NRG 948 2022 Offseason/Training Season Updates

Hey everyone!

The Newport Robotics Group (aka NRG 948) is super excited to be going into our 21st season with the #openalliance (we’re not technically a member yet, but hopefully soon!). A little bit about us: our team is based at Newport High School in Bellevue Washington with about 70 members. 2022 was a special year for us, like everyone else, learning how to bounce back from quarantine. We’re looking to get to know other teams and learn from each other! Here are some of our offseason + training season updates to start (it’s a long post, so we’ve split it up into sections) -

Leadership Training:

For context - NRG Team Structure:
We have mentors and advisors to oversee the whole team. Then, the CEO handles the operational subgroups and subteams while the CTO manages the technical subgroups and subteams. Members are required to join one subgroup but they can join as many teams as they’re interested in.

This summer we worked on leadership training. This included curriculum training/professional development for our VPs and Captains taught by our teacher advisor, as well as lessons on what being a leader means and the commitments of the positions taught by our school’s ASB advisor .We opened up the training to other members of the Bellevue Alliance but the focus mostly surrounded our team. This training definitely tied into teaching our leadership team more about the commitments to being a leader, beyond gracious professionalism. The curriculum training also played a role in the development of our new Knights in Training program as we discussed standards, skills and ways to assess understanding. Our CD post on the training can be found here.


This year, we’ve got an amazing team of experienced veterans, some great new mentors (and of course our wonderful returning ones!), and a group of motivated and eager rookies. Some of our recruitment strategies -

  1. Morning Announcements + Teams Announcements
  2. Instagram Posts tagging ASB + Class Offices accounts
  3. Flyers up at school
  4. Class Pitches (team members pitch in the targeted classes that are aimed to recruit a variety of talented people)
  5. Word of Mouth - use those friends you have and get them in!

Recruitment Timeline

  1. Assembly Presentation
  2. Club Fair
  3. Team Interest Meeting - Info Presentation + Q&A
  4. Open House - an open shop marketed towards families to show what subgroup activities will look like in person. (note: targeting it towards families allowed us to recruit members and mentors as well as market towards younger siblings)
  5. Team Orientation - the end of (active) recruitment we gave them an info dump of team + FIRST info

NRG Recruitment Philosophy: Our team focuses on targeted recruitment. As a typically larger team each year, we aim to recruit a diverse group of underclassmen each year. Targeted recruitment emphasizes our aim to be an inclusive and equitable team. We’re looking to recruit underrepresented communities whether that be a minority social economic class, race, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, grade, etc. This also means we might target recruitment towards smaller subgroups ex. Business or marketing and we want to tailor robotics to get more people with varied interests ex. Graphic designers, business people, writers, etc compared to just targeting AP STEM classes.

Photos from our Team Interest Meeting:

Photos from our Open House:

Team Processes Updates:

Knights in Training (KiT): Knights in Training is a new certification system recently added in the offseason to standardize training in robotics. Each subgroup has three tiers: Squire (Beginner), Page (Intermediate), and Knight (Advanced). Each tier consists of skills and knowledge that team members must demonstrate. As the tier levels increase, the difficulty of the tasks get progressively harder.


Page Level Systems:

Squire Level Systems:

Knight Level Systems

note: there are more skills that didn’t fit in the screenshot for each tier

Under my Shield (UMS): Under my Shield is an adaptation of Team 2412 - The Robototes’s Under my Wing Program and Newport High School’s Link Crew Program. New members will pair up with a veteran from the same subgroup in order to shadow and learn from them.

Training Plans:

We will be having 25 training season meetings before kickoff. Our VPs of each subgroup have their own individualized training curriculum plan which we’ll be keeping members updated on each week.

Mock Kickoff

Saturday 9/24 we are having a mock kickoff for Rapid React with the BA (more on the BA below). It’s intended to act as a hook but also an immersive experience for both new and returning members. It introduces them to how FRC works a bit. It’ll refresh the minds of veterans and prepare rookies prior to our 3 upcoming offseason comps (Girls Gen, Bordie React, and Block Party) in October. They can learn and explore what designs actually were used at comp and see which designs were successful. We’re also making attendance a requirement for rookie members who would like the opportunity to be on Drive Team for PNW Block Party. Their learning can also be reinforced through match scouting and a scouting scavenger hunt we’re calling “Chasing Lightning”. We’ll include a debrief of the event in next week’s update!

Bellevue Alliance:

We’ve been working with the rest of Bellevue Alliance (BA) teams (492 and 949, as well as OA members 1899, 2412, and 7461) to strengthen the alliance and provide more infrastructure for the organization. We’ve also been working on developing a playbook for other teams looking to start their own local alliance. This is currently still a work in progress,


Phew! That was a lot. Let’s hope we have enough energy to keep this thread updated. Thanks to our CTO for writing the bulk of this post. And thank you for reading!

