off BattleBots- on to FIRST

Posted by Erin.

Other on team #1, The Juggernauts, from Oakland Tech NE and 3-Dimensional Services.

Posted on 8/26/2000 12:56 AM MST

Hey guys!

The season approaches. When are all of your teams first meetings? Are you doing any pre-season comps or left over comps of the 2000 season?

2001 is coming…beware!! It will be nationals before you know it.


Posted by S. Krussell.

Coach on team #349, Robahamas, from International Academy and Ford Motor Co…

Posted on 8/26/2000 9:41 AM MST

In Reply to: off BattleBots- on to FIRST posted by Erin on 8/26/2000 12:56 AM MST:

The season is neverending. We are actually a year round team now. We have a group email list, where the team talks to each other daily, we hold fund raisers (car wash was supposed to be today…postponed due to weather), we sell coffee and hot chocolate every day at school.

My team started school 2 full weeks ago! ACK!

We have general team meetings every Thursday all throughout the school year. We have already begun working on the animation, possible designs for the drive train, and of course, we are deep into planning our Fall Invitational competition, the Ford Sweet Repeat, which takes place in about 5 weeks on October 7.

We are attending the Kettering competition in September, and the Chief Delphi Competition (always a blast!) in November. So work on the robot is essential. For these competitions, we have completely new teams for each, so lots of the kids on the team can have the opportunity to be on a field team. This helps us choose the best field team for the BIG ones in March and April.

As my husband reminds me every so often, this is no longer a 6 week affair…it is truly year 'round.

Posted by Erin.

Other on team #1, The Juggernauts, from Oakland Tech NE and 3-Dimensional Services.

Posted on 8/26/2000 12:13 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: off BattleBots- on to FIRST posted by S. Krussell on 8/26/2000 9:41 AM MST:

Wow, if only every team leader had such determination. I would love to have FIRST year round- maybe your tea should release some documentation on how to make this possible.

Thanks for responding, always good to hear from the RoBohamas.


Posted by Lora Knepper.

Other on team #419, Rambots, from UMass Boston / BC High and NASA, Mathsoft, Solidworks, Analog Devices.

Posted on 8/26/2000 12:32 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: off BattleBots- on to FIRST posted by S. Krussell on 8/26/2000 9:41 AM MST:

Kudos to you and your team! FIRST truly is a year round event! =)

Things on my team have yet to truly heat up, but with school starting in just a week or so, we should be getting together soon. Currently money is on our minds (just coming out of rookie year and all), so if anyone has any tips on how to approach sponsors for the second time, PLEASE email me!! =)

Though post season events are done for us (as far as I know), I hope to be able to attend RiverRage and possibly the expo at the Big E to watch and lend a hand to any team that needs an extra body.

Good luck to all, and see you soon!


Posted by colleen.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Coach on team #246, Blue Light Special, from John D. O’Byrant High School/Boston Latin Academy and NSTAR/Boston University/UTC/Raytheon/MassPEP.

Posted on 8/28/2000 7:34 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: off BattleBots- on to FIRST posted by S. Krussell on 8/26/2000 9:41 AM MST:

WARNING: veers somewhat from original thread subject

Our team has started nothing… we tend to stick to an October/November - April schedule…

it’s not the easiest to be on a ‘college team’ for lots of reasons…

for the main part… attending a large school like BU, the leaders of the team are generally not from the Boston area… we have on team leader in Boston, one in Brookline… and the rest of us live over an hour away… after the nationals, it’s basically over… we come back and have TONS of work to make up and are coming up on finals therefore we don’t have time to meet… come early may, we’re all back at home working… meetings in the summer wouldn’t happen… since there are no meetings, there’s not as much pep about FIRST… we went to Mayhem and WPI during the summer, but had a low turnout for kids and leaders…

also… it’s virtually impossible to start the high school kids off in september… college kids are adjusting to school, we’re trying to figure out who’s going to have the time to work and who isn’t… and trying to find the new freshman (tip: the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way to find other kids at your college that do FIRST is to wear FIRST shirts as many days of the week as possible at the beginning… no matter how many flyers/mailings/posters you make… you’ll only recruit people who recognize your shirt…)… in any case… by the time everything’s sorted out… it’s at least oct…

'nother problem with college teams is the sponsorship… since none of us are in the city during the summer, we lose those months going to meet with old and potential sponsors for financial support for the next year…

and on top of that… kick-off is the 5/6 of January… BU returns from winter break… Jan 13th… how we’re going to pull this one off, i don’t know… we work in BU facilities… and the campus is completely closed until that date… are we supposed to lose a whole week?!..

Basically… it would be nice, slightly easier, if FIRST could be year round for everyone… unfortunately, it’s really not possible for some teams… and in many ways, much of FIRST schedule is unfavorable for attracting college students to participate as mentors…

sure, there’s a lot our students could do, seeing as how they are all in the ‘boston area’ people say… and i am insanely firm believer in the kids doing the work… but when you’ve got kids that have to leave the shop no later than six because they have at least a 2hr ride home on various forms of trains, buses, walking, etc… the majority foreign without english speaking parents so we can’t explain to them what we are doing… and for that same reason many of them not being around in the summer… it’s really hard…

something in that post made me feel justified to rant, maybe i wasn’t, any comments or suggestions though?

