For those who lack dedication...

This year has been quite frustrating for myself and other members on the team. We have several new members, which is good for our team. Many are freshmen and sophomores. The problem is that some of them do not come to meetings and build sessions or, if they do, they sit around, argue with each other, mess around, do their homework, or sign in and leave. Now I don’t tolerate such behavior and I try to get them to work as much as possible, but there’s only so much I can do.

We are considering not allowing members of the team go to competition who we feel have not contributed enough to the team or don’t show up enough. Is this a good idea? I realize it may be harsh, but we’re starting to find it necessary.

PS: I realize there are other threads regarding the lack of dedication of team members, but I didn’t feel that they addressed this specific issue. So I did search and I apologize if I didn’t search hard enough.

Looks like you’re having a problem that’s affecting many teams this year. My team had the same problem, but it (luckily) fixed itself, we have a good group of dedicated members, but there are still some students who aren’t as dedicated (like what you described above).

I was talking to the team leader about the idea of restricting members from coming to regionals. It’s harsh, but it isn’t such a bad idea… if they want to go to a regional, they have to show that they’re part of the team, not just show up once in a while.

Anyways, before you start laying down the punishments, try motivating them first… now how to do that is the difficult part.

Here was an old thread that I started, maybe it can help:

Our team policy is you must attend 75% of meetings in order to go to competitions, regardless of how much you participated at each meeting.

Short answer… yes.

A regional is a lot closer to your hometown usually, so if they decide they have a new found dedication, they can always show up on Saturday.

The Championship event is a different story. Those who know they have earned it, usually go, and those who did next to nothing, usually know why they don’t go. And if they don’t understand why, sometimes you have to spell it out for them.

Our team too is having this problem. Tonight i took some work home to finish it on my Bridgeport, and i just got done (11pm). Thats dedication lol. But most of our freshmen dont bother to show up and we try to keep them busy with tasks that need to get done, but dont require too much accuracy. To my dismay, we will be allowing anyone who wants to come to the regionals, but if they didnt help build the robot how can they help fix it? Im thinking were gonna have some people in the stands this year lol. So thats my advice, let em come and root on the team!

If kids are there to argue and make a nuisance out of the team, I personally feel they should not be allowed to go to the competitions. However, cut it off at the point where they are being disruptive. If they at least stay in the meetings without doing much but have an OK behavior then I’d say its OK to let them go. Unless you feel you want the team to just be about 10 people. The idea is that you get those not so active to be inspired at the competition and you never know, they may be the greatest contributor next year. Your team is not the only team that faces such problems. It’s the same with every team. In our team, those who come in, sign-in and leave generally stop coming to the meetings altogether and are cut off the roster. We let only those travel who are active in the team. If they’re at the meetings we generally put them to perform some task, although there are always slackers. It’s the story of almost every team. I would highly suggest making up a membership criteria for your team and follow that. For example you can look at our Team Handbook and derive your rules off there. Keep the questions coming.

We are having a similar problem (although it seems to be getting better recently), but we live in Alaska, and we are traveling to Portland for our only regional and I personally am saying that if any non participating members want to show up at the competition that is fine, but they need to provide their own transportation, and find their own place to stay. But then I am not the team president, and they have been participating and showing up more recently so if they wanna come I guess that would be ok with me.

to prevent that sort of problem, our team enforces specific requirements that need to be met in order for students to go to comepetitions. for each competition, there are a certain amount of robotics related hours, community service hours, and fund raisers each team member needs to have in order to go on a trip. ex: this year, in order to go to both regionals and the championship event, a student needs to have dedicated at least 90 hours to the robotics team itself (either helping design and assemble the robot, working on chairmans award or on the spirit comittee, or whatever), 10 community service hours elsewhere (its his/her choice), and needs to have participated in at least 7 fundraisers this year. sure it may seem a little harsh to impose restrictions on who can do what even though they are interested in FIRST, but it ensures that the people truly involved and dedicated are allowed to have fun, and gives the slackers something to work for. i’d suggest having some sort of system to get people really dedicated

Team 461 has a few policies on regional attendance.

  1. They have to sign a form stating their commitment to the regionals they’re chosen for. This means that they can’t back out the day before if they decide they have a hot date and building doesn’t sound quite as fun. Sometimes lack of commitment rubs off onto competition. Members of the team fill out a form about which competitions they’re able/want to attend in week 2 or 3, and give it to a team leader. From there, the decision is based on various participation factors.

  2. Attendance is a huge issue. On our team 80% of meetings is what you are required to have in order to attend competition. If you have a local regional, team members should be allowed to attend that at will, becuase it is no cost to the team in terms of hotels or transportation. If you have a distance regional, you have a different story. Those with good attendance are the ones that know what is going on. They get first pick on which competitions. You should have a field team (driver, operator, human player) of 3, and those 3 can also help fix in the pits. In addition to them you should have at least 1 mechanic student and 1 electrics student and 1 programmer working in the pits. A pit crew of 10 isn’t too shabby.

  3. Tell them they can’t compete if they don’t dedicate themselves. Sometimes that’s all it takes…

We don’t have enough money to fund our travel fees, so we have to have the team members pay for the hotel/transportation. That’s enough to chase off those who don’t commit themselves - only the people who care are willing to cough up the money to go.

