FIRST Alumni

I was wondering if I could get input of other teams about what happens when your members graduate high school and go on to college. Do you allow them to come to meetings as mentors?

330 does; I choose not to. Different teams handle this different ways. Some say go to another team, some say come on back.

There’s been a couple related threads (I don’t feel like searching through many right now) but here’s a couple related ones to help you out. Please search through a little more.

MORT has no restrictions, but we make our college students consider all aspects seriously and make sure they know their transitioning place on the team.

Several of our alumni have come back as mentors. The ones who are attending college nearby are more available to help us, but a few of them remote mentor from their schools (such as the ones for Imagery and Website). For us, it’s not as much of a “okay, we’ll ALLOW you to mentor” situation as it is a “If you’d like to help, we would appreciate and embrace it.” Only the extremely dedicated students have come back and shown interest in mentoring, so we don’t normally have any problems with them.

We do invite all of our alumni to our holiday party in December, though. For many, that’s the most contact they have with the team over the course of the year.

We put them to work.

That either benefits all or drives them out for good

; )

As an alumni I went to a different team. Once there I and another alumni (from that team) both mentored in very similar portions. The problem became that one of us was a mentor the other was still an older student. With me things were much more a mentor-student role, with my colleague it was a more student to student role.

By no means is this unique to our situation, however. In fact I have found it in a few other places. My personal advice would be to either wait a couple years to return (3 - 4 years) OR mentor another team. Personally I feel mentoring another team benefited me more than returning to RUSH in a couple years ever could have. I have to admit, I lived a very sheltered life in a nice suburb, having a team there where parents were supportive and everyone had a phone number that worked was what I expected. Coming to Knightriders, in downtown Flint, was quite a shocker to me, one I never quite got over. I would expect to be able to reach a student via phone and sometimes the phones would be disconnected.

I guess my point, before I get rambling, is that working with another team forces you to see things in another light. It forces you to see yourself in a different light too, I know I learned things about myself by being put into new situations that I probably never would have learned otherwise.

My final advice, never do something because it is comfortable, do something because you WANT to do it. If you want to return to your old team because you think you can add to it and it can add to you, DO IT. If you want to do it because you are comfortable chances are you shouldnt do it.

I agree completely. I think there are two main reasons that an alumni stays in the student-student role with their previous team:

A. The person wants to continue the same feeling that they had when they were a student on the team. They come back to hang out and still want to have the same level of interaction with their friends and former team mates.

B. The alum wants to mentor and the students don’t ‘let’ them. Most of this is because the remaining team members see that person as a peer and not as a mentor.

My suggestions:

  • Start out the season by announcing to everyone (students, parents, other mentors, etc.) that this person is now a mentor and will be treated as such.
  • Putting that person in situations where they cant revert back to student impulses (ie. if they chaperon a room they supervise freshmen and not upperclassmen they worked with as a student)
  • Have an older mentor show them the ropes (even mentors need lessons)

After 2 years as a student I came back to my old team and have mentored the past 4 years. This year will be my first as a coach… I’m nervous but everyone has a first day sometime. :rolleyes:

It usually doesn’t happen here in Israel, although we have a different situation. I mean, both I and the 08 captain try to drop in and help but we serve in the army so our time is limited.

Personally, I think that Alumni’s coming back as mentors is ideal; it shows dedication to the team (and FIRST) and adds another brain to brain-storming. I believe mentoring a different team (especially a rookie team) is a better manifestation of FIRST’s vision, personally, although I know that many are too attached to their teams to do that – I know am :wink: