Hello, we just finished up our mentors meeting and the question came up of are we asking to much or to little from the students . What is everyone’s meeting schedule ? We are thinking of breaking it up into 4 seasons with different level of commitments for each season. 1) Fall: meet 1-2 times a week for 1-2 hours.2) Build season and competitions: 3 days during the week for 1-2 hours and Saturday for 5. 3) Spring: 1-2 days a week 1-2 hours a meeting. 4) Summer: optional 1- time a week for 1-2 hours. At our school robotics tends to play second fiddle to the kids other interest such as sports, drama, and employment. . It is very rare to have the whole team together. Please let me know how often and for how long your team meets.
Offseason: 2x per week, once on a weeknight and once on a Saturday. 10-4 is semi-typical for a Saturday, weeknight tends to be 3-6. If we’re in a crunch we might do more.
Regular season: Shop open after school to 10 PM, weekends are 10 to 10.
It should be noted that we do occasionally vary these (usually towards more time), and it should definitely be noted that nobody is required to be in the shop the whole time (and we discourage spending all your time in the shop anyways).
School ends for us at 3:05. This year our team met as follows
Fall: Training workshops every Tuesday and Thursday until 5:30
Season: Monday Tuesday Thursday till 6:30, Saturday 10-4
Season Crunch Time: Wednesdays and Fridays were added and meetings were pushed as late as possible (sometimes until 9). I (a senior at the time of this post) voluntarily pulled all-nighters programming and diagnosing electrical the night before our first district event (week 2), the entire week (spring break) before our second district event (week 3), and the night before our district championship (week 6). All-nighters were not considered meetings.
Post Season Before Summer: Monday Until 5:30
Summer: ¯_(ツ)_/¯ tbd by future leadership and mentor availability. Hoping for the best so that next year’s team can be well prepared to train their new recruits
Our team had a solid group of around 25 members this year with 44 on our roster
Meeting attendance wasn’t mandatory however we tracked meeting hours to help justify and determine who got to travel and who got to be in the pit. For a good hunk of the build season, we had a solid 25 or so members at each meeting. Towards the end of the season it was closer to 15 or 20 as we didin’t do a very good job at training and delegating.
It’s worth noting that our school is an engineering magent school with no sports programs and very few other extracurriculars.
One has 120 students and meets once a week in fall for 3-4 hours, every day in build season 3:30-9, and spring a couple hours a week. No summers.
One has 12 students and fall and spring two days a week for 2-1/2 hours, and 3 hours every weekday and 6 on Saturday during build and competition season. Almost never in summer but some students meet to learn and experiment with new ideas.
What you propose looks good except during build season: more time will be needed. Imho, ymmv.
Build season: m-w for 3 hours each, sat 9-4 with an hour for lunch (so really 15 hours of working time)
The important thing is to manage expectations around attendance properly. For us, that means 50% to travel, 80% to letter. We also emphasize all the time our hierarchy of priorities: health, school, and then robotics. Sick? Stay home! Test tomorrow? Study! Sitting there healthy with school work done? Robotics!
Our Fall offseason is typically 2x per week for 3 hours each. One of those is special projects so not everyone goes to both.
That’s not including any outreach events or the like.
Build season we meet 4 weeknights for 3 hours each, and Saturday for 6 hours. So build season is 18 hours without staying late.
But it depends on how much your students want to put into it. We always tell ours it’s not required to be at every meeting. Our leaders will often come to all and we expect that. But we also know that they have homework and stuff.
But our top students do robotics 20 ish hours a week during build. And that’s down from our precovid times.
We are a relatively small team, with ~10 technical students doing most of the work.
Off season: Wednesday from 3:35 to 7 and the weekends from 10 to 3
Build season: Wednesday and Thursday from 3:35 to 8, going past 8 more often than not. Weekends from 10-5 or so, though was much later at the start of build and towards the end. We also had more weekday workshops closer to champs, meeting pretty much every day the 2 or 3 weeks leading up to champs
Our mech/electrical lead and our programmer put in probably around 40 hours a week leading up to champs, which is something we are working on changing for the next season by having a more robust training plan. They probably put in 500-600 hours from kickoff to champs (not counting the 5-10 hours we get a week to work on the robot during school throughout the week)
Most members probably put in 15-30 hours a week though
We have some of the longest hours I’ve seen for an FRC team during the season: Sun-Thu 4-11p, Fri 8a-2p, Sat 2-7p. That’s 45 hours a week. Students don’t have to come to meetings if they have a conflict, but most students are expected at most meetings. Personally, I think it’s too much, but the students every year enjoy the long hours and want to keep them.
