Team recruitment

Hey guys so I am fairly new to cheifdelphi and FRC so please excuse my poor explanations.

So me and my friends have recently started a team and we are having some issues with recruitment we are a team for our whole county but our actual member outreach is mainly at one high school with one other member from another. We are currently having trouble with recruiting members from other schools and female members as we are all boys. I would like to ask how you think we should branch out to the other school districts and make our team a place where female members will not feel like the minority/awkward because she is the only female member. Thank you for reading my post and any suggestions are appreciated

I’m sure if you search around you can find some threads on recruitment.

These might help with your second question. Feel free to PM me too.

First Experiences as a Person of Color

Gender Equality: A Work In Progress

First of all, welcome! I would suggest networking with other teams near you to try and help you out with finding recruiting methods that work best for your area. It looks like you are located within the MAR district (as is the team I am on). A great time to network with other teams is at a local kickoff. If you haven’t made plans yet to attend your local one, I would suggest trying to have at least one or two people go. Additionally, Team 365 (MOE) and 4954 (Palindrome) are also in Delaware and might be able to help you out. Some methods that teams use to gain new members are putting up flyers at the local high school and going to community events to try and spread the word of your team. Good luck on finding some new members!

Feel free to email me (email is in my signature) if your team has any other questions during build season! Our team looks forward to having you at our competition, week 1!

Here are three recent threads on recruitment, two of which actually focus on recruiting girls:

One of the most effective means of recruiting any minority (gender, racial, lifestyle, whatever) is to do a targeted recruitment of one charismatic or well-spoken person of that group, and encourage and support that person in recruiting more. (This is in addition to continued efforts on other fronts, of course!) Try to get a female mentor, preferably somebody who’s a professional in STEM, as well, and get her to as many of your recruiting events as possible, as well as technical sessions.

We’ve been pretty successful recruiting girls on our team, but the retention rate is not nearly as good as for boys; we think this is partially due to a lack of female technical mentors and partially due to girls’ greater likelihood of giving up an activity when the personal drama gets to be too much. We try to keep drama to a minimum in any case; we discourage dating within the team, and will rearrange work crews to give couples some space from each other in the team setting when it does occur.

@GeeTwo when you say recruiting events do you mean like when we are presenting at public events? May you please explain what a recruiting event is please and if you know how I would do such a thing at other schools.

Here’s how you tell if you’re at a recruiting event:

  1. Is your team there as a team?
  2. Are there potential team members there (including future–1-2 years–team members)?

If the answer to both is yes, you are definitely at a recruiting event (regardless of whether or not you’re treating it as one). If the answer to either one is yes, you aren’t at an official recruiting event, but recruit anyway if you think it’s a good idea.

And what you’d do to get one at another school… It would depend on that school’s policy on “outside” organizations recruiting on campus. If you’re a district-level team, you should be able to get in a little easier at club days and the like as “district robotics club” (and ditch the “club” part of that as quickly as you reasonably can).

I was thinking of a recruiting event as any team event at which you **expect **recruiting opportunities, **especially **if you were doing the event specifically to generate those opportunities (most commonly demos at your feeder middle schools and eligible high schools). In our case (single-school team), it includes when we bring the t-shirt cannon to football games; we try to have at least one of each gender present and tending or driving the cannon. Eric’s definition isn’t phrased the same way, but it pretty much amounts to the same thing.

We are a similar team, so I can share what you do. And my daughter was the only girl on the team when she joined.

We are open to students from anywhere in our county, though we don’t allow students who have their own team at their high school. We have students from several smaller schools, private schools, and our middle college (high school students who attend high school at a CC.) We do a presentation at each school at least once, and we always set up shop during open houses or technology events. There have been several different ways to present at high schools: we have had the robot in during lunch periods for students to check out, we have done formal presentations for freshmen, we have recruited eighth graders in the fall, we have had our shop open during open house to greet students and parents, etc. Each school varies depending on what they are willing to give us.