Best of luck to all teams this year!




How did your mock kick-off event go?

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Last weekend on Saturday 9/24, we helped host a mock kickoff with the Bellevue Alliance. It was intended to act as a hook and an immersive crash course into FRC design and strategy. Below is a retrospective of the event with stats and details:

Mock Kickoff in Numbers

Overall Attendance: 70 people
NRG in Attendance: 35 people (50% of all attendees)

Averaged Scores from Feedback Form:
Amount Learned: 3.⅗

1 and 2 scores came from veterans who already knew the content and were helping out rookie groups

Amount of Work Received: 4.0/5

Amount of Guidance Received: 3.6/5


Something that went well was having different teams do different presentation sections. This allowed not just the rookies to learn something new, but we were able to teach each other new processes.

However, we were all really busy and despite intending to do a run-through of the presentation of the event, we weren’t able to. So the presentation was a little bit scuffed because we didn’t practice it beforehand and then things came up for different teams and so we had missing presenters but since we all knew the content, the improvisations went pretty well.

We failed with timing even though we had a rough agenda. We grossly overestimated the time needed for mock kickoff and could have probably cut it down by 1-2 hours. We based the timing off past mock kickoffs where we would go over the game manual but we skipped over reading the game manual since we thought the rest of the sections would take longer. We didn’t plan ahead on how much time we would give for each set of discussions and gave them too much extra time.

Below is a breakdown of the agenda for this event and the benefits + setbacks of each section.

Explain how FIRST games are released/What is Kickoff (1899/948)

We went over the basics of why we were doing mock kickoff and explained that there was a new game each year. This section was fairly efficient and was just a brief overview of the topic.

Introducing the game (2412/7461)

Explain the game (Rapid React → show game animation) (2412)
We explained the game to the rookies, and despite showing the game animation, it wasn’t enough for the rookies to fully grasp the nuances to the game. However, going over the main parts like the shooting for upper hub and lower hub and climbing, helped rookies understand the basics they needed for strategy and robot design.

Field breakdown (7461)
We opted to go over the game and field breakdown as a group to expedite the event, however, in retrospect, it probably would have been more beneficial to have spent the extra time we had going over the game manual. We provided a synopsis of the rules and field but didn’t have attendees read the manual themselves and learn about the nuances of the regulations. (More about how this impacted robot design below.)

Strategy (492)

This section was really successful and went mostly smoothly. We went over how to use the spreadsheet for priorities. However, there were unnecessary columns which confused people because they were irrelevant for mock kickoff since the spreadsheet was directed towards a more in-depth strategy breakdown for real kickoff. Groups were also confused on what “features” entailed but by giving some examples, they were able to build off from there. After we had groups discuss and list different features and how they would prioritize them, we allowed groups to continue discussing amongst themselves on disputes. Disputes were disagreements they had with how other groups prioritized the different features and we allowed them to share out why they would or wouldn’t rank something as high, medium, low or couldn’t care less. Then we did a simple majority vote for how to rank them. This went fairly smoothly as rookies were able to conceptualize the reasoning behind the game and it set us up for robot design since we had a priority list to base off of.

Robot Designing (948)

Basic Robot Mechanisms (948)
It succeeded in delivering the basics well however, the more complex concepts were too rushed and hard to conceptualize for new members. We could have added more photos since some of the more complex drive bases are hard to envision without photos. Having this in the powerpoint as a resource allowed for the groups to refer back to these options they had when designing a robot. We also encouraged them to be creative, but reasonable in their designs, hoping to spark new ideas, not just old ones.

Robot Design (948)
We basically just made it an open period for each group to work on their robot design. Originally, we shared what kind of drive base they wanted and interestingly, we had some groups choose tank drive despite most groups choosing swerve. We prompted the groups that chose tank drive to elaborate and they had good reasoning. However, different groups moved at different paces so we opted to allow them to just progress on their own rather than sharing out each part of their robot. We also noticed that when they shared too early, their designs and opinions became very similar to one another’s. However, even though we had them share out towards the end, they still clearly had similar elements to their robots. A flaw we didn’t consider was that by not letting them review the game manual, they underestimated the difficulty of traversing. Many designs they had would have broken the height restrictions on the robot, but we didn’t plan enough time for them to explore that in depth. Overall though, the robot design experience was a success and the concepts were good initial baselines for them to further develop at real kickoff.

As for presentations for the Robot Designs, we tasked them with creating a sketch of their design and preparing to present it to the whole group. This was a bit scuffed with some groups since they were unprepared and some presenters weren’t sure what they were talking about. During presentations, and throughout most of the event, we tasked veterans with guiding the rookies rather than doing it for them. We prevented the veterans from directly sharing out but they helped their team with prompts which really helped the rookies understand more about what they were talking about. This section could have been better prepared structurally but since there were last minute changes to presenters, we had to improvise for this section.

