No Bag and Tag vs. Event volunteers

Here is a topic I have not seen discussed much. I have been a volunteer at regional events in MN starting in 2015. I am also a coach of a FRC team and a mentor to another FRC team. With the new no bag rule I will be spending my time from mid February tell my team is done competing working with students on the robot. If one of my teams do a week 6 event I will not be able to volunteer in 2020.

For me, I’ll be at the events. I am in a situation where there’s plenty of mentor support, though not necessarily all at the same time. It’s not too hard for us to shuffle a mentor or three around to make sure the shop is covered. I actually took most of 2017 off as a mentor no problem.

I think it’s going to be a mentor-by-mentor decision, based on team needs.

What better place to take inspiration from other teams and their ideas than at an event? What better way to get an up close and personal look at other teams’ robots and mechanisms than by volunteering? Imagine all the insights robot inspectors will gain for their own teams! That’s definitely the case now but there’s not as much you can do with the information… but with no bag I can take things I learn right back to my team.

I actually think there will be more incentive for teams to go to events where they’re not competing when bag and tag is retired. If you’re going to be there anyways… why not do so in a volunteer capacity…

This is one of those things where you can choose to bury yourself if you want to. I’m not totally sure why your team wasn’t already working on weekend during competition season, but no one is making you skip events to be with your team. Your team can work around it, or they can make do without you for those days.

I will say this: I don’t think it would be wise for teams to make drastic schedule shifts* in response to this change.

*I especially mean big increases in time spent. Shifting to fewer per-week hours but for more weeks makes a lot of sense

That is a big concern for me too. We don’t have a lot of other mentors to fall back on. I may not be able to volunteer either if it means short changing my team.

Maybe, but if I am at an event Wed-Sat. there is no robotics after school and no work getting done for 3 or 4 days…
We are not a mentor rich team

Since I don’t work on the robot the changes don’t effect me whatsoever. My team is well aware when competition season begins my affiliation with the X-Cats end and I am a part of team FIRST. They have never had a problem with it as they have plenty of people on the team to take care of matters during the maintaining of the robot up until FLR and beyond.

That would seem to be a function of your position as a lead mentor/coach.
What would the school/district policy on having someone else cover the lead mentor/coach position for X time be, out of curiosity? Not at all, district employee, designated individual?

Here’s what I don’t get.

If you are now considering leaving volunteer roles you’ve held previously to now (2020) help your team instead, I would wonder why weren’t you doing that before? I don’t really get why removing the bag effects whether anyone personally was willing to put time into helping their team instead of volunteering at an event or not.

I suppose those teams who didn’t have some kind of practice bot could argue they didn’t have things to work on, but I just have a difficult time buying that argument. There’s so much to do in a season regardless of whether you have a practice bot or not, that your team could always benefit from a mentor putting in more time with the team.

If they are needed to design an important sub system from the robot then I can see the team insisting that they stay on to help the team design it over serving FIRST.

Honestly though giving the students a half a week or week off wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. It gives them an opportunity to catch up on homework, take a step back from robotics to clear their minds (or watch matches on TBA and learn a ton) and then come back the next week reinvigorated and full of ideas to improve. You’ll be going back to the team after seeing what the Regional winning teams did (presumably with a lot of close up pictures/videos) and similarly with a renewed energy to improve.

With no bag, you have the option to slow things down, take a step back at times and still be very successful. I think the teams that don’t overreact to the retirement of bag and tag will be the teams that find the most success.

My point was why was that not the case before the bag was removed?

Exactly, FIRST is not mandating anything here. Teams can still do whatever teams want to do. If your team didn’t work on iterating the robot design after 6.37594 weeks of build time (before the change), you certainly do not have to now.

If your team was not iterating the robot design before the change and you were unaware that the vast majority of competitive teams were doing so, that is a different issue. The six week build season has been a myth for as long as there has been a 30LB with holding allowance and unlimited COTS parts and raw materials being allowed into an event.

This change simply lets all teams regardless of resources to keep iterating their robot up to their competitions.

Is this change making teams realize that they should have been working hard for more than six weeks a year all along?