pic: CHS 2017 - Team Last Years

Defunct Chesapeake District teams by last active year. Rookie year and team number shown.

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Rest in peace team 404, my school’s former team.
Also this is a bit of a sad graph to look at.

You can really see the rookie/sophomore team mortality rate. I think FIRST needs a bit of a change-of-emphasis from “quantity” towards “sustainability” re: new teams.

Why didn’t you all bring 404 back?

At out inception we were fortunate enough to receive the rookie all star award at the last Virginia regional in 2015.
I think that seeing shining example’s of what our team could one day become was part of the reason that it’s still around.

I am in no way saying that rookie teams should be allowed a what was essentially a free pass to champs (district champs is bad enough). But I agree that FIRST should do more to keep teams around longer.

It was a team decision that was discussed when the program started back up. I voted for 404 but the rest of the team wanted a clean slate and a new number.

1727 did the exact opposite this year, though looking back that 10 point rookie bonus and awards would have been nice :stuck_out_tongue:

They were!

I didn’t even realize that some of these teams retired. :frowning: Anybody know what happened to 122 and 388?

EDIT: 4945 is on there too?! They were off to a crazy good start :frowning:

IIRC 388 couldn’t afford the increased cost of districts. 122 might be back next year from what I’ve heard.

From what I’ve heard 122 had no one to become a coach after someone left. In addition, many seniors graduated.
I’ve also heard more than once that they may be returning next year.

Yes, 388 couldn’t afford the travel cost from Grundy to 2 district events, then the possibility of a DCMP. Unfortunately, that is one thing that is also hurting our team (Even though we aren’t nearing termination). We can barely afford our 2 district events, so last year, when we qualified for DCMP, we couldn’t go. 388 didn’t even want to imagine trying to go with their low funds already.

122’s mentor retired and no one stepped up, but I also heard that they will be back next year.

This is why passing on inspiration within a team is most important for sustainability. Our team came to that issue this year. All of the “original” team graduated or will be graduating within the next year, and we need to keep the team afloat. We are hoping to turn our team into a program, so we can continue to inspire those to become interested in STEM. Anyone else come up to this issue? How did you solve it?

a few things can help a team become a long lasting part of FRC.

  1. cultivate local school support. Get to as many outreach events at your school as possible. show off the robot to as many students as possible. Stress the non-robot parts of the team to expand your appeal.

  2. Get administrative support. Without your Principal or Central Office staff supporting you, you are going to have an up hill climb. It’s also a great way to solidify the capital you need to continue a rather expensive proposition.

  3. build your mentor base. One of the most sure fire way for a team to fold is for their mentors to burn out. Without mentors/coaches/ faculty sponsors you don’t have a team. Get parents involved. They may not be a valuable as long term mentors because the tend to cycle out with their kids, but many hands make like work.

  4. Train your students. One of the things we try and do with our upperclassmen is to have them train their replacement. The 4 year “brain drain” is the thing and can limit a small team quickly.

Also for those that don’t know. The defunct Team 1093 was from the same school as the team now known as Torch. I don’t know the history but they were around for about 5 years in the early 2000’s. Just Like 5546 we as a community wanted to start fresh and that is how TORCH 5804 came about.

We just lost our $10,000 NSA grant for the 2018 season. So we are going to need to do some serious fundraising to exist in the same capacity we currently do. I think loosing major funding sources without the means to recover the money is a main reason many teams fold. If we didn’t have an extremely competent business team along with our business lead and many other key members of leadership not graduating, I would be worried my senior year would be our team’s last.

SpaceRaiders, Sorry to hear of the loss of the NSA grant.

What also needs to be considered is the amount of FIRST teams within a specific area… I know that there is a lot teams within the Ho Co (MD) area. Kudos for the amount of FIRST teams, but now have to compete for various sponsors and grants, which is very hard. It is also hard when there is other CTE competitions that compete with FIRST in order for a company, or school system to be fair to divide monies used. Also what needs to be considered within an area is FTC, FLL…

It’s been in the news that NASA, as well as other government agencies will not be funding activities like FIRST. Best of luck.

Wanted to provide another chart for consideration.


22% of defunct CHS teams only existed for one year.
56% of defunct CHS teams existed for four or fewer years.

Edit: Looks like I missed labeling the color legend, the years are team last year active. A lot of the defunct teams that existed for 1/2 years are from the early 2000’s, and it looks like the rookie attrition rate has gotten better in recent years.

3072 has had around 7 kids on it for 2 years now. We’ve tried everything we can do to grow our numbers, but alas. We merge 3 classes for our team. Engineering, CAD, and Machine Technology. With maybe 50-60 kids across all the classes, only 7, YES 7, want to contribute the time to it.

I was on the team in 2015 and 2016, mentored in 2017. From 2016-2017 was a bad year. 3072 lost 5 seniors, and a junior who moved. The one good thing we have going for us in 2017 is that out of the 7, only 1 was a senior and 1 was a junior. The rest were freshmen and sophomores.

You can tell us to outreach as much as you want, but it isn’t helping when the kids don’t want to devote time to it. Its sad really.

FLL and FTC are probably better ways to get kids interested in FRC, because kids have more time to devote to it when they’re in 7th grade, versus a senior with a job and graduation to deal with. I’ve been trying to talk my team into starting in FTC team to gain outreach, but who knows.

I’m not afraid to say this, but FRC is not for every school. There was a time that VAFIRST thought that. I know many many schools who can’t support an FRC team, but have thrived with an FTC team. It’s not a failure when you find the thing that fits your situation best.