Scouting (2412)

We briefly went over scouting and how it correlates with understanding strategy and robot design. We had intended to do mock scouting for the human game, but with a change in plans, that didn’t really work since the plan for the human game was just to pull volunteers and let them have fun with the game.


We had breaks throughout the event, including a 15 minute snack break and lunch.

We set lunch for an hour, which was a little bit too long, and there was a loss of about 50% of people after lunch ended but the extra time was spent playing “GP dodgeball” which people had a lot of fun with. It allowed people from different teams to have fun together and interact, which is a big reason we wanted to make it a Bellevue Alliance mock kickoff rather than doing it amongst our individual teams.

Human Game (949)

For the Human Game, we wanted to simulate the real Rapid React Game. We used 6 spinny chairs as the “robot” and two sets of past cargo to differentiate between alliance one and two. During auto, the “robots” aka people on spinny chairs had to maneuver around themselves for the first 15 seconds and were preloaded with a ball. Then, when tele-op came, they would have someone to push aka “drive” for them and they would intake balls by picking them off the ground. From there they would go to the hub and shoot into a lower tote, and an upper tote on a chair to simulate the upper and lower hub. We simulated the difficulty of the upper hub by leaving half of the tote shut. Then for climb, they had to do a handstand against the two ends of the gym. The scorekeepers would keep track of the score and then we’d announce the winning alliance. This game simulation added a lot of fun to the event because it wasn’t as information intensive as the presentation. It allowed rookies and veterans to bond and have fun since they had been working in one spot for most of the day. Definitely worth keeping in.

How Offseason Comps Work (948)

We briefly went over how mock kickoff applies to offseason comps. New members would be able to compare their robot designs to the real robots that they see at competition and draw parallels between what really worked in the actual game versus what they anticipated would or wouldn’t work during mock kickoff. Offseason competitions are a great way to reinforce the learning about robot mechanisms and strategy that they learned during mock kickoff. (We’ll follow up with another update on how much they learned after our three offseason competitions.)

Other notes

Creating Groups - We rearranged people at the beginning of the event to help spread out the cliques of teams sitting at the same people and to include the different people who were left out. This helped us condense the groups and increase inter-team collaboration. It prevented members from the same team from just interacting with each other, and helped them interact with other people and get new ideas too. However, one thing we struggled with was people coming in late, and so slowly the groups got a little large, however by the time we got to robot design, the groups had shrunk because people had left, so attendance did fluctuate throughout the event. The first half had sufficient retention but then some people left during the snack break and others left during lunch.

BA Mock Kickoff resources can be found here: This folder contains:

  1. Planning Document
  2. Guiding Presentation
    1.5 Strategy Priority Spreadsheet
  3. Game Manual

Overall, it was a fun event and we learned a lot from it. Stay tuned for this week’s weekly report!


This week was our first full week of training for our rookies and veterans and honestly? The leadership team is really impressed. Our rookies are showing a lot of dedication and are quick to pick up what we’re teaching. Some of the VPs are actually getting worried as they’re learning quicker than we can make lessons for them. They’ve been super committed and willing to learn. Below is our update for 09/26-10/02, summarized from each subgroup VP’s weekly report:

The Leadership (CTO/CEO) prepped a ton of materials for offseason events, including flyers for our Marginalized Genders Equity Initiative (MGEI) and resources and activities for rookies. Business and Marketing have been writing lots of grant applications and working on pit decorations. CAD is working on getting software up and running for the rookies and having lots of fun playing games (and watching, direct quote, “the best video on the internet”) for subgroup bonding. Programming has been testing a 3-ball auto as well as getting the rookies used to the FRC ecosystem. Mech and Systems have both been working on training rookies for the build season.

Newcastle Library Outreach Event:

On Saturday we had an outreach event at Newcastle Library to demo our robot and teach basic circuitry. We taught kids how to drive our 2022 robot and about Arduino, pitched FIRST to parents, and introduced kids to competitive robotics and FLL.

Event Purpose: 1. Train Rookies 2. Recruit for FLL team 3. Promote FLL/FTC

Outreach in Numbers:

NRG in Attendance: 13

Audience: Elementary and middle school kids, parents

Reached: 150

Impressions/Impacts: 75

Takeaways: This event was really successful and we had lots of fun! We had a station for driving the robot as well as learning circuits with breadboards and arduinos. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it with a robot dance-off happening at one point. Quite a few of our rookies also volunteered to come, and they got a chance to talk to members of our community as well as learn about our bot. Prior to the event, we had a mini lesson on how to pitch for the rookies and they slowly learned how to promote FLL as well as the team. Placing this event at the library allowed us to gain attention from people we hadn’t directly marketed to, so kids and parents who were simply passing in the library could come in and out. However, a future improvement for us would be crowd control since our use of the space created a large crowd by the door and the line was unclear. Additionally, our packing could have been improved since we forgot to bring pins and buttons to give away. It also would have been more helpful to have handouts about FLL and FIRST, however we were able to improvise with sticky notes and starting a sign up sheet with emails for more information after the event.


