Too late for 2004?

I was on a team for 4 years at my highschool. I’m in college now and I just realized that robotics has been my main drive for a long time. I want to start a team here near campus, but I’ve never done this and I’m not sure where to start. I was also wondering if it is too late for this coming season, I know registration opens in a week or so. I stopped in at the high school’s principals office and he is suppose to give me a call when he can. What I really need to know is whether FIRST is holding spots at regionals for rookie teams, and if so, for how long?

I think you would be in way over your head trying to start a new team while you are a freshman in college.

you have to find a HS to agree to have a team, and that school has to find 1 or more teachers to put all that time and energy into it

THEN you have to find a company with engineering resources and $$$ to sponsor the team

for one person this would be a full time job. There is no way you could do this and get your class work done too.

Best advice I can give is to see is there is a local team in your area, and volunteer to help them out, or maybe to get the engineering department in your college to work with a local team.

It usually takes about a year to start a new team - its a lot of work.

nwagers: What city/state are you in now that you are at college?

My response is to go for it and try and contact someone you know at the HS level to sign on as a mentor. Then you’ll have to get sponsorship and at $5-10,000 as a startup you’ll be on your way. Next is to generate interest among the HS students and give them a hand with the technical side of it. I’ve been involved in two different rookie teams and the experience, while physically, emotionally and personally demanding, was wonderful. You’ll have to decide if you can handle the load and as a beginning college student you are already challenged.
Good Luck!

*Originally posted by KenWittlief *
**I think you would be in way over your head trying to start a new team while you are a freshman in college.
**

The whole freshman comment was a little over the top. It depends on a lot of different factors. I would like to point out that several of us from the Gila Monsters started 1011 as Freshman in college with great success.

The first step is to get your college to recognize you as a club. This requires university members, so if it is only you right now then you may want to consider waiting until next year, while building up interest this year.

The second step is to start approaching local High Schools and set up presentations. Jump on the ones that are excited and get them involved!

From there, it’s all about fundraising and finding corporate sponsorship. Write letters to EVERYONE to get support, and have the students do any type of fundraising you can think of. If you manage to get enough money, great, sign up for a regional and build a robot! :wink:

I have some letters we used to get support for our team last year, pm me an e-mail address and I can send those to you so you can get an idea on how it is done :slight_smile:

In many respects “being in way over your head” is exactly the point. The true spirit of FIRST is in setting that stretch goal. If you feel it in your blood, go for it. Don’t take no for an answer. Find some support, register, find more support and keep going. For 6-7 K you can find a way to build a robot and attend one competition. This community is all about supporting just such an effort.

The whole thing reminds me of a favorite quote, “Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

Good luck.

It can be really tough to get all the kinks worked out so to speak, but if you’re adamant about doing it, I say go for it. Put up posters around the high school to interest kids. We did this at my high school and our first meeting had about 30-40 students. But First i suggest you find an advisor, if you can’t find one then wait until next year. We had to wait about 5 years to finally get a team started at Hightstown.

The next thing is sponsorship. Go around to local companies and tell them about your program, etc. Let them now about actual FIRST, the website, some general information, and give them some contact information. We found 3 or so sponsors this way, and raised about half the registration fee before the deadline.

If you still can’t find enough money, like we weren’t able to, try contacting sponsors around you that already help fund teams, because they, like Bristol-Myers Squibb, might be willing to help start out another team. (it looks good for them, and it’s better for FIRST).

While you’re doing all this sponsor stuff, make sure you get your kids started on fundraising (like carwashes) and simple stuff.

I KNOW it sounds like a lot of work, but if you’re really set on getting it done, I’m sure you can. Enlist in the help of your parents and friends if you need to. I know that last year my mom spent a lot of time looking into sponsorship for my team and at the last minute pulled through with our $5000 entrance fee.

That’s the other thing, FIRST will generally work with you if you are having money deadline issues. They were overly helpful with us and we did not turn in our money until around Winter Break. They understand that sometimes it’s hard for companies to cut checks if it’s outside of their book deadlines and stuff like that, and they also understand that there is a lot going into starting out a team.

Good Luck and Best Wishes!
Sara

My advice:

Go for it, so long as you arent the only one trying to start a team. Trying to start one all by yourself as a college freshmen may be too much. If you have a few other interested, thenwork together on it and go for it.

I don’t know 100% but I dont think that regionals reserve spots for rookie teams (I could be wrong of course)

i started team 857 in 2000 as a freshman here at michigan tech. there were four former FIRST students including myself, we had $15,000 and a high school teacher very early in the game.

after five years, college mentors all get credit for participating and the team is flourishing…another FIRST success story.

