I know this was a pilot program, but I think it would benefit FIRST greatly to offer a low cost, regional, rookie-only competition to all new teams. I know we’re all a lot more excited about Great Lakes because of Kettering. We’re also more relaxed about some things because we know what we’re doing and what to expect. More importantly though, we’ll be able to go to the regionals and focus on the excitement of the event, rather than learning…all the things we learned at Kettering already!
I don’t know the statistics for first-year teams that do not compete as second-year teams, but I think it would improve the chances of a team reforming the second year if they had the opportunity to attend a rookie-only event before their first regional. Kettering was a great idea. Kudos to whomever came up with it!
Some important things we learned at Kettering that had nothing to do with the actual matches:
Put your team number on anything another team might easily mistake for theirs, or that another team might borrow then forget who they borrowed it from. There are too many similiar looking items at the competitions so identification is important if you want to come home with all of the same stuff you brought.
Bring…all the stuff we didn’t realize we needed until we were there. We’re making a list now of what we found out we could have used, but didn’t have.
There are many more things we learned and it was great to get this experience with other teams who were also learning. I felt it was a very low-pressure enviroment, which was perfect for the education a team gets at it’s first event. I know this will be invaluable when we go to the regionals. We’ll be prepared!