Girls’ Generation Preparation

After the event, we headed to our shop. The rookies (and a few of our veterans) did some much-needed maintenance on the robot to prepare it for Girls’ Generation next week. We changed the tread on our robot and greased up the chains and gears. On Sunday, we did some drive practice at TRC’s practice field and it was definitely a learning experience but our robot needs a tune up before we can really start practicing!


Last weekend we headed to Tahoma High School to participate in Washington Girls’ Generation (thank you to Team 2046 Bear Metal for hosting the event!). This was the first time our rookies experienced a full competition, and we had a lot of fun.

Before competition started, we needed to replace our PH with a PCM, but otherwise the robot was in a mostly playable state. Our drivers had a few weeks of practice, and were catching on quickly, especially as they all were veterans who knew the robot.

We’ve also got some merch in the works, so stay tuned for that (coming soon™)!

At the Competition
At the competition, we played a lot of defense (our match schedule had us defending 2910 and 2046 a total of 5 times), scored points, climbed, fell from both the mid and high rungs (and sometimes both at once), released the magic smoke, replaced a pressure vent (for only the second time that week), bent and then unbent our climber pistons, and - in terms of robot performance, most importantly - got our first traversal climb at a competition.

The traversal climb was finished just days after our last competition in March, and although we refined and tested the climber over the spring and summer, we never had gotten a chance to prove it in a competition. Unfortunately, we only managed to get to the high rung on Saturday before bending the pistons. We managed (thanks mostly to our excellent mentors) to get them straight enough to extend and just barely retract, and during our very last qualification match, we were able to pull it off.
Qual Match 59

We were picked by the 3rd alliance (led by 2046 Bear Metal and 1294 Pack of Parts) and got to the semifinals. We got a few more traversal climbs and really enjoyed working with them.

In addition, our rookies were able to experience an amazing competition, and many were also able to be Human Player or Technician during our matches. While in the stands, they scouted and made some excellent notes about other teams.

They (as well as members of other teams) also enjoyed Chasing Lightning, our scavenger hunt to introduce members to aspects and the fun things of competitions.



The wrench we borrowed from 4180 (thanks Iron Riders!) to tighten our piston nuts

Looking Forward
We’re registered for the PNW Sammamish District Qualifier, and we’ll (hopefully) also be competing at Glacier Peak!

This week, we’ve been tuning our climber hooks and replacing our pistons. Our programming rookies have also been prepping some auto sequences to run for Block Party.

We’re super excited to be heading to fellow BA and OA member 2412’s Bordie React this weekend! Good luck to all teams competing!


It’s been 3 weeks since our last post…

So we just recently finished our first stretch of training season. From recruitment, a mock kickoff, to 3 offseason comps, the first two months of our season have been a grind even out of build season. So here’s a breakdown of how our offseason comps went:

(We will be recapping our recap of GG and BR)

Girl’s Generation

As the first competition of the offseason, the competition was a little rough. Balancing between college apps and robotics, our leadership dropped the ball and we forgot to pack some of our tools for the pit. However, the ethos of Gracious Professionalism pulled through as we were able to borrow needed supplies from other teams. Additionally, the communication of who was on pit crew and drive team became very muddled as the competition progressed as sometimes people would be in the pits and other times they would be in the stands. However, this competition really highlighted the skillsets of the marginalized genders on our team. The drive team blended veterans (drive coach, driver, and operator) and rookies (human player and technician) to ease the rookies into the competition experience. They had a good time, but the stress was definitely there. With limited time for drive team training, we failed to teach our drive team how to set auto paths which was something we had to learn mid-competition. However, there was a lot of energy put towards scouting and cheering towards this competition by all our marginalized. The biggest issue we faced throughout comp however was trying to maintain our emphasis on having our marginalized genders do the work. While our programming team tried to code an auto path between matches, they forgot to emphasize teaching the marginalized genders at comp over getting the task done. Both mentors and executive leadership worked to remind our leadership to prioritize teaching over winning. Despite the setbacks, it was a good start to our offseason competition. Thank you to Bear Metal for hosting the event!


Bordie React

This was our veteran competition where our veterans got their time to shine at competition. It gave our experienced members a refresher for the upcoming build season. Thank you to the Robototes for hosting the event!


