Rookie Recommendations - Vex EDR or FTC

I’m in my first year at a new school, where a group of students had already started a Robotics club. I’ve been working with them with the goal of turning their club into a competitive team for the 2018-19 school year.

I have experience with Vex EDR and FRC, but none with FTC. It looks to me as if FTC might be better preparation for FRC than Vex. It also looks like FTC allows more flexibility for programming and fabrication, and that the programming skills required may be more transferable. Of course, these are all just guesses, based on what I see on the FIRST website.

Assuming that we will be participating in FRC, can anybody with experience in Vex EDR and FTC give us any advice regarding which program might better prepare the team for FRC and for other non-robotics team endeavors?

Check with other teams in your area. Both VRC and FTC are programs fully capable of delivering wonderful team experiences that can prepare you for FRC and beyond (or simply be self-sustaining enterprises in themselves). See which one has more local support in your area to help decide which is right for you. Also consider the technical resources at your disposal, and which may fit better with the differing implementations of solving technical challenges between the two programs.

First off, keep on this fervently - it will be very rewarding!

I don’t think you make this decision based upon just your school alone. Look to the local infrastructure of both FTC and VEX. This should be one of the deciding factors.

Becker (home of FRC 4607) is on the line of demarcation in MN for FTC and VRC. We went with FTC because we aligned with the Twin Cities metro area than with St Cloud (where VEX is based in MN). Three years into FTC we are now enjoying the fruits of the FTC labors. We now have four FTC teams and adding two more next year. We jumped into League Play for FTC (think Districts for FTC) and it has been incredible for program growth.

As for programming at the organizational level, it is seamless for our kids going from FLL Jr to FLL to FTC to FRC. FIRST has hit a home-run here - especially pairing with LEGO…

We also saw a larger upside to FTC in Minnesota because of the organization that runs it (High Tech Kids) has done an incredible job of growing FTC, FLL, & FLL Jr and is the best run robotics organization in the state. They really are grounded in growth mindset and have proven this time and time again.

The costs of both programs are a wash. They both have great people working at the administrative levels. So again, I return to the local level - what is readily available in terms of FTC or VRC in your area? That may be the ticket. Reach out to both if you are fortunate enough to have both in your area.

Good luck!