**FIRST EMAIL**/FIRST Pilots New Event Competition Structure in Michigan

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Greetings Teams:

There are some exciting developments for *FIRST *in the state of Michigan this summer and we wanted to share these with you.

First, we are pleased to announce that, in cooperation with the volunteer leadership of *FIRST *in the state of Michigan, a new pilot district event model will be launched for the 2009 *FIRST *Robotics Competition (FRC) season to provide increased robotics competitions and reach more students statewide in Michigan.

For over 18 years, the *FIRST *Robotic Competition (FRC) has changed the perception of thousands of high school students in the U.S. about engineering career opportunities. It is the only varsity sport in every state that holds the promise of great jobs down the road to all participants. In Michigan alone, about one in three high schools have adopted the program with the help of volunteer mentors. And, FRC alumni make up 20 percent of the current student body at Kettering University’s School of Engineering in Flint.

The establishment of this new Michigan model follows a study undertaken by the *FIRST *volunteer leadership in 2008 to follow the district models used by other youth sports programs that allow teams to play more and closer to home, thereby reducing the need for costly travel. A pilot district event was conducted at Kettering University in Michigan in 2008 and proved successful in potentially scaling the infrastructure, establishing relationships with new local schools, increasing the number of local mentors and volunteers, as well as increasing local sponsorships for events in the state.

Next, the volunteer leadership in Michigan has launched its own 501©(3) not-for-profit organization in the state, which will be known as ‘FIRST in Michigan’, to implement and execute the new district event pilot model as well as other *FIRST *programs. *FIRST *in Michigan will be responsible for implementing FRC programs in the state to make the most effective use of local resources and create more opportunities in robotics for new students by allowing more playing time for teams with lower entry fees while enabling sponsors to receive statewide recognition.

*FIRST *teams in Michigan currently number 118 FRC teams with approximately 150 high schools involved and 310 *FIRST *LEGO League (FLL) teams with over 3,000 students competing.

Francois Castaing, a member of the *FIRST *Board of Directors, will lead *FIRST *in Michigan. As one of the early proponents for *FIRST *initiatives in Michigan, Francois is working with a group of dedicated volunteers in the state who have been diligently working towards this transition and are committed to a smooth and seamless process for the teams.

The new event model will offer the same high quality *FIRST *experience for all students in the state of Michigan and will subdivide the state into 16 districts to leverage local action plans for growth and make robotics events accessible and closer to home.

In 2009, *FIRST *in Michigan will include 16 districts: Western Upper Peninsula, Eastern Upper Peninsula, Lake Huron North, Lake Huron Central, Grand Traverse, West Michigan, Saginaw Bay, Greater Genesee, Macomb County, Oakland County, Detroit, Western Wayne, Washtenaw County, Greater Lansing, Greater Monroe, and Southwest Michigan.

For more information regarding the FRC Pilot District Event Model in Michigan, please visit this link toGeneral Questions and Answers.

If you have additional questions…**

Michigan FRC Teams, please contact:**
Gail Alpert – gail.alpert@gmail.com
Pam Williamson – paw2@Chrylser.com

All other FRC Teams, please contact: frcteams@usfirst.org

*Go Teams!

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