Looking for a Rookie Team - we would like to mentor you!


iRambots 7470 is eager to mentor a new team. Please help us spread the word! Thanks so much!

Michelle Smith (coach)

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It’s cool that you’re actively looking to help another team. Have you contacted you regional director yet? They would be the ones to hook you up.

Anyone else from Georgia that has that info?

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Thanks for the suggestion. I have sent that email to the regional director, but I wanted to pursue multiple avenues. Keep us in mind if you hear of anything!

Michelle Smith

7502 CyberBuggies is looking to mentor as well. We are in Northern Indiana!

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It is great to see the ambition of teams wanting to mentor rookie teams. I can attest to the exhilaration of bringing a team from its first informational meeting to its first event. The excitement of watching a rookie team play their first match is incredible - and is only eclipsed when that team makes it into playoffs and/or wins its first award.

However, this is not always how it goes with rookie teams - sometimes the rookie teams just don’t win an award or worse, don’t have the resources (see: mentor commitment) to compete on the FRC stage for another year.

Mentoring a team is not at all an easy task. FRC 4607 has mentored over 25 FRC teams, 11 FTC teams, and 8 FLL/FLL Jr teams - and all with differing degrees of success. And as a mentor team, you must have the tools and skills needed to help the rookie team define success. Just because your team had a great rookie campaign DOES NOT MEAN that you are prepared for mentoring. There are few parallels between teams, schools, or communities - no matter the FIRST program.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not trying to discourage anyone from mentoring another team; it is just the opposite. I hope more teams will look to mentor not only rookie teams, but other FRC teams that need help in reaching that next level. Even as we head into our 8th season, FRC 4607 looks to stronger teams for mentorship from teams that have different experiences from ours!

FRC 4607 has mentored rookies and veterans alike - all with the intent of helping the mentored team to reach the next level of success. We have been successful in helping teams get into playoffs for the first time, win Regional Events, win Chairman’s, qualify for Champs, win RAS and RIA, etc.

That being stated, we have suffered failures when mentoring teams (two teams are no longer competing in FRC).

Of the teams we have mentored, over half (14) we started. That means FRC 4607 helped to identify local communities/schools that did not have FRC, helped to run informational meetings in their community/school, brought in our robot to lunch times/informational meetings, helped with registration, guided the school admin/lead mentors, helped to develop their business plan, worked to bring in sponsors and additional funding, educated the lead mentors on how to conduct meetings, aided in the development to produce a marketing program, work to develop a media team, and even set the team up with summer camps.

This is a huge load for an established team - and without the proper leadership/mentor structure in place - both the mentor and mentored team will suffer at some point.

Mentoring rookie teams means that part of our own team foregoes helping our own team at events in order to help the rookies load in, set up their pit, get through inspections/get radio ready, go through practice matches, and help their marketing teams to engage other FRC teams at the event. All of this means that a small army from your own team is working to help your rookie team. And if you are not at the same event - then you are looking at additional costs to your own team!

All of that stated - we have NEVER found a team to mentor on CD. Why? Because new teams don’t know that CD even exists. If you are looking to mentor a new team, then you should do one of two things:

  1. Contact your local Regional Director to find new teams
    Even if you do, please understand that this person may be apprehensive to hand over a rookie team to a team that just finished their rookie season.
  2. Contact local schools that do not yet have a FRC team (see: Activities Director).
    The problem here is that the AD is not looking for another program to support. This is a chicken vs egg problem.

Again, I am not trying to dissuade teams from mentoring - the process is a great learning opportunity for both teams. Keep in mind that mentoring is more a partnership than it is a Q&A session. When you embark upon mentoring a team it is a commitment that will run through at least one full FRC season (from Pre-season through the competition season) and will likely develop a bond, a relationship between the two teams for the foreseeable future.

Also - it is very common that the ‘mentored team’ ends up being a partner that may eclipse the ‘mentor team’ because they take the lessons to heart and then create a better organization for their own program (see FRC 6175: 2x Regional Winners, 3x MSHSL Qualifiers, 1x State Champs in 4 years vs FRC 4607: 1 Regional Winners, 6x MSHSL Qualifiers, 1x State Champs in 7 years). When mentoring a team, check egos at the door.

If you want more information on how to better mentor teams, please PM me. I am not stating that we have the corner on mentoring teams, but we have been able to raise up teams to the next level. Here are some stats on teams that FRC 4607 has mentored:

Highest Rookie Seed: 3
Rookie Inspiration: 1
Rookie All-Star: 6
Regional Alliance Captain: 4
Regional Finalists: 4
Regional Winners: 5
Regional Chairman’s Award: 1
State Champs Qualifier: 8
Champs Qualifiers: 11
Champs Division Captains: 1


I’d like to add on a bit to what @Chief_Hedgehog was saying, too.

Right now, you’re about to enter the third-hardest year of your FRC career. Last year was the second-hardest. Next year will be THE hardest if you haven’t laid your groundwork. (Rookie year is second because of rookie grants you can get. By year 3, you’ve probably aged out of many of the grants, and really have to work on funding.) This year is the year you know what you’re doing* and have a little bit of a breather to get that groundwork laid.

Rather than starting up another team, or mentoring them, I think you should be focused primarily on growing your sponsor base, improving relations with your school/sponsoring organization, and making sure you can keep recruiting for the next several years. Mentor your own new students (you did recruit some, right?) and stretch yourselves a little bit.

If you want to mentor this year, I suggest mentoring FLL team(s)–the time commitment can be much less, and you likely won’t have to support them as much during FRC competition season. Plus, they’re your feeder group for the future. When you establish that pipeline, you’ll also get more community contacts with it.

Oh, and if another FRC team asks for help, please do help them if you know how to do what they’re asking–if not, help them find someone who does, and you both learn. (As an example: I can’t count the times I’ve been able to open someone’s eyes to “wait, there’s a FIRST rep out here that can help us find funding? Why didn’t I know that before?” and similar matters.) But at this point you’re best served by being a team doing the asking on anything you don’t understand.


*This is debatable. You know some of what you don’t know, but there’s still quite a bit that you don’t know that you don’t know. OTOH, you know now what you didn’t know last year. I hope…

P.S. Your fourth-hardest year will be Year 5, the year after you lose the last founding student.


Yes. The financial commitments are much less so it is easier for FLL teams to get funded. The team members are younger so they are more likely to listen to what you say. Their build and competition season does not overlap (much) with the FRC season, depending on your local FLL competition schedule. If your team are such good FLL mentors that the team advances to the World Festival in April, your team should have the capacity to continue to mentor them through the FRC season. If your FLL team(s) can learn to use sensors effectively, they can become very valuable members of your FRC team. Many of the techniques they learn from FLL will be useful in FRC. Unfortunately, none of the FLL teams that my sons and I have mentored fed into the FRC teams that we worked with.

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