Question: "Local" requirement for event volunteers?

(Mods: I’m not 100% sure where this thread belongs: if you see a better place, please move it)

Here’s a question I’ve had for a while and finally dare ask.

I’ve been an event volunteer for 3 and a half years now, having started in field reset in the fall of 2011. However, I more or less wanted to work my way up the roles so to speak; like say robot inspection or reffing (yes, even this year). While at offseason events I’ve moved up indeed, having been a ref at CAGE match for two years and BPRC for one, I’ve been stuck in field reset (mostly) for the past 3 years.

I can understand why for the past few. The first two I couldn’t work out getting Thursday off. This year, I could only make it for Thursday at one event (the other I had an exam hard dated on Friday, so I ended up doing safety glasses on Saturday). Ok, one event I theoretically couldn’t have, but for all I know there were more people qualified than could be assigned. I’m not mad or anything bad, just curious about something:

However, I did hear that in order to be a ref, you need to be “local” to the event. I couldn’t find this anywhere in FIRST’s documentation (nor could I find it mentioned anywhere on CD). I’ve also heard that in the case of one regional (I’m being intentionally vague), a head ref request wasn’t approved due to this.

So, to those who know more about event planning and volunteer assignment, what I’d like to know is:

  1. Is there really a rule about referees being local to the event?
  2. If # is true, why is this so (again, just curious to know).
  3. Besides the obvious case of the head referee, are there any other roles which have the same restriction/guideline?
  1. There is no rule that I’m aware of, however given the large public exposure refs have, the volunteer coordinator probably wants to know who is going into those spots. It can be very difficult getting a spot with significant responsibility if no one at the event knows you.

  2. The VC may know that there are enough locals to fill that spot, and prefers them over someone they may not be able to rely on coming back year after year. They may also be looking to increase their local pool of volunteers for other reasons, like an inticipation of moving to districts or to help staff struggling off season events.

  3. All key volunteer positions (head ref, LRI, MC, game announcer, lead queuing, pit admin, I’m sure I’m forgetting some) are going to be a little restrictive. Those are the individuals the VC trusts to run the event and help manage the 100 other volunteers there. They’re the ones that out out the fires and make sure everyone is having a good time.

Generally speaking I never turn down a new robot inspector. It’s a position anyone can learn, and someone who recently graduated and knows all about building robots is usually a perfect fit. Of course, you have to be available on Thursday for it - but I’ve been known to help college students work around class schedules so they can get a little exposure/experience.

Don’t expect to move into a key volunteer position quickly, and certainly not while still in college. Figure out what area you most want to volunteer in, and then talk with the volunteer coordinator and key volunteer responsible for that position. Let them know your interested and ask what you need to do to get into that position. A lot if times just being friendly with the VC and letting them know you’re open to doing more is enough - when they need to fill a spot and can’t find someone, you could get the call.

Here’s some more info:

At both events I personally knew quite a few higher-ups in the regional; I was on a Purdue First team for 3 years of high school (I moved away to the other end of Indiana between my junior and senior years) and I met and became well acquainted with quite a few people within the organization. Hence why at Boilermaker regional a lot of people know me (and I know them). The other event I volunteered at, Crossroads, had a lot of the same people running the event. It’s almost scary… Gee, all I did was work my butt off on my team and try to get to know all of the “cool” people in FIRST who also happened to be at events. When people say FIRST takes you places, it’s no joke.

I mention this more to see if in my specific case I’d be “local”. My guess is not, since I’m not on paper. Sigh. Oh well. I’ll apply next year and roll the dice again so to speak.

This was my first year volunteering, and I had no problem being a Robot Inspector at the first regional. At the second regional, they still had need for Refs, so I was able to do that.

RI’s are primarily needed on Thursdays of Regionals (Wednesday for the Championship). So, if you can’t make that day, then that is a problem. Note: If you can only make it that day, usually that is ok.

If the Regional is fully staffed with returning volunteers, then I could see how they would be chosen first.

Note: Apply early. Some people I talked with submitted in October. Also, next time, try talking with the Head Ref and Lead RI. They might remember you next year.

Only October? Last time I saw my key volunteer, she told me I was signed up through 2020 already :stuck_out_tongue:

This isn’t true… or at least if that event has that policy, it’s not mandated by FIRST. Speaking for myself, I travelled about 1000 km to Montreal to be the head ref this year.

Now… given a choice between a someone from far away and someone who’s local, I can see why an event might choose the local person. It can often be easier to retain a local person for future years, for instance. It can also be a lot easier for a head ref to help mentor and train another ref who’s having issues if they live in the same area. However, there’s no commandment from FIRST saying “thou shalt be local”.

FWIW I usually apply in november-december.

From what I’ve been told personally, the issue isn’t what I’ve asked here nor will I ask (I. E. it’s complicated and a mess). That’s how the cookie crumbles I guess. Thanks to all for the insight.

Sometimes you have to grease some palms to get things done. - just kidding.

In October/November, find out who the Head Ref and Lead RI are (from the volunteer coordinator for that region), and send them an e-mail.