We are on the eve of the Greater Pittsburgh Regional, which is sure to be a ton of fun as always. And, in case anyone out there has been living under a rock for the past month, there will also be a very important meeting to discuss the recent proposal to have Western PA teams join the FMA District (formerly known as MAR). It is sure to be a lively discussion, and I encourage everyone affected by this potential move to attend. And before the meeting, I strongly encourage you to educate yourself about the proposal, Regional vs. District models, and the nascent efforts by folks in West Virginia, Ohio, and Western PA (WOW) to form an independent district. Toward that end, 3504 mentors Tom Pope and Ben Martin have pulled together a couple of information sheets that summarize the differences between Regional and District models and give some useful statistics about FMA/MAR and other Districts around the world. They are attached below. I want to emphasize that these sheets are not sanctioned by FIRST or FMA in any way.
Please have a look at them before the meeting. My hope is that we can quickly get past the basic questions (like “What are Districts and how to they work?”) so that the bulk of the meeting can be directed toward feedback on the proposal and discussion of other potential ways to move our communities forward.
I have been spending a lot of time recently talking to mentors from Western PA teams about the possibilities. If you will be at GPR and you would like to catch up in person outside of the big meeting, PM me.
I will not personally be at this discussion but I was at the discussion at the Bridgewater district event this past weekend. There will be FIRST HQ representatives here unlike at the Bridgewater event. If I had a chance to ask FIRST HQ representatives questions about/modifications to this proposal, they would be as follows:
Will Ohio and West Virginia teams be able to register for the two proposed Western PA district events? Although this is prohibited under current district system rules, they are currently projected to be hard to fill with FMA teams. This is a special case where half of a population center is being replaced and FIRST will have to make provisions for these teams. I feel a two-year grace period is appropriate for teams in the displaced regions to register for these district events.
If so, will Ohio and West Virginia teams be allowed to advance to Detroit via winning or culture change awards?
When Ohio and West Virginia are in districts, will the point system be universal so teams can continue to play in events local to them for district points?
This proposal will have growing pains associated with it but I think it is a significant opportunity to reshape how HQ treats expansion/growth. We have the chance to make a better district system for all teams as districts continue to spread.
Just a point of curiousity based on the information included. Is it accurate that the more expensive DCMPs are still significantly cheaper than Regionals? I can’t imagine where the extra few ten thousand dollars would come from.