PNW Block Party

Despite our rank as 25th at the end of qualifications, our team successfully made it to the semi-finals in an alliance with IRS and Hotwire. Even though, we struggled competitively, this was our All-Rookie competition. For PNW Block Party, only our team rookies were allowed to fix the robot in pit crew and be on drive team, with the exception of a veteran drive coach. Our subgroup VPs were in the pits guiding the rookies but they were not allowed to touch the robot and could only give verbal instructions. Our mentors also took a step back in a more hands off guidance for our new members. We even had a rookie scouting lead and team representative for Alliance selections. Overall, it was our best event. The team culture that developed as a result was amazing. Our rookies drove our robot and successfully pulled off a traversal climb multiple under half an hour of drive training. Then our pit crew fixed our robot up and changed the intake in competition by themselves with a little help. The training they received over the past two months really showed their impact at the event and we’re so proud of the team. We can’t wait to see what our rookies do.


Our Mech VP in Slack, after day 1 of Block Party


New chain and sprocket, replacing our old, worn out gears on the middle of the intake bar #rookiebuilt

Merch for Sale

We’re so glad to announce that our offseason hoodies are available for purchase here: Cost: $35 each

Currently, we only have sizes Medium and Large. If you are interested in another size, please fill out this google form -

Fun fact: Most of the people in these photos are rookies. All of the pictures were taken on one day, with no advance planning or coordination.

To Login

If you are a Bellevue School District student:

  • Login with your school info

If you are not a part of BSD:

  • Create a guest account (linked at the bottom of the website)

To Purchase

Select “Other Schools” —> “High Schools”

Select “Newport High School”

Select “Robotics” —> “NRG Hoodie”

Select Checkout to Pay


The window for pre-orders will close on November 31st. It will take the hoodies 1-2 weeks to arrive, after which we will notify you that our hoodies have arrived. You will be able to pick them up at our shop (ESC West) when they arrive. (We do not have shipping yet at the moment but we will send out more information as decisions come out)

Mid-Training Season Check in Results

Following three competitions in one month, we sent out a simple check in form to the team. We’ll publish results soon!

Looking forward, we plan to continue training members two times a week. We’re also directing our focus more towards outreach now and will be pulling weekend meetings to clean up our shop and practice field - hopefully we’ll have a tidied and accessible full size practice field. Our leadership team has started meeting once a week and we’re ready to see how the rest of the training season will come.


Go buy the merch, it’s awesome.

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“Soon” being a week later, but here’s what we learned.

We got a total of 37 responses on the form. The form was optionally anonymous.

Questions on the form:

  • How has your experience on the team been? (1-10: bad - amazing)
  • Do you think you get to do work when you come in? (1-5: never - all the time)
  • How respected do you feel on the team? (1-5: not at all - extremely)
  • How much do you think you are learning? (1-5: nothing - alot)
  • How often do you think your leadership gives you clear guidance? (1-10: never - always)
  • How much fun did you have at the offseason competitions? (skip if you did not attend) (1-10: boring - living the life <3)
  • How much do you think you learned at the offseason competitions? (skip if you did not attend) (1-10: nothing - alot)
  • A few optional open-ended questions


  • Overall, we averaged above 4 (or 8 for the 1-10 questions) for every single category, with a 4.49 on the Respect question. That’s very good
    • Particular points to work on is making sure people feel the have work to do (4.16) and Guidance (4.05)
  • We split up the data by subgroup, grade, and gender. With subgroups especially, there were subgroups with only one or 2 responses, which made the results more extreme than the other subgroups.
  • Small sample sizes made the results more extreme (generally in the negative direction)
  • Our singular response for Non-Binary was comparatively low, and we’ve been working with them to address their concerns (they helpfully put their name on it)

17 Freshmen, 15 Sophomores, 3 Juniors, 2 Seniors

18 Male, 18 Female, 1 Non-Binary


  • Making some of the questions on a scale of 1-10 and others on 1-5 was confusing and made getting it all into a spreadsheet harder.
  • We should have added a question about rookies or veterans, as it seemed like veterans rated the “learning” question much lower than the rookies
  • More advertising, as 37 is not bad but could be improved upon. The link to the form got buried by other posts, and we could have sent it out more in the smaller channels as well.

We have a copy of the spreadsheet and form available.


Last week, we continued training our rookies and on Saturday we went to Seattle Children’s Museum for an outreach event!

We also got our NASA grant approved, now we can put NASA onto our shirts and sponsor panels! Thanks Business for all the work y’all did for this! And thank you to NASA for the grant!