FIRST wouldn’t be in this remote area without our individual efforts. do the right thing and pursue your dream. don’t be discouraged if you can’t get htings together by 2004, getting started is by far the biggest challenge.

The most important thing to keep in mind is the purpose of FIRST is to get HS students to pursue engineering and science careers.

For YOU this has been sucessful - you are a freshman in college now - an excellent example that FIRST works!

Im not sure if I can say this correctly without sounding condesending, so please dont be offended if this doesnt come out right

the two primary elements of a team are a sponsor company that has facilities, funding, and engineering personal who will dedicate their time and energy to the team

AND

a High School with an adminstraion, teachers, and resources that is also willing to devote time and energy to the program

as a college freshman you do not represent either of those essential entities - the most you can (honestly) do is be an advocate for FIRST, to try to find corporate sponsors and interested high schools, and convince them how great this program is, point them towards each other, and maybe even be part of the team as a mentor

but you cant form a team by yourself.

I have been involved in finding new sponsors for teams that lost theirs, and in forming new teams from scratch. It takes a lot of time and energy, it takes several people to pull it off

its not something you can do in your spare time alone in a couple weeks. It usually takes about 12 months to pull a team together from scratch - people need time to plan for these things, find personnel to participate, allocate funding and floor space…

By all means, if you know a HS that is interested, or you know of a company that wants to sponsor a team, do all you can to make it happen

but trying to pull a team together for this year would be extreemly taxing on you personally - if you are going to do this, you want to do it right

and you dont want to sacrifice your own education.

I am impressed by your dedication and enthusiasm for FIRST

and im worried about the amount of time your college studies will require - many college students dont make it through their freshman year sucessfully - dont let FIRST be a distraction from your primary objective at this point in your life.

october or november… a ton of things have to happen BEFORE you hold your first meeting with the students on a rookie team.

If you can, find a local veteran team and ask them to help mentor the new team you are trying to start. This was very helpful last season when 1089 received countless hours of help from team 25. and if worse comes to worse, you can at least become a member of the veteran team for the year and keep working toward a new rookie team for next year.

*Originally posted by KenWittlief *
**I think you would be in way over your head trying to start a new team while you are a freshman in college.

you have to find a HS to agree to have a team, and that school has to find 1 or more teachers to put all that time and energy into it

THEN you have to find a company with engineering resources and $$$ to sponsor the team

for one person this would be a full time job. There is no way you could do this and get your class work done too.

Best advice I can give is to see is there is a local team in your area, and volunteer to help them out, or maybe to get the engineering department in your college to work with a local team.

It usually takes about a year to start a new team - its a lot of work. **

I agree, for most college freshmans starting a new FIRST team is a lot of work; SCHOOL first, FIRST second. (sorry, for the play on words)
I mentor several the Polytechnic University Polybot students who mentor the local HS FIRST teams so I know a little about the relationship between college/HS FIRST teams. And I mentor/coach many NYC teams the pass 5 years with NYC-FIRST. With rookie teams, you have to give 100% commitment or none. Most college freshman do not have the time, especially engineering student. Join a veteran team first, and then start a team next year.
It’s your call. Good luck.
:slight_smile:

Many will consider me a nay-sayer, but start this year for next year. I think it’s too late for this year, but that’s my opinion. It’s all up to you. Aim for Everest, and if you get to the moon, be happy.

Everything is possible if you get the commitment from the school and students.
Last year we coached two rookie team in our workshops which started in November. They did well at the regional.

In January (2nd week!), we had to coach and mentor two other rookie teams. One got into the finals and the other had mechanical problems.

That is four rookie teams in one year, so it is possible but we had an army of engineer students to support them!

:slight_smile: :yikes:

Well I think that I’m going to start a letter writing campaign. There are no teams near here (Charleston, IL), so no ones knows about FIRST. I think my new goal is to have a team ready for 2005. If anyone out there goes to EIU or LLC let me know, I could use the help, It’s just me right now. I think I can handle things on the school side, but how do I actually approach a business? Who do I write letters to inside the company?

I’m a college freshman and am starting a team pretty much by myself. I at Albion College in Albion Michigan. I got permission from the principal yesterday, and we have our first meeting next thursday. I took a letter about sponsorship by the college over to the president today. I printed out flyers to pass out to the kids at school and to give to the parents at conferences tomorrow. There are about eight small businesses around here that I’m hoping will sponsor us and I’m going to ask Eaton next week about being the main sponsor (there are about 5 plants with-in twenty miles of here). I have found about five former FIRSTers on campus that might be willing to help, and a few physics majors that could mentor too. Starting a team as a freshman is a lot of work but it’s not like I’m swamped. I still have time to sleep (once in a while), although finding time to eat is pretty much a lost cause.:smiley:

PS If Hans or Miss Shelton read this - See I told you I could