Share or not to share CA submissions

A week after the “Chairman’s Award Winner Dinner” one of the topics that was only briefly brought into discussion within my group is still being debated amongst FIRST participants here in NYC. It has made for some good FIRST ideological talks. Actually, we started debating this topic since the beginning of 2003 and again at the FIRST Forum when several teams expressed their opinions.
So I would like to flame the fire by tossing it out to the CD community (it’s a good way to make a slow August lively)-

The Chairman’s Award is a difficult achievement for most teams and the guidelines for CA is not solidly defined- especially the CA submission, since it changed dramatically for 2003. This added a new level of creativity for every team. Even the judging process is not well defined or known by many teams. Some teams don’t event try because they felt that the CA is unachievable. In addition, CA may change again for 2004- the team video maybe back again (don’t quote me!).

Here is the subject: Many potential CA teams have asked CA winners to share their submissions. This way, they can get a guideline of how FIRST defined a winner. In the past, copies of their video submissions were also shared among the FIRST community. I have requested, received and read many wonderfully written CA submissions. From reading them, I have developed a greater appreciation for these teams and I have looked forward to meeting the members of these teams at many regionals. I also have been turned down (not often) by some CA winners. Their reasoning: other teams will copy their CA submission and use it to win the CA next year. Another reason: Our team worked hard on it and prefer to keep it proprietary. These are good reasons and the teams have the right to remain private.

So here is my question: Is this possible to copy another team’s CA submission and use it to win next year?
My opinion is no- it doesn’t matter what a team puts into their CA submission, if the students can’t substantiate the information during their interview and demonstrate their knowledge, the judges do pickup on the discrepancy. Judges do investigate and often do because the CA is so important to each team. Sometime groups of judges will visit the teams and ask additional questions to support the CA submissions.

Part 2 of the question: FIRST is also considering the publishing of the CA submissions from last years winners.
Is this a good idea? And should some CA winner refused publication of their submission? What your opinion?

“I’m just beating a dead horse?”

As to the concern some teams may have about their work being pirated for the following year’s submission, realize that they would be copying your now year-old template and strategy. Since the published part of CA only documents the work the team has done to promote the spirit of FIRST, it would be of limited value by itself. Also, as John Abele noted in his Chairmans address in Houston, the bar gets higher every year, so no one is likely to beat your work just by copying it.

Back to the subject of FIRST’s spirit, isn’t making your CA submission available to other teams a token of gracious professionalism? I say if you have work you feel is worth copying, put it out there to help less experienced teams see what kind of things your team has done.

One of the topics our NH breakout group recommended was having teams who are experienced in submitting for the award present a workshop on the CA on Thursdays at every regional. This would be an opportunity to help other teams and to get the 40% of the teams which don’t participate get involved. Come to think of it, wouldn’t helping to put on such a workshop be noteworthy in your team’s CA submission?

I don’t think it’s possible to copy a Chairman’s Award submission and win. You can take ideas and inspiration from those before you, but to have a compelling submission and win requires real effort. Personally, I enjoy reading all the things that teams do for Chairman’s Award. Hopefully, more teams will be like 103 and the others who have published their submissions, so we can all see what great things these teams have done to win.

Wow I am tired. I was reading this and kept thinking “Why is it different for California?” LOL :smiley:

I believe each team can make up their own mind about publishing their submission, just like each makes up its mind about robot information, manufacturing techniques, and game strategy. Personally, I lean toward sharing - especially the Chairman’s submission. Let’s inspire as many as we can to go further than before. Raise the bar and we ALL get better.

My esteemed colleague Pete and many others are exactly correct. Submissions should be read for the purposes of that inspiration, understanding what kinds of outreach exist, learning about community building that has taken place, and obstacles overcome.

Copying a submission is completely worthless as it flies in the face of the Chairman’s Award itself. The award is about “who” a team is and the “how” and “what” of presenting play only a partial role here. Any team choosing to “copy” would only harm themselves in the eyes of the judges. Instead, the collective reading of submissions, to me, is like one huge motivational
pep rally.

As for the judging process being a mystery, that’s not completely true. Yes, the submission format has changed and may change again. Yes, judges have a difficult and subjective task to perform. However, instead of concentrating on the unknown, my suggestion is to work on what is known.

