On volunteers

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to make note of something that is very important to the many many people who enjoy FIRST every year. Volunteers are the heart and soul of this program. Many volunteers, myself included, spend days at a time of our lives at events trying to bring the teams the most fun experience that they can have. In many cases, volunteers use up an extraordinary amount of money or vacation time just so they can be at these events, because they care so much about what the program has to bring. I consider myself lucky because the other volunteers which I work with are some of the most amazing, caring people that this world has to offer. They love FIRST, they love the kids, and they love what they do.

I know that what went down this past weekend was not a good thing for this competition and it made many people very angry. I too was disappointed with how it all went down. I assure you, however, that so was every person who was involved on that field and beyond. Staff and volunteers care very much…to a fault even. They certainly do not sit behind the table conspiring on how to screw over team xxxx in each match. Just like you and I, they just want to do their job to the best of their ability.

We are all guilty of being critical of FIRST or the GDC at one point or another. Heck, I have been guilty of it on many occasions…including after the finals this weekend. We all care so much about the program, the game, and its impact that we can easily forget how much our words can have an effect on the people who work so hard to make this thing the best that they possibly can. Especially now, at a time where we are all a little extra fired up, it is important for each and every one of us to remember that if it wasn’t for the volunteers and staff, you wouldn’t even have a competition to complain about.

My advice is that before you post, you take a breath. Think about the wonderful times you have had in this competition, and the wonderful people who helped you through it. FIRST is an amazing program because every person who volunteers carries enough passion to make these very complicated events run smoothly the majority of the time.

I do this for the people…the kids, the mentors, and especially, with all my heart, the volunteers. Thank you for all you do.


Well said, Andy.



I agree.

The negative situations at these events are often the results of decisions made in advance. It’s important to recognize that by the time you are standing in a negative situation the ground work for it was probably set long before it happened.

A Karma of sorts.

Don’t be hard on all the people that just happen to be in the blast radius.

Well said Andy! I completely agree!

Completely agree with you Andy.

Yes, yes, yes! I’ve learned this lesson in the past and it is valuable not just on CD but everywhere.

Thank you Andy. And, it was nice finally working the same field with you - bare, umh, botics, and everything.

The district model in Michigan would have never been possible without the army of excellent and dedicated volunteers that support it. I want to mention two in particular. Those would be Tom and Cindy Nader. Tom is the driving force behind field setup and tear down in Michigan. He is the first volunteer into every event and last to leave. Cindy is the best and most polite queuer I can imagine. These two people attend as many events as they can and they are two of the greatest people you will ever meet. FiM would look a lot different and run a lot less smoothly if there two were not a part of it. I’m not sure how well the community outside of Michigan knows them, but their names deserve to be known throughout FIRST for the work they do.

Yes they do. Cindy is a top robot wrangler, and she gets it done with finesse.

In addition to his many well-known talents, Tom also displayed proficiency as a bouncer on Einstein this year.

Andy–as always, you are the class act that we need to hear.