The NEW Apple Corps have many requirements for students to be able to attend competitions and participate on the team; most of them revolve around meeting grade requirements, attending meetings (especially during the build) and some mandatory fund-raising. This came about after the 2001 season, when we took 50 students to Nationals - crazy for us; we didn’t have nearly enough for them to do, and many didn’t do much on the team as it was! Honestly, it was hard to adjust to at first, but it showed who really was dedicated and who was just there for the “trip to Florida” (yes, that was some students’ sole reason for being on the team. :()

Check out 93’s handbook for more info:

we have a policy that if the rest of the team feels you havn’t done enough, you can’t go. Now with everyone paid their £150 flight ($300 ish) deposit, we will try and refund anyone who we deem can’t go. I believe we have a letter that we show any member doing nothing, that we threatent o send to their parents, explaining the situation. Usually that does the trick tbh. Last year we had no policy and got stuck with 2 useless people going just for hte fun of it and doing absolutely nothing all year… and they would admit if you asked them…
We also keep note of certain tasks that we ask people to do , to provide evidence and to keep a track. Such as fundraisers etc… if you dont turn up, you get a mark on your name in the black book of doom.
One of our kind sponsers gave us airmiles for medium class tickets (ie not cattle class :wink: ) on the plane, and the 5 most dedicated are getting them .

it is our team policy that the most dedicated team members get to go to the regionals(/nats?). we have a sign-in/out sheet where students clock their hours. the more time one spends at robotics, and the more done while there (determined by mentors), the more regionals one will get to go to. so even if a rookie goes every day, if he just sits in the corner and does nothing, he doesn’t get to go.

Thanks for all the replies, everyone. It seems like you’re all doing what we’ve been considering and that’s very comforting to hear. Hopefully we wont have to cut too many people from regionals.


Try leaving messages like the ones Zac Hitt, our captain, left on my machine.

Seriously, try assigning important jobs to each person, and call persistantly. That way, you know if they are still part of the team, or if they quit, so you can stop wasting your time and energy calling them. That in itself should do it. Good luck.

The policy on my team is that we put in a certian amount of hours and the quality of what has been produced in that time is evaluated and on top of that, we’re required 2 community service projects and at least Ds for grades in our classes to go to regionals or even the championship. But that’s our policy on who goes to competitions and who doesn’t.

Our team has always had people on it that weren’t quite dedicated. While we wouldn’t dream of cutting people off the team, we do have rules that are in place to prevent undedicated members. Without fulfilling the requirements, a person isn’t allowed to attend the competition unless they take an unexcused absence and get themself there.
First, you have to attend a certain amount of fundraising…depending on how much time/effort each fundraiser takes changes a little of the weight of the event. For example, if you show up for an event, and don’t help plan for it or help set up/clean up…you don’t get a lot of credit for the fundraiser. If you planned the whole thing out and were there for the whole time, you get extra props.
Next, each member has to attend at least half of the meetings since they joined the team. Only half of the time is required because there are people that just can’t make every meeting. The reason may be that they have sports, or they can’t get a ride…Whatever it is, if you can only make the weekend meetings, that’s just as much time as all the week meetings together.
If you don’t fulfill these two attendance rules, chances are that you are one of the people that really doesn’t care about much other than getting out of school for the competition. If you are someone who just couldn’t make it to the meetings, but you worked hard at everything you did…you do get an exception.
It may sound mean, but if people are just going to show up to screw around at the meetings (possibly endangering others), and they just want to be on the team to get out of school come comp time…they shouldn’t be there at all.

This year we’re doing two regionals, both out of town. (The NASA grant to go to Las Vegas was too good to pass up). We decided to skip Silicon Valley since being local really didn’t seem to affect how much support we got from club members and the school in general. It’s easier to control the students when we’re out of town. However, as a lot of the students seem to think the club should subsidize their travel and accomodations, we’re trying to keep track of who actually contributes to the robot before handing out resources.

I also think the floor teams should be very familiar with the robot as if we get to the finals, they may have to make repairs on the floor. This happened to us last year in Sacramento. This year no one seems to have the attention span to pay attention to how the robot is going together. This is becoming very frustrating to me. There’s so much in the assembly that the students don’t have the mechanical skills to really do (or at least these students) but my feeling is they should be watching and learning how it is done. Then when some of the simpler and more repetitive tasks come along, they could take over and finish. But after a few minutes of watching apparently they’ve spent their attention span and are off partying. I haven’t had a day off since the kickoff and it’s getting old, can you tell? :yikes:

I have noticed that many teams mentioned in this thread make a point of setting attendance/contribution and academic requirements for the students on the team. Setting standards is a great way to let students know where they need to stand. But simply putting these measures in place or making it a stick and carrot scenario is not enough. Having been a team mentor for two years, and being an education major (technology education to be exact), I have learned that the next step is assuring every student feels that they have something valuable to do. Do just tell them “hey, quit slacking, and go do something.” Rather, go yourself and find something for them to do, and make sure they realize the significance of their task to the success of the team. Keep on them about this too, don’t just give them direction once, and expect them to keep going. Some students just need a little more motivation than others. I don’t know how large some of your teams are, but I can tell you that this is obviously more difficult to do on larger teams. Also, newer students are less likely to be as motivated as some of the veterans on the team, but is important to keep them interested, and realizing potential student leadership in these students for a few years down the road when they become the backbone of the team.

Yeah, I agree. We call people, e-mail, post on the team’s forum, and “stalk” them in homeroom/halls. Calling has proven to be the most efficient, though.

But with the issue of letting them go to the regionals: we have a small team, and would love for everyone to be extremly dedicated, but sometimes, people just aren’t that into it…until they see it for themselves at a regional. If you take them to a competition, chances are they’ll get hooked.

You could tweak your policy a bit, and require a certain amount of hours that they give to the team, and keep a log in the workshop. If they still don’t commit, than you might want to inform them that you cannot consider them a member because of their lack of dedication. Its a somewhat long process, but it helps us keep those who just were a little hazy about robotics in general for their first year.