Over the summer we meet about once a week, and we’ll step that up to twice a week during the pre-season.
For us its:
Off-season: 2 hr meetings 2 times a week, with 50% meeting attendance required.
Build season: same as off-season with required Saturday meetings from 9-3. We also have optional meetings every weekday and Saturday (and sometimes Sunday) from 3-9, although we often run until midnight or once until 3 AM. Usually we get between 4 and 6 kids there during most/all of the optional meeting time (some of us were there 60+ hours a week) with others popping in and out as they feel.
Summer: Optional meetings, but I don’t know how much time/week because we haven’t had a proper summer since I’ve joined the team due to covid and other circumstances.
We have a 50/100 hr requirement in build season for travel/lettering.
Build we meet Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 6-9 (with meal). And meet Saturday 9-5 & some Sunday 1-5.
Regularly we meet weekly 6:30-8:30, but during summer bi-weekly. Otherwise, we are doing different activities during weekends, especially in Fall. There is no % meeting requirement other than for build to travel or letter.
Starting at kickoff and running through our last official FIRST event we meet MTWThF: 4:30-8:00PM and Saturday: 9:00AM-4:00PM. We take whole team dinner and lunch breaks during every meeting, so that takes a bit of work time out of those times.
After our last official event, up until 2020, we didn’t meet again until August, when we would meet once a week for like two hours. Last year we met once a week from 4:30-7:00PM if I remember correctly. This year we are talking about moving to Tuesday and Thursday meetings, and probably still 4:30-7:00PM.
Students and mentors are not required to attend every meeting, and we only have an attendance requirement to letter in the program during the build season. So it is normal to have a minority of the team showing up to the off-season meetings. These times also don’t include the time we spend doing outreach events or off-season competitions.
Giving the students plenty of opportunities to come and work on things they want to work on is nice, just make sure they understand that they don’t need to be there every day. Some days you may only have a couple people show up, and that’s fine.
Quick summary, around 21.5h of work time/week during build/competition season, 5h of work time/week during off-season and pre-season.
Another way to think about this is how productive is the time you are spending. Shifting training outside the build season is a large win, to the greatest possible extent. Things such as subteam meetings (especially for larger teams) may be worth considering, or generally how you are engaging students and getting the various parts of the team’s needs met. The student/mentor balance, including how much can be done utilizing the experienced students is another factor.
In other words, it may make sense to have 1/2 the people there for twice the time, provided you can manage things and have continuity. Or, to have the same total time, but spread out so that it isn’t so weighted toward the build season. Or, some combination.
The team I was previously on and now mentor when I have time has different levels of commitment. I’m not sure what the level are off the top of my head but I know to just be a member of the team you should put in about 4 hours a week during build season. To be in any position of leadership requires the team member to be there every weekday during build season and 2 week days in the offseason. Official meeting time are 4:30-8:30 every weekday during the season, though the students typically stay later and ask to come in on the weekend. Towards the start of our first competition they would stay as late as mentors typically 10-11pm and would come in most weekends for at least 6 hours. (Note this is asked for by students not mentors).
Our team is school-based so during school days our off-season days are:
Mon, Wed, Fri 3:30 - 6:00
Our mentors let us stay after school every day if we wanted to work on something, but they typically aren’t organized by the mentors.
During the summer, we have an internship at our school for 6 weeks, and that’s weekdays from 9-1.
During build season,
Weekdays 3:30 - 6 (students can stay longer if they want, if allowed to by security)
Saturdays 8 - 4
Sometimes Sundays 8 - 4
Dang. Looking over all these responses makes me think we are not putting enough time into our team.
We are a community-based team and are very fortunate to have strong ties with a local manufacturing company that lets us meet in their shop space. All of our mentors are volunteers and have full time jobs.
During build/competition season we typically meet twice per week, three hours per night and on Saturdays from 9-4. Meetings get adjusted as necessary.
We don’t usually meet much in the spring, maybe a few times to clean and organize our area and don’t meet over the summer.
During the fall we meet about twice per month to prep for the coming season and do some “training” for our new members. It is very hard for us to meet much more than that due to many factors on both student and mentor sides.