Mentor/Student Involvement Philosophies

:ahh: This is the exact opposite of our programming team. We not only have Mentors teaching students, but we have experienced students teaching students. The kids that are in our programming team are much greatly inspired and even all of the freshman have been able to make a significant contribution to the code without any prior experience!

The goal is not to have a working robot, it is to have the STUDENTS build a working robot and a Mentor is one of the tools that they use to get to that goal.

I’m glad your team chooses to operate in a way that works for your team. Don’t conflate what is best for your team with what is best for every team.

Feel free to search the archives for thousands of posts on the subject matter. It’s been discussed to death.


I think it is important to point out that FRC is not a competition about it is not about which mentor team can build a better bot. The mission statement of FIRST is: “Our mission is to show students of every age that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding, but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future for us all.” -

Keyword: students

Not only that, but this is a competition for High School students. If mentors do a majority of the building, then what is the point of the competition? One could hire NASA engineers to build them a better robot and they would crush the group of high school kids that built their bot themselves. While it is important for Mentors to help, they SHOULD only be there for teaching purposes, no matter the skill of your team.

(Trust me, I used to be in the same camp as you, being upset about mentor “over-involvement.” Then, I actually talked to a few people from “powerhouse” teams and saw the impact they have on the students. You should try it. It really is eye-opening, and this is coming from a student who’s never been on a team with an annual budget over $7,000.)

Once again, this topic has been discussed to death, but the prevailing argument is typically this: what works for your team is a unique solution that is not fully duplicated by any other teams. Other teams have found different solutions that all achieve the goal of inspiring students, all by varying levels of mentor involvement. However, the common goal is almost always achieved: The students are inspired. If the students are being inspired, who are we to be telling them they’re being inspired wrong?

FRC: FIRST Robotics Competition.

It’s a competition. There is no rule that says we cannot have a team of 300 of the brightest engineers build our robot for us. Team 254 inspires students by winning and being better than 99% of everybody else. That’s their call to make, and not ours to discuss or criticize.

Please read the actual mission statement, located at, and then refocus your statement. I’ll spare you the trouble of going to the link. (Hint: You should have clicked the link at the end of that statement on the front page that you quoted.)

Emphasis mine.

Now that we’ve established that FIRST’s mission is accomplished by mentor-based programs, we can show that this is not necessarily a competition of high school students, but a competition of partnerships between high school students and adult (college/professional) mentors, and therefore your entire premise falls apart, save for one thing: the whole “engineer bot beats up on student bot” premise, which has already been taken care of on the field by the beatings going the other way as well as the mentioned way.

You inspire your way. I’ll inspire my way.

I knew we’d find a way to squeeze this issue into the build season this year. Good job!

Just because a team has 300 engineers doesn’t mean they are the best robot. Sometimes simplicity is the best.

“Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.” - The actual mission statement.

FIRST was founded on the basis of a partnership between mentors, students, and sponsors. How each team chooses to integrate those groups is their prerogative, and as long as they’re inspiring students and letting those kids see in themselves something they hadn’t before? It is nobody else’s business how they choose to run.

Done, done, and done. :deadhorse:


Let me first say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

That being said, I do think that the goal of FIRST is not to win at Nationals or even build really good robots. Rather, it is to educate students about STEM, give them some hands-on practice, and encourage cooperation and good sportsmanship.

This goal can be achieved with mentors. It can also be achieved without mentors.

Mentors seem to make a team more likely to win. But that isn’t the goal of FIRST! If mentors are capable of helping students learn, though, then they may be invaluable in achieving the real goal of FIRST. This is the true value of mentors.

Just as long as the mentors don’t do all the work while the students play Ping-Pong in the corner, which is defeating the whole purpose of FIRST. But I don’t see that happen very often.

Dang. We’re still beating this dead horse?


If tech firms were 100% run by teenagers, 99% of them would fail within their first 6 weeks. The world markets are too competitive and unforgiving.


Here I thought this thread was revived to discuss possible merits of Cheesy Vision for this year’s game. There seem to be a couple…

Can a mod just delete this thread? It has gone completely off track of the original intent.

I’ve been out of the FRC game for awhile. I didn’t even know this website existed until a week ago through an old friend.

Anyways. Mentor involvement is crucial for learning in general. Very few student are capable of teaching themselves everything. That being said, it irks me that a mentor of 254 made this post, and not a student. Take a look at other code releases. Having looked through the threads, I found another code release that was posted by a student whose first year in FRC was last year, and that code could honestly have a paper written about it and publish it in a peer review journal. It’s not anything to look into, it just gets under my skin coming from a team that had 2 mentors, both of which were teachers and not engineers, and less than 10 students.

The only way to explicitely prove if a team has there mentors do everything would be to do a build season without mentors, and each team given the same budget. But that is never going to happen, mostly for liability reasons I’d assume.

That being said, CheesyVision was an innovative, but extremely elementary, solution to a problem. Anyone with a basic understanding of computer vision could sit down and write it.

I agree with either locking this thread, or moving all of this discussion to a new thread and deleting the posts that have been added in the past day. This thread is about Cheesy Vision, not a place to argue about mentors vs students.

This thread should be locked. The discussion about mentors v students should be maintained just as a point of reference for the inevitable future discussions.


This thread has been split from the CheesyVision thread.