The questions a team needs to address in their CA submission have not changed in the three years I have been involved (with the exception of “the season” being changed to “year-round”). Check the manual, and I quote:
There is no single “best way” for a team to win the Chairman’s Award. Many factors come into play. The primary factors the judges will evaluate are:

  1. How strong is the year-round team partnership effort?
    (Partnership can be defined in many ways, including: the partnership among the team’s students/corporate sponsor/engineers; school/university sponsor/engineers; students/adults; community/team)
  2. How strongly does the submission document how FIRST impacted the learning experience of the students, school curriculum, engineers, and/or community?
  3. How strongly does the submission provide examples of what the participants experienced in the FIRST program (i.e.: challenges, accomplishments, pitfalls, “lessons learned” etc.)?
  4. How well has the team communicated its excitement and impact within the entire school, community, and beyond (state/nation) through its participation in FIRST?
  5. Has the team documented an innovative way to spread the FIRST message?
  6. Has the team explained/demonstrated why/how it should be a role model for other FIRST teams to emulate?
  7. As a whole, does the content of the documentation exemplify the true meaning of FIRST?
    Your Chairman’s Award submission should include documentation for all of the above factors.

In NJ, for the past two years, all submitting teams received feedback in these seven areas along with general comments. Aren’t all regionals this way? As a matter of fact, it was those 2002 comments (along with the stories about those who won regionals and nationals) that inspired Team 103 to go further in 2003.

Now, when you read a submission or come across a team that portrays all seven aspects in resounding “wow” fashion, that should be enough to inspire your team to take it to the next level from where you were. Even if the next level for you means submitting an entry if your team has never before done it. It’s truly an awesome experience for the students - regardless of the outcome.

One of the most satisfying parts of this experience for Cybersonics has been sharing information with other teams and seeing how it motivates them and what they are already working on for 2004. To know that what we have done not only touches the lives of Team 103 members, but reaches throughout this international community is a feeling of satisfaction that words cannot describe.

I’m hoping to dig up this thread again as it’s more appropriate for my questions than all the other threads I’ve been in. Thanks Rich, for directing me.

Now that the Chairman’s Award entries are 4 page electronic submissions, it would be wonderful to have a central depository that everyone can visit to see the Regional winners. Team 103 is to be commended for being so open with what they have done and what they continue to do. But most of the winners don’t have their entry posted on their site; in fact many don’t have working web sites. Information is power. I want to know what is going on around the country and beyond. I would love to hear about the innovative things being done and get ideas about whether they would work in Baltimore. This award is all about being role models. I guess it could be voluntary, but why wouldn’t you want to publicize what you have done?

RE: the issue of “copying” another teams submission, well, isn’t that in fact what we are suppose to be doing? I’m only halfway joking. I think this is a non-issue.

I’m drafting a letter to FIRST, but would love to hear whether I’m totally off base here, before I send it.

LOL, I just stumbled on this thread and did just about the same thing.

I think it’s about empowerment. Chairman’s award is about the work you’re doing for your home regional, for FIRST, and it’s about you being an inspiration to both, so it’s about empowering other teams.

In addition, in my experience with FIRST, the robots are about inspiring other teams and tho many keep their robot aspects secret til competition, teams then share about their robot and other teams incorporate parts into their own future robots…I think “CA” applications are like that. If you want to choose to keep them to yourself til you’ve won shrug ok, but if you keep it to yourself after winning an award for being a role model team to all other FIRST’rs, why wouldn’t you want to publicize what you’re doing and inspire other teams with it?

I don’t think it’s possible to copy a Chairman’s Award submission and win. You can take ideas and inspiration from those before you, but to have a compelling submission and win requires real effort…As to the concern some teams may have about their work being pirated for the following year’s submission, realize that they would be copying your now year-old template and strategy. Back to the subject of FIRST’s spirit, isn’t making your CA submission available to other teams a token of gracious professionalism? I say if you have work you feel is worth copying, put it out there to help less experienced teams see what kind of things your team has done.

I agree and…
it’s not only about letting less experienced teams see what you’ve done. One of the criteria is “innovative ways” to spread the FIRST message. Experienced teams will learn from published CA awards from across the WORLD.

(Wow… an old posting from the past which still rings true) :yikes:

As a mentor of many, many NYC teams, I enjoy reading other FIRST team CA submissions (winners and non-winners) and I encourage each team to create a CA submission every year.

Reading CAs always brings a smile to me because the it truly convey the team’s spirit and their hard work, not the robots they build. (It’s not all about the BOT!) :slight_smile:

CA submissions are amazing positive role models to other students. When I show teams the CA of Regional Winners, they immediately become inspired because now they have an example, a direction, and the motivation.