Posted by Erik Justen.

Engineer on team none from none sponsored by The Ohio State University/looking for one.

Posted on 8/29/2000 3:44 PM MST

In Reply to: if only it were possible…(college team syndrome rant) posted by colleen on 8/28/2000 7:34 PM MST:

sorry for the length - hopefully it’s worth it…

As a college member of team, I actually have to disagree with some of your comments. (and agree to some). Yes, it is extremely difficult to work as a college student and as a first ‘engineer’. The hours are insane for all involved: no doubt about that. But to have to go home after first every night and spend several more hours curled up w/ the works of Maxwell isn’t exactly the easiest thing. That certainly makes recruiting efforts difficult at best. We’ve found that no matter what our efforts are (fliers, info sessions, etc.), we only manage to recruit a handful of new (college) members each year, and of those not all produce to the level that they need to: many self-select and just stop showing up. My advice here: recruit students early, and selectively recruit. It’s much harder to convince a senior/grad ME or EE that is already pulling their hair out to add 40+ hrs a week into their schedule. But… if they start as freshman when they aren’t that busy, it’s easy to get them hooked into coming back year after year. OSU has a honors program for freshman engineering students, so we usually hit them twice a year, w/ the robot to demonstrate, of course. We’ve had pretty good success there recruiting good students. (not that the others aren’t good students). The danger that I’ve seen is that many students that participated in HS are not able to make the transition effectively to the college level (where we act as engineers). I talked to a few students at OSU that were members of teams in HS, but none ever showed up once I explained what they would have to do. We’ve only had a mild success having students from our own HS that now go to OSU come back and help. Some have, and have done quite well. Others simply could not handle the transition, even from a team like ours where the HS students do quite a bit. Many expect the experience to be the same: it isn’t…

As far as year round efforts, my former team (128) did a most excellent job at year round events, though in truth is was really school-year round. We did some things in the summer, but not many. The key to getting things together in the fall (to run some labs or a project or something, as we did) is two-fold: 1) communication and 2) a strong leader. I’ve found that if one or two people pick up responsibility for the fall activities, it actually gets done. Sure, they can divide tasks, but it’s doable. Most of us college students have summer internships, so we can keep in touch w/ email. And… many don’t have something that keeps them busy (if they are away from home/friends), so it isn’t always a big request for them to pick up writing a lab or playing w/ some electronics. So, is it easy to get fall activities rolling? No. Is it possible? Yes. If you need any info, let me know. I’ll be happy to had out the things we’ve done. (complete lab manuals, etc. – most is available at the link below).

As far as sponsorship goes, I can’t help you much there. Everyone is in the same boat. But… colleges have the unique position to have alumni that are always willing to donate money to something. They could be personal donations, or through the companies they work for. I believe this is how the Purdue team was able to go to nationals this year. There should be college office that can help you with this. Of course, it’s nice to have a mind or too attached to the money, but that’s not always possible…

Out of curiosity… how many other college teams are out there? Do you all suffer the similar problems? If so, why don’t you post them, or better yet, e-mail them too me. (just[email protected] - it seems they remove HTML tags from these posts…)


Posted by Adam Jacobson.

Student on team #36 from Bob Jones High School and Unknown…

Posted on 8/31/2000 10:15 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: if only it were possible…(college team syndrome rant) posted by Erik Justen on 8/29/2000 3:44 PM MST:

We have a class first semester(on block schedule) for the robotics team. This is the second year of the class, and this year there are more interested students. The problems start with sponsorship… for the past few years DaimlerChrysler of Huntsville, AL has been the sole sponsor for the team, but starting two years ago they started cutting down on our budget. Right now we are not in their budget, period. We do have prospective sponsors, but there is probably going to be a cap on the number of people on the team, ensuring that not everyone in the class will make it. By the way, did I mention we have ‘problems’?
Hope I haven’t bored anyone too much.

Posted by Jon.

Engineer on team #190, Gompei, from Mass Academy of Math and Science and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Posted on 9/2/2000 3:24 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: if only it were possible…(college team syndrome rant) posted by Erik Justen on 8/29/2000 3:44 PM MST:

college teams are interesting things… year-rounded-ness is hard to accomplish because people go home for summer and by definition, its a little further away than with a HS or a business… we’ve been ok at it. we make appearances and while we’re not at 100% strength, we feel we represent fairly well.

drafting is definitely a tough part as well. my frosh year, the team was fairly hard to find, last year visibility went up as we changed things and this year is the first year we started things by appearing at the activities fair so i think we’ll do well. retaining those people will definitely be interesting…

as for fall activities, we continue competing with the old bot in the post season events and doing demos and whatnot to increase our visibility along with training and helping of the new team members.

its hard but definitely doable.