lb, 40in diameter ball.

What’s really cool is that these guys end up teaching each other their skills and it makes us a MUCH stronger team (stronger as getting through the tough times). The teachers that you would “expect” to be involved in this aren’t (we can go ask a questions but they don’t show up for meetings etc.) and we are having fun figuring out the answers to our questions on our own and being successful!

My advice to you…if you have a career and technology department at your school go talk to them if you haven’t already! They LOVE to get their hands on stuff like this (I sometimes have trouble keeping my fellow CTE teachers from trying to build it for the team!) The welding instructor is checking in with me at LEAST once a week to see if we need any help or if there’s anything they can weld for us yet.

Remeber, talent can be found in VERY unexpected places! Check out this link if you don’t believe me

Most of all, keep your heads up and keep fighting for your team…it will be worth it in the end!

Good luck at competition!

If your problem is getting people/students interested then…try demos, flyers, and other sorts of promotion. If your problem is the type of people try advertising outside of your school. Our team is made out of 6 different high schools (however our team is still reletively small) and in the past we have had homeschool students join our team. So try getting the word out into the county/community…