Weekly progress updates

  • Business’ grant work paid off!
    • Got a grant from OSPI (Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) as well! Thanks OSPI!
  • Programming is working on rookie swerve code
    • They have also split some of the rookies who expressed interest in further java training into a separate group, and they seem to be enjoying it
  • Mech has been making an arm/intake as a rookie project, as well as rebuilding our battery cart
  • Systems is finishing up their rookie boards, and they’ve really learned a lot about wiring. We’ll be using the boards for future lessons, testing platforms, and mechanisms
  • More merch inbound/arrived, but this time it’s hats! We’ll have more information shortly, need to get it through the school.

We’re planning on doing an extra Saturday meeting to clean up our shop and redo our practice field (which, once we clean it up, will be open to other teams as well).

Seattle Children’s Museum Outreach Event

On Saturday we went to Seattle Children’s Museum in Seattle Center with our 2020 competition bot (the car that was transporting the robot this time couldn’t fit our 2022 bot). We were there the entire day with 12 representatives from our team (although members came in and out). The kids who came in (ranging from around 3 years old to 8-ish) drove the robot while we talked to their parents and guardians about our team, FRC, FIRST as a whole, and FLL in particular. We estimate that we reached 200 people and impacted about a quarter of that.

Other highlights from our outreach report:

  • At some points we had too many people and too few jobs, sometimes it was the opposite. Pre-assigning jobs might have helped.
  • The robot had a few software and a few mechanical problems
    • The roboRIO is still on 2020 firmware, so we can’t deploy 2022 code onto it. The robot is currently using code from Bordie Recharge last year. We plan on
    • We appear to have lost a spacer in one of the shafts. Because we didn’t have the correct tools on hand, we ignored the wobbly wheel and did periodic checks, tightening when needed.
  • Some of the drivers maintained consistent circular skid marks on the ground, to our great surprise and amusement
  • All the maintenance we had to do gave us a moment to show what FRC troubleshooting looked like (“This isn’t good…” “meh, it’s fine for now”) and have visitors come closer to the robot.
  • Rookies did great explaining FIRST/our robot, robot maintenance/repair, teaching driving, marketing in the museum, and taking media

Thank you so much SCM for hosting us! It was a ton of fun!


“Rookie” (?) driver. Sorry about the floor SCM! Might need to replace those wheels soon.

Wheel checks. It was surprisingly fun to show the troubleshooting process, though looking back we could have slowed down a little to explain.



On Monday 11/21, we’ll be having our first Marginalized Gender Equity Initiative (MGEI) meeting, which aims to promote gender equality & provide a perspective on being a non-male in STEM. If you identify as a MG, we’d love to see you there!



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A belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Weekly/Biweekly Subgroup Progress Updates

  • CAD is busy trying to fix/replace the hotend on our Pulse 3d printer after it decided that spewing a climber hook’s worth of nylon on itself would be a great idea.
  • The Systems rookies finished up their practice boards, and they look great. As an additional lesson, Jason and I had a little bit of fun messing up their boards and telling them to fix it. They were pretty fast, but methodically troubleshooting is still something we need to cover. Hopefully they learned exactly why smart tugs are important, though!
  • Programming has shifted from lectures to project-based work, with rookies continuing work on their swerve drives.
  • Mechanical is doing some prototyping as well as building a new battery cart!

All the subgroups are making progress on KIT, with lots of rookies getting close to page level.


Revamped Practice Field

Imagine this: You’re a team finishing up your robot. It’s getting pretty late, but you want to try and test “one last thing”™ in an open area. So you get charged up to head outside.

Then you realize you’re in the Pacific Northwest. In the winter. Which means it’s raining (or just really, really cloudy).

Never fear! NRG is here! Our newly redesigned and re-energized field is open 24/7 and is covered by a building and only has a small likelihood of flooding in the rain*.


To my knowledge it’s only ever actually flooded, like, thrice? At least in the past few years. The rest just had some water coming in. Think of it as a water game.

We’ll hopefully have some more information about this soon!

Saturday Meeting

On 11/19 we had an optional meeting. In addition to cleaning up our field (looks so much better now!), we covered scheduling for build season and other planning. One of our major issues last year was properly allocating prototyping time, and we should have used our resources (mainly time and people) better. Our goals for this year include clear schedules and assigning people to prototyping groups, as well as having a final CAD and practice drivebase done as soon as possible by working in parallel.


We’ve been working with our feeder middle school’s FLL team to get their 3 teams ready for their upcoming competition. We were a little late to start mentoring them, but they’ve made some great progress so far! They’ll be competing this weekend at the FLL competition hosted by Saints Robotics 1899. Updates to come after!

MGEI Recap

We had our MGEI meeting on Monday, and it went very well. Thank you to everyone that came - we’ll be hosting an online meeting sometime soon!

Thanks for reading and see you next week (or maybe the week after)!


