I’m pleasantly surprised to see a district in Asheville–hopefully that will stimulate teams in the western part of the state. (I know of 1225, and I think there was a second Hendersonville team for a while.)
It still boggles my mind that FRC has so much trouble taking root in the Charlotte area. I know Charlotte-Mecklenberg schools don’t “get it”, but sheesh! (Someone wanna buy the Michael Waltrip Racing shop and stir the pot up there?)
We’ve got Kai Orbus in Asheville-adjacent Weaverville…and a 2015 rookie team REaCH in nearby Spindale. Having an event in Asheville will hopefully attract a lot of attention to this, the most beautiful part of the state (most beautiful part of the country!).
Good option for Georgia teams looking for an out of district third event too.
YETI and the rest of the teams in the nearby area are working on the Charlotte track which is why we have most of the teams in the area in the Queen City Robotics Alliance. Once we have our robotics center up that should fuel this area with a lot more teams because we would not have to go through Charlotte-Mecklenburg school systems.
Having spent 10 years in WNC, I didn’t hear about FIRST until i moved to Virginia in 2006. What I can say is that there is a large economic barrier to FRC development in that area. In short, it is rather poor. I am pleased to see that my alma mater, Western Carolina University, is activity working on building the FIRST community in the region. They are focusing on FLL atm. I think it is a great place to start. It’s going to take a concerted effort to penetrate the mountains of WNC.
My mom’s side of the family grew up near Hendersonville growing apples. (The land is still in the family.) Silicon Valley it ain’t, but if there’s one thing they’ve got loads of it’s determination. I’ve got hope.
(And who knows, if/when South Carolina goes districts that would be a pretty enticing third event!)
NC FIRST wasn’t founded until 2009 if I remember correctly and all NC teams had to travel out of state to compete at that point. Since then though NC FIRST has been growing very quickly and the barriers for entry have been dropping. With the advent of districts all around the state hopefully that will only increase more
That may be true for the Triangle, but WNC is different. Since the textile bust of the late 80’s/early 90’s there as been little opportunity for the local communities. The economic base was destroyed. In Jackson county, where I lived, the two largest employers were the university (WCU) and the local hospital (Harris Regional). The base to support local FRC teams, financially, just isn’t there. Jackson County is not typical of the area. Swain and Graham, for example, are in bad shape because most of their land is under Federal protection and is unable to be developed.
NC FIRST has been around for well onto 6 years, can you explain why there isn’t a FRC/FTC team in the counties west of Asheville? Even counties with fairly large population centers like Jackson and Haywood counties only have FLL teams. There is a barrier to development that is unique to the area.
WNC, is a place I hold dear to my heart. If NC FIRST ever needed a coordinator to get FRC/FTC into the mountains, I’d move my family to do the job. There are so many kids the NEED FIRST and they will never get it; all because of where they live.
I would like to point out that I am VERY pleased that the District events are being spread fairly evenly throughout the state and are not being determined by team density. It is refreshing to see and i hope more districts follow this approach.
Yes, the higher financial and effort requirements in Western NC are a big cause like I said, as well as the lack of industry and corporate availability / interest like you said. Having a district event that is 4 hours closer than the NC Regional will help alleviate this; there is one rookie team founded this year in Western NC specifically because of this. Further work towards bettering the financial situation should spur even more growth.
If NC FIRST ever needed a coordinator to get FRC/FTC into the mountains, I’d move my family to do the job. There are so many kids the NEED FIRST and they will never get it; all because of where they live.
marie [at] ncfirstrobotics.org
Email her today. I can guarantee she would welcome your help with open arms.