Robotics is expensive! Help team 4242 get to Worlds!

Dear CD community,

Team 4242 - Fresh T.E.C.H. (Technology Engineering Carpentry and Higher learning) is a small, 4-6 student team from Washington, DC. The team is comprised of at-risk youth who participate in the Fresh Start program with Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region.

Due to the nature of the Fresh Start program, students are rarely part of the robotics team for more than a single season, essentially making Fresh T.E.C.H. a perpetual rookie team. However, this year, the team defied the odds by, not only placing 7th at the Chesapeake District Championship, but also becoming the only Washington, DC-based team to win a spot in the 2016 FIRST World Championship in St. Louis!

The Fresh Start program, from which these students hail, is run by a local non-profit which relies on grants and donations to fund the program. Fresh T.E.C.H. needs your support to help get them to St. Louis for the first time! Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated!!

Crowdrise Fundraising Page

Awesome Fresh T.E.C.H. Video

Fresh Start Program Info

Most teams here are also struggling with funding, so your plea, while valid, is not as likely to be fruitful.

However, not all is lost! There are may resources devoted to fundraising, including short-notice needs: Use the Search function. And, FIRST has a great Fundraising Toolkit you should review:

Congratulations and good luck!

Have you contacted your government representatives? I realize DC is not like anywhere else, but there is a lot of government and dollars there. Your mayor, the Council of the District of Columbia, etc. should all have discretionary funds you could ask about.


Team 4242,

Yes. Getting to the World Championships is expensive and that is one of the reasons, not the only one, why RoboRavens2 turned down their qualification to the World Championship.

As a corporate sponsored team our registration fee was covered after we qualified at the Michigan State Competition. However, there are a bunch of other issues you may have not considered even if the funds become available for your registration fee. Let me provides some additional issues that we discussed as a team.

  1. Registration fee - $5000

  2. Student fee - $500 ($250 AMTRak train transportation plus $250 for hotel lodging). We just returned from the Michigan State Championship in Grand Rapids, MI where the students paid out $200 and spent 2 full school days.

  3. Student time commitment - 14 hour train ride on Tuesday from Detroit, MI through Chicago to St. Louis MO. Wed through Sat at St. Louis,MO. 16 hour return train ride arriving in Detroit at 1 a.m. Monday morning. Students most likely miss 5 full school days. Students return with significant homework load. We did not have any of our working parents on the team volunteer to drive to St. Louis. Round Trip flights from Detroit take 1 hour and cost nearly $500 saving time but more costly for everyone.

  4. Mentor/chaperon commitment - Female chaperon required due to female team members. Always difficult finding this person. Adult needs to most likely take personal vacation time. Female chaperon at MSC was not parent of team member and took time at the Michigan State Championship was not available for Worlds. We did not have any moms volunteering for this role for St. Louis, MO.

  5. Transportation of PIT tools - 550 miles from Detroit. Individual needs large vehicle (VAN) or truck and trailer to transport heavy materials. This individual will drive on Tuesday 500 miles and stay overnight close to St. Louis to arrive early to be reading to unload at PIT at 4:00 p.m.

Driver will need to drive 550 miles back to Detroit on Sunday and will be pretty tired on Monday perhaps taking another personal vacation day. Five personal vacation days take from their allotment provided by their employer. This could be a significant hardship to any one person’s vacation schedule for the year. (Assume they have only three weeks… one third of their vacation time for the year gone for this event…no impact to students who have summer vacation every year).

  1. Student team member requirements - we determined that we needed about 12 students ($500 per student scholarship) to do justice to the $6000 our sponsors were paying for us to attend. 1 driver, 1 operator, 1 human player, 1 safety captain, 2 pit crew members, 6 scouts. We were unable to get a commitment from 12 students after attending the Michigan State Championship last week with 13 students.

  2. Mentors/Coaches/- Head coach, field coach, scout coach, pit coach. We had six mentor/coach/chaperons at MSC. We felt that the driver/head coach/ field coach could be one person (me). We still needed a separate scout coach to be with six students for three solid days. We wanted to make sure that the pit crew had an adult mentor. In additional to these three adult mentors we would need ta female chaperon (we do not have any female mentors who have filled the other roles).

  3. Team pays for mentor/coaches/chaperon lodging fees from team funds.

  4. Additional cost for robot items after participating in 44 matches (12+6, 12+ 2, 12) during FiM season.

I donated.

I have watched 4242’s program since their inception. Had I stayed where I was when I was little, their type of program would have been a lifeline for me. This one hits sorta close to home - it was raw luck that I got out of what I was in.

^ These guys have some valid points though.

Looks like a great program! People have been donating to our team’s GoFundMe so thought I’d follow their example and send a little of my cash back out into the good world of FRC.

DonRotolo and Meredith Novak - Thanks for the advice - especially about contacting local government reps. I hadn’t considered this and it’s definitely worth looking into!

marccenter - Yeah, the breakdown can add up. We approached the budgeting in the same way we approach robot design - as efficient and cheap as possible. Three students are going, mentors pay most of their own way, we’re sharing a bus with 2 other teams, we’re staying at a hotel that provides breakfast, we pack light - 90% of the pit shipped with the robot, and all students pull double, and sometimes triple, duty - drive team members are scouts, safety captains, pit crew, etc. We just couldn’t rationalize asking for money if there was any overhead or superfluousness in the budget.

JesseK and CindiCC - I can’t thank you enough for your incredible kindness and generosity! Stories like JesseK’s are exactly why I mentor at Fresh Start.

I just wanted to thank all those that donated. The generosity of people like you make the FRC community great!

Thanks again!