We are now a member of the Open Alliance! :partying_face:

The past few weeks we’ve been doing more work into our planning and scheduling for the build season. We got snowed out two meetings in a row, unfortunately. We had a virtual meeting on Thursday the 1st since we had a bit of advance warning.

Subgroup Updates

  • During the virtual meeting we covered awards and further hashed out our plans with the schedule
  • Programming worked on Limelight as well as refactoring our 2020 code, giving rookies a chance to look at other robots’ code and ask questions about it
  • Systems taught the rookies about motors and sensors
  • Mech worked on intake prototyping and battery cart
  • We also did a whole bunch of cleaning

One of the Systems boards made by the rookies


For the past month or so, we’ve been mentoring 3 FLL teams at our feeder middle school. Despite a slow start and a snowed-out last week (the teams had to change from their originally-scheduled event to Snohomish as the closest one got postponed), one of the teams, Nachos, advanced to semifinals! We’re super proud of them and the other 2 teams Winging it and Artemis, and all the work they put in. Nachos is currently working on improving their Innovation project and preparing the robot, strategy, and documentation for their comp at Henry M. Jackson High School (thanks 2910 for hosting!).

In addition, our rookies also gained valuable mentoring experience. Many of our FLL mentors were freshmen, and despite going in with basically no mentoring experience and barely being older than the middle schoolers, quickly learned to work with them and guide the chaos into organized teams.

Scheduling and Build Season Planning

  • As mentioned last time, we’ve been working on a lot of documents behind the scenes to help streamline our build and prototyping process
  • This year we’ll be reviewing our prototypes twice before the end of Week 2, with the goal being to prevent working on designs that just simply won’t work or take too long
  • We’ve been working on an Evaluation matrix where each prototype is assigned a weighted score in specific categories, and the numbers-only winning design(s) are kept alive
    • We’ve been using this with the FLL teams we’ve been mentoring, and have been scaling it for the complexities of FRC
    • Another goal of the matrix is to provide a view of it that looks at it from a “how hard is this for each subgroup?” perspective

  • We’ve also been working on a part tracker, with our current draft being a modified version of the PBS tracker, like 3512

    • We considered cheesy-parts and the like but the requirement for a server was a bit of a non-starter for us
  • We also didn’t make an engineering notebook last year, so this year we’re planning on making one to consolidate our ideas and make it easier for those who missed a day to see what’s going on (in addition to our Weekly Reports and other documentation).

  • We’ve also been making spreadsheets to log mechanism testing and troubleshooting as well.

  • The hard part to all these documents will probably be making sure we stick to updating it, though!

Happy Holidays from NRG!


Happy holidays!

Although we only had one, optional meeting last week and another one yesterday, we do have a couple of updates to share.

Bellevue Alliance

We are currently working on outreaching with other teams both nationally, and internationally to potentially start more local alliances.Here is the link to the interest form if you have any questions about our Playbook or are interested in starting your own local alliance!

Our Stuff

We had 20 years of stuff lying around, and most of it was junk (one of the rookies saw a throttle motor for the first and probably/hopefully the last time*).
* Knowing us, we probably have at least a few more throttle motors in a box somewhere.

We’ve already thrown a lot of stuff out, but it just seems Sisyphean. We’re hoping to have a fresh, clean workspace and a documented organizational system before entering build season, with the intent of increasing efficiency during build season. There’s more to go but we’re making progress! Our Mech space is much clearer and Systems has thrown out multiple totes of stuff. Thanks to our mentors and advisors for helping clean and for making multiple trips to the dumpster for us!
Thanks to 7461, 3786, and 9036 as well for stopping by and helping clean up today, and we also got to see one of our alums as well :slight_smile:

Free stuff

We have a bunch of stuff left, and we’d love to have you pick it up (and get it off our hands). We’re planning on taking part in 1294 Pack of Parts’ “Pack up your Parts”, but if you want it before then feel free to come by! We’ve already had 9036 Ramen Robotics (the newest member of the BA) stop by.

Inventory list
  • CIMs (of varying quality)
  • 2- and 3-CIM ball shifter gearboxes (very old but they’re probably still working)
  • Throttle motors
  • 8-inch VEX Omnis and Mecanums
  • 6-inch VEX Mecanums
  • CIMple and Toughbox housings (old)
  • 4” Versawheels
  • 4” Colson wheels (both plastic hub and no hub)
  • 8” pneumatic wheels (worn down tread but still work)
  • Lots of wood

Just send me or @nrgcto a DM, or email us at [email protected]
Meeting times:

  • Jan 3 or 5 from 6-8pm
    During build season:
  • Weekdays (except Fridays): 6-9pm
  • Weekends 9am-5pm

We’ve been working on ways to make Systems and Mech more organized, with “more boxes, less stuff” being a pretty good strategy so far. 20 years of hoarding has led to a little bit of build up. We’ve floated making a 4414-style superpit, but we never got the chance during training season. For now we’ve been using more and more boxes and organizers, and trying to keep them from turning into a catch-all.

