I’ll pass along some good stuff I saw volunteers doing at our events this year.
Duluth Northern Lights:
Our queuer was super cheery and friendly and spread positive vibes to the teams. We were pushing time a bit sometimes due to repairs, and they were friendly about it.
Duluth inspectors were super nice. They helped us with frame short issue, and when we got the resistance into the mega-Ohms, they didn’t push us to completely eradicate the issue before getting our sticker. When we broke a lot of things and required repeated re-inspections from resulting changes, they were similarly nice. That includes tolerating us without complaint when we dragged them into the on deck area to get reinspected at the last second before a match.
We had a radio issue in our first practice match, and the FTA made sure our programmer had the info he needed to fix it.
The queuer who came around to the pits to fetch teams was friendly and relaxed. Our kids can get pretty stressed during repairs before a match, so it helps to have queuers who don’t get the kids more agitated. We let him know we had repairs and we’d be to our match on time, and he was okay with that.
The inspectors at Iowa advocated for our team in a nice way. We got called for a G106 (height extension) foul in practice matches, so the referees and inspectors talked about it. It’s good that the referees brought that to the attention of the inspectors so people could all take a closer look. We ended up adjusting things a bit until all parties were satisfied. The inspectors came back to our pits to measure our latest adjustments several times and had several conversations with referees. The inspectors and referees made a point of watching our climb together so they could be on the same page. In the end, we didn’t have any trouble with those fouls.
The inspectors got us through the process in something like 20 minutes.
The practice field volunteers were very friendly.
Lots of volunteers do great work at those two regionals, so I don’t mean to exclude the other groups. Inspectors and queuers are some of the people that have the most direct contact with students, so I notice them more.
That was my experience with the (other) volunteers at Iowa – everyone helpful and kind (full disclosure: I was one of the volunteers too). A special shout out to the practice field volunteers as we spent a LOT of time there; as well as to the shop volunteers who spent most of a day helping get a rookie team’s robot down to size.
All of the volunteers that I encountered at the Colorado Regional were awesome - queuers, refs, FTA, practice field, inspectors, judges, etc. They were all friendly and helpful. Great event!
I’ve said this in a couple of other threads but it bears repeating… the volunteers at the Great Northern Regional absolutely knocked it out of the park. The head referee was so accommodating and responsive to our students and it didn’t go unnoticed. The inspection crew as a whole did an amazing job by all accounts and we received important and valuable information from the LRI about a potential failure mode on our robot that we’ll be fixing before our next event. @Jon_Stratis and crew killed it and their efforts are appreciated!
The people leading PCH have done it for so long, and done it so well. Too many names to mention, and that speaks to the leadership of GAFIRST overall, but especially to Jeff and Jan.
I am continually impressed by FTAs ant FTAAs that haul butt over to a team having issues and get the working in 20 seconds or less. Awesome work.
The volunteer crew at FLR is always stellar. The only reason I’m not naming names is that I’d forget some people, but everyone there works hard to put on a fantastic event, and they’re always professional and kind and helpful and awesome.
I want to mention the entire field crew (and especially the FTAs) for the Israeli DCMP, there were plenty of issues that they fixed silently to make the event feel completely smooth, and they were very considerate of the teams’ needs during the event.
They were always nice and kind, and even gave teams more time than required to come on the field and play. One example for this is letting team #5135 come on the field about 3-5 minutes after all of the other robots were already on the field, and then letting them try and redeploy their code while on the field. Only when that failed (after a couple of minutes) they were disabled for the match, but they went above and beyond in order to let them play (since schedule allowed it).
Volunteers were great at NLR, my only complaint is when I needed to ask the head ref a question, he ignored me for ~15 seconds for whatever reason.
Fim Lakeview, Qual 47, first match of the day. One of the robots was having drive issues. Event was 10 mins ahead. We burned that 10 mins to give them a fighting chance to get on the field. Absolutely the right call.
Edit: It only took them a cha cha slide and half of sweet Caroline to make it to the field. Still ahead of schedule.
I wanted to call out the phenomenal job Bennett the FTA at Seven Rivers this weekend did. From the first practice match of the weekend it was clear that his main priority was the experience of all the teams and students at the event. They were gracious with teams running late and made sure to go out of their way to have the staff double checking with teams on timeouts, etc. Whenever a team had a delay on the field, rather than rush the team off the field, he sought out to try and help solve the problem until all teams felt ready to play.
And after giving alliances that extra time in eliminations and such, the event still ended less then 30 minutes later then it’s scheduled end time (playoff matches were scheduled to end at 4:30).
I think this showed that giving alliances the benefit of the doubt and putting it on teams to make a “best effort” towards the general timelines of match start times and timeouts, teams are pretty honorable and don’t take advantage of staff that work to make sure everyone plays.
I hope Bennett is the FTA at more events I attend in the future, because seeing him there upon arrival would immediately mean one less big thing to worry about. The more key volunteers FIRST has like him, the better for events, teams, and the league as a whole.
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