It would be a wonderful idea for FIRST to collect the CA Submissions (winners and non-winners) and add them to the Team booklets they give out at the events (obviously with the permission of the teams). HINT, HINT!


added: I 2nd on what Redhead said too!

LOVE that idea!

The process of putting together a CA entry is also a exercise that holds so much value. As all the NASA grant teams know, this is a requirement for receiving $$. Last year, the students on the team that had no huge role, not the tool or engineering or PR types, but rather the ones who wanted to be involved, well, they put together an entry. And they amazed me. They had to learn about all the team and all the dimensions. The entry may not have been of winning quality but the exercise was well worth it and got this group engaged in the team.
This year, one of the students had an idea to ask various people for a paragraph about the team. And what came back was letter after letter letting the team know what an impact they were having. Talk about a boost! They ended up changing the entry and mostly just including the testimonials. Regardless the entry, these letters would never have come without the idea to use them for the CA. I am a huge believer in this process.
ps. Team 007’s entry will be on our website soon!

Yes, that’s our experience. It concisely expresses what the team has done and is about - and helps new members understand more quickly what’s going on.

A white paper by Mike McIntyre that helped guide me when our team began that journey. link

Looking forward to seeing your entry.

and post the link to your entry here

That’s a GOOD idea!
Another idea used by one of my team:

They took last year’s CA submission, change it into a booklet (folded 17x11 paper) and mail them to all pass, present and future sponsors.
They reported POSITIVE feedback from their existing sponsors.

Our ca submission has been an excellent way to communicate from our pits too. I’m letting everyone know, our local Kinko’s is very supportive of nonprofits. The 2x3 posters usually $149 ea were on sale for $89 each, but she gave it to me for $49, and those posters are our ca submission hanging in our pits. The posters are laminated, on core board, and Kinko’s gave me stickers for the back of the boards allowing us to hang the boards in the pits with zip ties.

puzzled What’s position feedback?

This was my first year mentoring our team’s Chairman’s Award committee. It was a HUGE amount of work. I wasn’t sure what a winning entry should look like. We had some minor difficulties with the electronic process (we tried converting it from the latest version of Word to the version that was required and discovered that it doesn’t keep compressed image files so the file was huge and had to be re-done).

I would like to know what the other entries looked like that we “competed” against (I don’t even know what other teams submitted entries at our regional). I’d also like to see the entries shown on the video screens at the Regionals, like the animation awards entries were, or made available for viewing at the regional somewhere.

Although we did not win in our regional, we accomplished a lot just by going through the process. I would have liked to have been able to make a video of the presentation and interview process (we had three students make the presentation so I wasn’t in the room) so we could critique it for next year. I wish there was time to actually meet with the judges afterwards to get more feedback - I know that’s hard to do but we received two sentences of feedback and that’s not much to go on for bringing the team to the level we want it to be at. I would like to see the winners’ entries posted on the FIRST web site so we can emulate what they are doing that makes them worthy of winning this prestigious award!

One of the best ways to see the competing apps is to get the ball rolling and post yours here , hopefully others will follow.

judge feedback from our last year’s chairman’s app

IMO, delphi could post the winner’s entries with the winner’s cooperation.

Cheryl, what a great idea. Thanks for offering to help me post Team 007 entry. I’ll also try to have the students get it on our website soon.

OOPS! (spelling error or just fat fingers)

Positive sponsor feedbacks- :smiley:
The sponsors didn’t know that the teams did so much.
They are also passing it along to other companies that may want to sponsor a high school team of future engineers.
They feel that their money was well spent.
They are encouraging more of the senior staff to visit the regional.
Talk to the students.
They are proud to be associated with a team.
Sponsor Bragging Rights!

Best of all: They took us out for DINNER! :slight_smile:

I can imagine all that from our sponsors too. They want to keep sponsoring our team cuz they see our team helping to spread the program. It’s helping other local big guns to realize they need to step up to the plate more, to see the possibilities, to put their heads up and consider funding for the local regional…

I think our heavy publicity helps them be informed, feel and do all of that except

whine Didn’t take us out to dinner!

We are always into helping other teams any way we can. Last year we gave our winning submission on paper to the Chairman’s Team of Team #847 PHRED. This year they won the Chairman’s Award. Our Chairman’s Award Submission should be on our site next week. It currently is on vacation when it comes back ill be sure to post it. We also have our winning submission from 2003 online at our website so check that out if you want and ill be sure to update you on when this years is up.