Question for Team Alumni who Volunteer

If you go to a competition your former team is attending away from your home and volunteer at that competition, do you get hotel rooms with your team?

Does FIRST look down upon this at all?
How about if you are a referee or in another conflict of interest role?

Thank you for your response.

FIRST doesn’t care where you stay, they are just happy you are volunteering for the most part - and Yes, I stay with my team when at all possible.

To answer your third question, you have to fill out a conflict of interests waiver if you have any Judging/Refereee position.
I don’t believe I have had to fill one out for a field-reset, or other type volunteer position (it may actually be in the forms I fill out, but I don’t remember), but I have filled one out for specifically being a judge.

A rule they put in place for that is, you can’t Judge your own team - although I was able to stand back & watch my team being judged, so that was cool.
(Safety Advisor position actually, but they Judge an award or 4, so it counts. lol)

As far as Reffing matches with your team competing in, I’m not sure the specifics on that one - you may have to sit back when your team is up, but I’m not positive.

Since graduating, I’ve taken it upon myself to get my own room separate from the team. I’ve found this eliminates certain logistics like the amount of money paid to the team, etc. It also gives me more freedom, as the adults traveling with the team often act as chaperones (most of the time).

And as Elgin pointed out, there is a conflict of interest form you must sign if you’re in a role such as referee or judge, anything that could affect a match outcome or award.

I would think personally that about staying in the same hotel room as team members might become an issue. Not much of FIRST’s issue, but if it is a school team that it would become more of the schools issues and concerns. Since most people are 18 after high school you are considered an adult, and an adult in a minor room might be issue, even if best friends. That is just my thinking from the schools side.

If you had your own room on the other hand no worrys.

I’ve worked a number of different volunteer positions in the years since I graduated… including Spare Parts, Queuing, Pit Admin, Scorekeeper/Field Control, Official Scorer, Judge, & Field Reset.

As a college mentor I usually only attend official FIRST events where my team is competing… so it just makes more sense to stay/travel with the team. Also, our team is usually able to get good deals so it is more cost-efficient for me to travel with the team than apart. I’m often one of the carpool drivers anyways.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances (or they are family members), we never have non-students staying in rooms with students… instead, they share rooms with other mentors or team parents.

I occasionally attend/work other regionals on my own or with other mentors (such as NYC FTC), but then it’s usually one day events and we drive up and back the same day.

In the case of volunteer roles where a conflict could occur, a conflict of interest form is filled out and your superior needs to be made aware of the conflict. In the case of a conflict occurring, you are asked to step-out of or pass the issue off to another volunteer.

Thank you for the responses.
I am more concerned with any potential impropriety in a team providing support – such a discounted hotel rooms – to volunteers.
A team wouldn’t want to be in a situation where someone is complaining “They helped the referee pay for a hotel room. That’s unfair!”

FIRST usually does not ask where you are staying, and assumes that your conflict of interest statement is true. Assuming that you do not let their decision to pay for your room tarnish your judgement on the field, it would be no issue.

As a referee or scorekeeper, I have definitely called penalties against my own teams. If I feel that I may have a conflict of interest, I will remove myself from the match or have another official double check my score/call.

I usually travel with my team and I am a chaperone. The conflict of interest sheet you fill out makes it known what your team affiliation (if any) might be. For many of the usual volunteers, participants get to know your team affiliation very quickly. Off the top of your head do you know mine, Andy Baker’s, Stu Bloom’s, or Dave Lavery’s? We don’t have to wear the shirt to be recognized. That being said, we are also cognizant of the role we play and perceptions. As an inspector I will not inspect my own team or even those I feel are too close for me to be objective.

This was my FIRST time volunteering for a position at my regional where i had to fill out that conflict of interest waiver. For FLR where I volunteered I had to come in contact with my two teams many times.

I found the only time when I really had a hard time keeping neutral was when my team won a very hard fought match. Its so hard to keep from going crazy like the rest of the fans when the final scores go up.