M.E.R.I.T. - Team 303 Panther Robotics

Mentoring Experienced Robotics teams In Transition

*Have you lost your funding?
Have you lost your mentor(s)?
Have you lost your advisor?
Have you lost your engineer(s)?
Have you lost your build space?
Have you lost your partner school?
Are you a veteran FIRST team that is in danger of “dropping out”?
Are you struggling to rebuild?
Are you wondering how you can achieve sustainability? *

Team 303 experienced all of the above in 2007 and wants to help other teams looking to survive and thrive. We have rebuilt and restructured. We have reinvented ourselves and know how challenging it can be.

When rookie FIRST teams are just beginning everyone wants to help. There are programs in place to support and nurture their growth. Every veteran team has been through the rookie year and is familiar with the challenges of nurturing a new FIRST team.

What we found in 2007 was that veteran teams do not have the same support structures in place to help rebuild. Yes, when we reached out to our friends we found very helpful advice, but we became aware quickly that building a new team with a veteran number is not a well worn path. Team 303’s rookie year was something that none of us had experienced but our will to survive kept us looking for ways to rebuild.

Every year new teams are added to the FIRST family, while veteran teams are lost to challenges they could not find a way to overcome. Every veteran team lost is opportunity lost for students. Team 303 wants to help.

If you find your team is struggling to survive or facing challenges please contact us. We can to help you identify your strengths and your needs. We want to help you create a survival strategy that works for you. Our goal is to help FIRST retain quality veteran teams that will continue to provide valuable opportunities to current and future students.

What we have discovered is that we actually became a stronger and more dedicated team. We are a different team than we used to be. We are more self sufficient. We have convinced more parents and people in our community about the benefits of supporting FIRST and its mission.

Contact Team 303/ Panther Robotics if you have questions or want more information. There is no charge. We just want to help. We are family…

Mike Panzarella, Team Advisor

Mark Andrews, Mentor (build)

Carolyn Nasson, Mentor (non-build)

Sounds like a great program. It is awesome to see teams helping out other well established teams in their time of need. While rookie teams are extremely important to the development of the FIRST program, helping retain all of the veterans teams is just as important. Congratulations 303 on taking a step up to the plate and offering advice for the teams of FIRST to help them keep with the program and continue to inspire for years to come.

It sounds Great! I hope you guys do some real good out there. There will be a day for most teams where they will come to a near end, and for a program to call on such as this, it will be awesome.

Thank you!

This is why I love FIRST. It is a great community full of charity and selflessness. What you guys are doing is one of the best things I’ve seen in FIRST. Keep it up!:]

After reading all these threads full of complaints and brilliant “observations”, it’s refreshing to finally see somebody actually doing something about the problems. This is what FIRST is truly about. A million kudos, hope many teams prosper from your program!:cool:

Please spread the word! If you know a team that is going through changes and may need support or advice contact Team 303 for further information on M.E.R.I.T. (See the contact info in the original post).


303, what a great idea. The wonders of FIRST…would you honestly find any other sport with teams helping each other out in their time of need?

Sure, I’ll spread the word when I can. If you have any business cards or flyers, I’ll pay for S&H. Also, I don’t know if you have a website, but a sub-site would help also, so a link can be passed around.

So sorry for the delay! Our internet was down for two days!!! (how did we survive before computers?).

We are working on creating a .pdf version of our program to post on our team website (www.team303.com). In the meanwhile you can direct interested teams to post here or use the contacts in the original post.

Thanks for your interest and for spreading the word!