I’m going to start by saying I agree with the point of your message. We need to make sure teams know what they’re getting into when they join FRC and know how to access resources. They should have adequate funding resources that they can at least survive the rookie grants/initial donation running out*, and have more than just a single teacher/mentor running the team so that they can stick around if one of the leaders has to bow out. (I know you have to register with two main contacts, but lets be real a number of teams are just getting an admin to sign up as the second or are outright fibbing it)
But if you’re going to put hot takes out there, I wouldn’t be a responsible CD’er if I didn’t pick them apart.
Our team has had a budget averaging around $9K for the last 5 years, and we’ve never had more than two sponsors giving over $1K. My team as a student also only had two sponsors with bigger dollar figures. Both teams make heavy use of an extra curricular tax credit program in AZ for smaller $100 - $400 donations, to the point that we traveled to Champs when I was a student entirely off of those accumulated donations ($10K - $15K). I’ve heard of rural teams doing a similar thing, with 100 sponsors each giving a few tens to hundreds of dollars.
3 existing teams for contact seems overkill; why not just one to answer questions their rookie year? Much as some teams do network others are in isolated areas and just don’t get that involved in the community, especially if they aren’t having major issues. When I was with 167 in Iowa the team was like this, team got established when no other team existed in the state and they just didn’t network much on CD or with other teams. I’m sure it could have benefited them but its not like it has hindered their existence.
It takes most of the Fall for me to get 5 students successfully through STIMS because the process is so poor. I can’t coach parents through it when they don’t come to meetings. FIRST just needs to make the STIMS process less crappy.
Some schools haven’t gotten back in session by September 1. How are they supposed to register with these requirements?
I get what you are trying to make as a point, just have to push back on requirements that you “have” to meet to register (which is what I am getting from the words “more stringent”). The teams I have been on would not have met your criteria for 90% of my time in FRC, and they’ve all been around for over 10 years (498, 2662, and 167). Establishing general guidelines and having rookies show that they are prepared to address challenges in some way is the key. As an example for our low funding cases I could show that we have next year’s registration fee in reserve every season, so we can survive a loss of all sponsorship and have a year to identify new funding sources without folding.
*I’m glad that the rookie grants AZFirst has been offering recently require proof of other funding and spread out the dollars to help address this. You get $3K, $2K, and $1K over three years so that it isn’t enough to register by itself and you get let down easily as the funding runs out.