we are a small team so its harder for us to have a nice looking robot with only 5 dedicated members its hard for us to gen members due to us not being affiliated with a school
bigger teams ≠ better teams. You can create good robots with less members, 5859 had one member and did really well for himself.
Extra members are always nice though, so it may be good to outreach to local clubs (boy scouts, 4h, etc) and maybe promote the team around at local schools.
Our team is currently unaffiliated with a school, but we still used the school to get people interested.
A few ideas
-friends: always encourage team members to reach out to any of their friends to join the team. Being friends, they probably hang out already, so why not hang out and build a robot?
-If the school(s) your members go to have a policy which allows posters to be put up, design a poster or two advertising the team (with information regarding when/where of meetings) and have your members put them up in the school. This worked pretty well for us this year.
-Get involved with your community: Contact local community members and see if there are community involvement resources. I know my hometown would send out a catalog of community activities before the summer started. If your community does something similar or has online resources for things families can have their kids do to be involved, try to get your team on that list. Any exposure your team gets in your community is good. That said, if there is anything your local community will allow you to do that would lead to more publicity for your team, like getting in the local newspaper or participating in a local parade or demonstration, try to do those things as well
-Try to become affiliated with the school: if you haven’t tried already, it’s worth a shot. Have your students present to the school board and explain why the school district(s) would benefit from a robotics program and try to get it affiliated next year. That would make school outreach a lot easier.
I am going to wager that your team does not currently operate year-round. Please correct me if I am wrong.
The best way to recruit students, gain school cooperation, training to build better robots, and getting funding, is by operating year-round. This means demonstrating your robot at schools, businesses, grocery stores, fairs, carnivals, concerts, town halls, and any other public event YEAR ROUND. This means fund raising at those same events YEAR ROUND. Partner with local businesses and sponsors year round.
Kids and mentors should work diligently and throughout the year to do this stuff. Robot demonstrations, open houses, and partnerships with local establishments is the only way to create a larger and sustainable team.
Reach out to other non-profits in your area. See what the boy scouts and girl scouts are up to in your area. Maybe you have a 4H club somewhere. Reach out to other teams near you to ask for help.
Based on your city, this is the list of teams in the area. https://www.thebluealliance.com/nearby?year=2017&location=Altadena&range_limit=100&search_type=teams
696 is near you, ask them for help with things like this. sanddrag is the mentor on here who you can contact. https://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/member.php?u=2022
Also, I think your 2017 robot actually looks pretty great. Don’t put yourselves down.
For what it’s worth, the team I am on now only really has about 7 active members on most days. On a good day it might be around 12. Feel free to PM me for help!
Would agree with a previous comment that a bigger team doesn’t always lead to a better team.
Before you start with active recruitment, make sure your team is ready for growth. Have plans in place for how to train new students & mentors, provide safety lessons, assign work, communicate, and facilitate larger meetings. Nothing is more disheartening than to see a student walk away from FIRST because a team wasn’t ready to handle a large influx of students and didn’t engage them. Our team worked to up the participation and smaller student learning groups as part of our fall training for new students and have a seen a more positive retention rate of incoming students.
Having been on a non-school affiliated team before, friends and family is your #1 tool for recruitment. Encourage current members to bring friends to robotics. I’ve encountered numerous students over the years who had a distorted view of robotics and when they showed up they decided to stick around.
Research where the youth in your community are and arrange demonstrations: local schools, after school programs, clubs, summer camps, sporting events, stores on a busy weekend, homeschool groups, etc. Beyond that, go larger and do the same for surrounding towns. I had a one hour drive each way to robotics when I was a student and so did some of my teammates.
Growing a team doesn’t happen in a day or season. Be patient and prepared.
We are also a community team. Our best sources of new members are:
- Local FLL teams, especially the ones we mentor
- Announcements to local charter schools and home schooling networks
- Outreach events
Start using the Kit of Part chassis. If you are concerned about making a better or better looking robot, that’s probably a great place to start.
Its hard when we have more mentors then students because the mentors feel like they are doing all the work we once had a mentor walk out and never return because another mentor had taken over what he was doing with out telling we also have a lot of problems like a unfinished website no social media and no you tube the main person who runs it is kind of unorganized and works for fema so he is really busy
First of all, if funding is an issue, I would try and do only a single event to give yourselves more off-time and also to save a few thousand $. If you can’t depend on yourselves to build a good robot going to two regionals will not help your situation.
I can’t comment on recruiting more students. The suggestion to operate year-round is a good one. Moving to Vex over FRC may also be an option if you find you need to downsize for a year.
funding is not a problem its getting the students
Year-round advertising and activity planning can help with that, then. If you go to local robotics outreach events then that helps get your name out there. Maker Faires are a good choice especially.
By far the single most effective student recruiting drive we’ve done was in fall 2014. We brought our pneumatic T-shirt cannon to every home game of our school, and had about a hundred students wanting to join. We had the rather peculiar situation of having to do tryouts for those wanting to be on the team! Even when we’ve done as much work in later years, we were never nearly so wildly successful at recruiting. Even so, about half of our student members AND mentors through the years have been the result of targeted recruiting - that is, team member/mentor/coach X deciding that [s]he was going to chat up and recruit person Y. The bottom line is that you have to recruit in ways both public and individual, relentlessly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But if you don’t try you’re practically certain to fail.
Having a small amount of members isn’t bad. Majority of my teams life they have had under 10 members and the advantage is thay everybody is very close, becomes almost like a family. The first year my team went to Worlds, they had only 4 members (2015). My rookie year we made it to Worlds again with 9 members (2016), and then last year we made it all the way to Einsteins with only 9 members. We currently have +30 new members and this sudden shock is difficult due to readjusting roles so everybody has something to do. Having a lot of members isn’t always beneficial right away when going from a small team to large, it takes some restructuring.