Volunteering & mentoring

hey everyone! I was curious, is it possible to be a volunteer as a mentor? if yes, is it possible to receive “the volunteer of the year award”?

Yes. Absolutely.


Yes. I’ve been a mentor for 2177 since the 2007 season, a volunteer since 2011, and won VOTY in 2015 at the North Star Regional.

Note that your ability to volunteer while being a mentor is entirely dependent on the amount of support the team has. If you’re the only mentor for a team, then you need to be with your team. If your team has enough mentors to spare a few, then please volunteer!


thanks for the information! I appreciate it :blush:

If you have extra mentors, especially on Thursday I’d give the one inspector per team per event thread a read: https://www.chiefdelphi.com/t/one-ri-per-team-per-event-challenge/402475

Also if you have extra students, a couple shifts at the safety glasses table or field reset help usually goes a long way.


I’ve heard that you can’t be a judge if you’re affiliated with a team. But other positions, certainly. More help is almost always needed.

You can’t be a judge at an event your team is participating at, but you can be eligible to judge at other events. I’ve judged in 3 different years - once as a Match Observer for Lake Superior 2019, 2021 for Upper Midwest Dean’s List (my team didn’t submit anyone that year, first time ever we haven’t submitted for it) and Game Design, and this year for remote judging at Lake Superior.

On a side note, has anyone else volunteered for two events at the same time before? With remote judging, I was able to judge Lake Superior and Inspect Northern Lights last week!

This is incorrect - I’ve both judged events my team was competing at as well as JA’d those same events and I know other folks who have done the same.

For judging there is an expectation you disclose the conflict of interest and the JA and you can work to alleviate any concerns (usually just stay quiet during awards your team is up for, but if you have an expressive face it can involve leaving the room). For JA - it’s actually weirdly less since their involvement in judging decisions is almost 0. Though I’ve been fortunate in many cases to have other folks who were able to facilitate the discussion when it came up.


Definitely can volunteer and mentor. I’m about to juggle the two at Indiana District champs in a couple of weeks. One of my professors is the VC and asked me to disclose any conflicts of interest I had since I help 5188. Since I mainly help with business, awards, and branding, I’ve been assigned pit announcer for it.

Also tagging @SurfGear since I know you and Garrison have been robot inspecting the past couple seasons and juggling being coaches on 3128 so I figured they’d be helpful in chiming in here :slight_smile: I know Chris got WFFA during last season also so you’re definelty not out of contention for awards by any means.

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Any team affiliated volunteers in most positions (including LRI/RI) are supposed to fill out the FIRST Volunteer Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement.

I keep hearing this, but no one has ever asked me to fill out this form?
Guess I’ll print and bring with me… who am I supposed to give it to?

Usually you give it to the sign-in people you get the tag and shirt.

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My team has enough volunteers in the past to do a (small) event: FTA, Field Super/Resetter/Build, Game Announcer, Robot Inspector, Queuing, Vol Coord, Judges. (scratches head) but not Referee for some reason.
This year the mentor that’s doing Inspecting got asked to do Judging too. Key jobs sign the disclosure and just can’t inspect/judge their own teams.

I’ve always asked as part of judge training and collect it.

Though tbh I’ve never sent them anywhere and I don’t think anyone ever reviews them. But that’s fine.

When you filled out your volunteer request on your first dashboard, team affiliation question is asked.

I mostly make my mark in FIRST as a volunteer and help my robotics team here and there. My work schedule keeps me from attending meeting like I used to. I have six weeks of vacation time that allows me to volunteer a lot(I am maxing out with nine events this season, including a full week in Houston for the championship).


Our mentors (and students) will typically volunteer at events we are not in. But we’ve had several mentors volunteer at events we were in and what was nice was that all the other volunteers at the event were great and allowed them to break when our team played so they could watch it.

They’re supposed to be given to whoever is supervising the volunteer. So if a referee has a conflict of interest, the Head Ref should be reviewing the form. If you, as the JA, collected forms from judges, that’s the point. For anyone with a conflict who doesn’t directly report to someone (FTA, HR, JA, etc.), it goes to the VC/event leadership.

It’s just so that volunteers supervising other volunteers in decision-making rules can have all the information they need to create a fair experience. It’s basically me saying “hey I’m affiliated with this team, just so you know” but putting it on paper.

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