As far as the girl issue… :slight_smile: I was just having a great discussion with my daughter who is home from college. She was the only girl on her team at first, though she recruited others. But it wasn’t always easy. She was told to sweep a lot, she was told to “stand there and look pretty”, she was pushed aside. Luckily, she is a fighter. But not all girls are. There are threads you can read here, but the biggest point is often missed: it’s not as much about the things men do on purpose, it’s more about the things you don’t realize - the “climate.” In general, girls need more freedom to make mistakes without ribbing, more time to feel confident in a task, and more encouragement to try something new (not their fault, they were probably told before that they aren’t good with tools.) My daughter notices on her engineering teams that the girls wait a bit longer to jump in, but then they tend to be more skilled at first once they do. However, if an environment is allowed in which they are pushed aside before they get a chance to absorb a task enough to feel confident jumping in, they never will.

The good news is that encouraging students to pay attention and understand a task before they start it is good for everyone, not just girls (it’s really good for the team budget, too!) And creating an environment where it is safe to fail without ridicule is good for boys as much as girls, too.

There’s a lot of room for improvement in the FRC life of girls (I could tell stories!), and it’s commendable that you want to address that. Just being aware will help, trust me.

Practically, if you can find a girl from another FRC team (or a few) who would be willing to help you at a recruiting event, it might break down the boys-only stereotype created by a bunch of boys showing up. :smiley: A female mentor for your team would help a lot, too.

I COMPLETELY agree. In fact, that’s similar to my first experience, although my primary job was to make buttons. (part of that was that I was a freshman, and they usually get that work that "builds character) (Also, I was the only one from my school on another school’s team, so that was part of it too)

However, if an environment is allowed in which they are pushed aside before they get a chance to absorb a task enough to feel confident jumping in, they never will.

Again, I completely agree. I feel like if someone feels like they’re at a disadvantage because of gender (or any other factor), then they will keep that mindset. They’ll fall into the trap of blaming their lack of involvement on something as silly as being the only girl on the team. That’s very discouraging.

The thing with girls on FRC teams (based on my experience) is that it’s not that we don’t want to be involved, it’s that we don’t know how to be involved. As others have said, it would be nice to have at least one female mentor. However, the important thing is that someone is there to encourage everyone on the team and make them feel included. I would not have lasted more than a year in FRC if I had felt unappreciated. As for male members already on the team, include members. Show them what you’re doing so that they can learn. This is important for creating a positive team environment and also sustainability.

To recruit more girls, I think you should have a girl in a leadership position on your team. Logically, team leaders run recruitment events, and if students see girls being leaders, they will be likely to join. Remember, robotics isn’t a “boy thing” unless you make it one.

Even though I am against separating roles by gender, typically girls do slightly better than boys in business/graphics-related things that the team needs. You may want to recruit for that first since it will be easier. At the very least, invite people from your schools to see your competition. I also suggest asking teachers (primarily STEM- or business-related) to recommend people for the team.

I definitely agree. While we have never pushed any students into leadership who was not ready, the coach and mentors intentionally spend a bit of extra effort looking for girls with leadership qualities in an attempt to compensate for any unintended bias. Last year, one of our co-captains and our drive coach were female. Last year’s drive captain is back and will probably be captain or co-captain, we have a female head of programming, and a few more rookies and underclassmen who are likely to land lieutenant jobs by the end of build season. (We do not have a fixed command structure so much as we recognize de facto leadership with rank. For example, some years we have a single captain, some years two co-captains.) Even more than recruitment, retention of girls has definitely improved in years when girls shared the leadership roles.

We actually take some pains to discourage separation of roles within the team by gender. One of the simpler (hard, but simple) things we do is to not do business and technical things at the same time, forcing people to choose. We set aside certain hours and even whole meetings to business functions, and it is understood that contributing to business functions is a requirement for those wishing to be named to a leadership role.

On the NEMO (Non-Engineering Mentor Organization) website, we have put together a white paper of suggestions for recruiting: It’s getting a little old now, but maybe some of these tips will help you!