Code and CAD Release

Here’s the last of our code and CAD. Mostly it’s stuff that rookies and veterans worked on during the offseason.
Our code is all posted on our GitHub, here.
Over training season we revised our 2022 robot auto (thanks to the rookies and 492’s field), and the rookies got some practice making some swerve code.


Screenshot_20221227_222824 Screenshot_20221227_223106 Screenshot_20221227_223243

Have a happy new year!


First of all, I just wanted to say that your merch looks so sweet!! Do you have any documentation on your process for developing merch designs? Right now our team has just a few people designing them with feedback from the rest of the team and this could definitely be improved.

Secondly, I was just wondering what you mean by “Scalability” in your evaluation matrix and how you evaluate “Max Points” for something that doesn’t directly score points like an intake and Drive Base?


Thank you for the merch feedback! Unfortunately we don’t have documentation as our old CEO developed them for us. She designed it and those involved just gave unofficial feedback on how to fix it up. We’ll document our process for this year though!

So for scalability - it’s basically our ability to make the mechanism better/more complex. We know that our mechanism for district events won’t be of the same caliber as the mechanisms we would want to DCMPs or World Champs, so this design consideration basically considers the ability to adapt the mechanism into something of a larger scale whether it be faster, farther, stronger, etc.

Max points – A lot of our design considerations this year are built off lessons learnt from last year. Last year we went with low goal, and during competition season it became clear to us that high goal was the obvious choice. When designing we of course want to rank the mechanisms on their ability to score the most points. So, if we used this for 2022, it would look like “2” for a high goal mechanism and then “1” for a low goal mechanism. For intakes and drive base, this category wouldn’t apply which shouldn’t affect anything as we would be comparing drive bases with drive bases.


This week, we finished training season and prepared for build season.

Weekly updates

  • Business and Marketing have begun our annual letter writing campaign!
  • Mech is now much cleaner and has part of a battery cart built out
  • Systems spent the last few meetings reviewing lessons and cleaning. The space is much cleaner.
  • Programming has also been reviewing lessons in anticipation for build season.
  • CAD swapped rookies with Mech for a day, teaching the Mech side CAD
    We put in a big REV order, plus we got some new items!

Kickoff Plan

For kickoff, a portion of our rookies plus a few mentors and veterans are heading to Auburn, while the rest of the team watches from our shop. We hope this gives the rookies a chance to interact with other teams and learn from them.
During lunch, the Auburn group will join us at our shop, and, following a quick debrief, will go into a rules presentation and quiz (thanks Citrus Circuits!). The rest of day 1 will be mostly devoted to strategy, with a round of human games in between. Day 2 will “freeze” strategy and spend the morning preparing, presenting, and workshopping concept ideas. By the end of Day 2, we’ll also hopefully have drive base dimensions, strategy, and prototyping concepts set out.
Much of our material and more information about our kickoff strategizing and designing can be found in our post about our mock kickoff.


We joined 1899 Saints Robotics on their podcast, along with the rest of the BA (492, 949, 2412, 7461, and 9036). Thanks for hosting us!


We’ve been talking to teams both nearby and abroad about setting up local alliances like the BA, as well as hosting events for our community. This deserves its own post so we’ll post about this later on.

Evaluation Matrix

To test our new Evaluation Matrix out, we plugged in our 2022 design prototypes into a matrix.

We quickly realized that the categories and weighing needed some adjustment. With the benefit of hindsight, we knew that swerve should have won by quite a margin. After a considerable amount of tweaking, including shifting weighting, adding a new “modularity” category, deleting (and subsequently re-adding) scalability, and changing our scale from 1-10 to 1-4, we have a matrix that we are happy with.

To be fair, we likely would not be using an evaluation matrix for our drivetrain, as our options are swerve and tank and there are more factors affecting our choices. However, it was still good to test it out and for our other mechanisms we think this will be an effective way of choosing.


We’re looking forward to build season with a mix of anxiety and hope. Last year, although we didn’t go as far as we hoped, was so much fun, and we want to have our rookies experience the same thing we did last year. So in that vein, here’s a few fun things from last year that we’ve dusted off. Enjoy!

Memories & Memes


Before our first comp last year, our then-mech VP prepared some “high effort memes” to lighten up the mood. We’ve been looking back at these, and hope… none of them happen this year.

Huge thank yous to our mentors, sponsors, parents, and team members for making this a great start to our season. Also thank yous to everyone who provided resources and assistance to us, including FUN and the OA. We couldn’t have done it without your support. Thank you as well for reading, and we’ll see you after kickoff!