I was recently pretty involved in organizing BLAH, a fundraising event that my team hosted. I had a lot of trouble finding contact information for other teams in the area. I searched for a similar thread but didn’t really find anything relevant… so I was wondering, is there any way to get contact information for the appropriate people to talk to for such events? If not, does anyone have any suggestions about what could be set up to make this easier in the future?
Very good topic Carli…
I have been working on an offseason competition where I had trouble getting in touch with teams. But FIRST site (FIRST Robotics Event Locator) helped me. The site lists every single team from your state. You can go to each team’s website where they have their Contact information. That worked out pretty good for me. Now I have a list of all Florida teams with a contact.
I think most of the information you would be looking for can be found in TIMS (Team Information Management System) on the FIRST website, but only the team leaders have the login information to access the database.
There is not much that is publicly available in way of contacting other teams. If i remember correctly, direct contact information for teams has been removed from TIMS in regard to privacy. As Arefin mentioned, you can go to http://www.usfirst.org/frc/map/ and find many teams websites which may have some contact on it but i have a better method. Many regions have FIRST Senior Mentors working to help them. New Jersey has Mr. Paul Kloberg. If you contact your areas senior mentor, they normally should be able to forward a message to all area team contacts they have, or would be able to at least help you out in some way.
Dez is correct, FIRST removed this feature due to “privacy issues”
I don’t understand why this was an issue, as you didn’t have to allow anyone to see your team contact information unless you wanted to make it public.
I’d really like to see the option of using this back again. It saves a lot of time.
Well, I can see three solutions.
Solution one: Everyone looks up the full name of the team, which should list a school or two. Google that, and make some calls. It’s a pain, but surely there aren’t multiples of the same school in the same town. And hopefully whoever answers the phone at the school’s front office knows who does robotics at that school. (If they don’t, shame on them!)
**Solution two: **Someone with time and resources puts together a massive FIRST-independent contact database. Main teacher, emails, addresses, phone numbers, submit as much or as little as you’re comfortable with.
Solution three: Beg for FIRST to re-enable viewing directory information in TIMS on an opt-in sort of basis. Like you have to go to a specific page and deliberately enable it. (Someone more familiar with TIMS might be able to picture this better than I can.)
As I remeber, that’s what you had to do. I believe when you entered each contact’s information, it had a box you checked saying “Make information viewable by the main contact for other teams through TIMS” or something of the sort.
Well now I’m really confused because you still have to do that…
Good to know I wasn’t just making things up
I guess FIRST didn’t bother to remove that section even though it’s non applicable…
I’ve been saying this all year. I also find it frustrating not to be able to get word out to teams. Not everyone reads Chief Delphi.(gasp) I think it would be helpful to create a listserv for each state with an opt-in/out feature in TIMS - if the team contact chooses to subscribe to it (s)he can - and then Team contacts can send out e-mails to that listserv, thus protecting personal addresses. Or maybe give them access to post to any of the listservs. May be too much traffic, too many e-mails. But it would certainly help to advertise things like off-season events, fundraisers in your state, NEMO workshops, other FIRST-related organization meetings, etc.
My problem was that I did use the map on the FIRST site, which was the only option I could find, and the list of teams from NJ and NY (after those two I gave up!). Some teams didn’t have any site at all… and the teams that did didn’t always have contact information on them. It was extremely frustrating-- I ended up spending almost ten hours trying to obtain contact information for NJ and NY teams and I’m sure STILL missed a whole bunch. Some teams have forms on their sites to e-mail (to protect their e-mails from being spammed, I suppose)… which gave me a way to contact them, but was also pretty irritating, especially after about the tenth one. I managed to get to a few more teams through p/m’s on here, but some teams also either don’t have anyone on here at all, or no one who’s logged on in the past few years, or at least months. So I ended up with a day gone, a ton of homework left undone, and not much to show for it. The listserv sounds like a good idea if FIRST is not willing to put up a list of e-mails due to privacy issues - might even be easier, for that matter! However, they probably won’t set anything up unless a large group of people contact them simultaneously asking for such a device. I’m not really sure how to go about setting something like that up… any suggestions, anyone? And thanks for everyone’s help and suggestions so far =).
IF there is a Senior Mentor in your area, ask he/she if they would help distribute important info to relevant teams. This isn’t a method you’d want to use for every little thing, but in the case of large events, Senior Mentors are usually willing to help out if they feel it’s worthy of such regionalized distribution.
You can certainly ask FIRST about reenabling that button, but I don’t think it’s likely to happen. Been there, tried that. Some teams actually want that reassurance that everone in the FIRST community can’t email them on a whim. Using the event locator and map you can find quite a bit from team websites. Good luck.
In New York, John Park is your Senior Mentor and in NJ it’s Paul Kloberg.