What keeps you off a team but still with FIRST?

Just curious…I think Ken mentioned this a little earlier…theres a lot of people in team 000, which means theyre not affiliated.

There seems to be a trend with people sticking with FIRST but staying away from being on a team…why?

Im just curious…and how do all these people get to comps? to Nats?

I have another question along those lines: What exactly do you do continuing with FIRST but not being on a team? I’m not trying to be rude with this as I’m just curious. Is it more of a spectator aspect or is there actual invovlement?


I am just glad they are still with first (especially the ones that were with First for many years)

becasue they give the rest of us valuabe guidance and tutoring when we are at our wits end and hve no place else to go

thanks to all of you



This is my 3rd year without a team. What I did last year, my freshman year in college, was basically help out my old team, cheer them on @ Regionals, etc, etc. This year however my HS partnered w/a different sponsor who decided that the old team meant nothing to them so those of us from the old team kind of steered away from helping their efforts, and they made it pretty clear they didn’t want help. This in turn sparked the formation of the “Blue Lightning Alumni Association.” Basically we’re a group of “old teamers” who are determined to make sure that Blue Lightning has a presence at FIRST competitions to come. We made our own t-shirts, had our own give aways, and have may more plans to come. I was later informed that this is getting under the skin of the new sponsor, we’re kinda like that one anoying relative that just won’t go away. So that is what I do now that I am off a team is get on the nerves of the new one :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: Now before you all tell me that this is not in the spirit of gracious professionalism…I think that the new sponsor missed that paragraph of the manual based on how some of the old engineers were treated and conversations that they had behind the kid’s backs.


Justin: No matter how badly someone was treated, gracious professionalism would still have you treat them nicely. We don’t only show gracious professionalism to those who show gracious professionalism to us but instead to everyone. I’m sure there are more constructive ways you could go about influencing the new sponsor to act in a graciously professional way. About the only thing you can convince them of with these methods is that FIRST is too much trouble to bother with and then they may just drop their participation in FIRST altogether. And that helps no one. So try to do a bit more encouraging than discouraging.

Matt who felt like he just gave a lecture…but didn’t mean to

Well, the first two years I was on my team, it was a total blast. Everything went wonderfully. In my last year, however, things took an unexpected dip when the school’s magnet coordinator and robotics teacher left. They were replaced with people who knew absolutely not what they were doing, and really didnt listen much to the right students, although Im sure they had thier hands full as it was.

Then to top that off, there was a “cold war” between myself and my once best friend over control of the team. He was in it for the win, and treated FIRST more as something to party with and get free trips with. He even promoted obscene language in music for our cart. Meanwhile I had kept a FIRST purist and fought a lot of that. The team was literally split between those wanting to be in the cool with him, and those wanting to be on my side supporting the values and morals of FIRST.

After I graduated, I was so upset at the team, that I originally planned to not come back. It wasnt the team that I had originally joined. But eventually I did to mentor the animation team, and that also turned for the worse. Except when I started the animation eGroup. Now I mentor more than just students from the team I once hailed from, but I get to help spread animation knowledge to everyone in FIRST, and will continue to do so.

This year, my old team also made it up to regional Finalist. At first I really shunned them, as I couldnt stand many of the students, teachers, and a couple of the engineers. But eventually I did realize how un-FIRST-like that was, and did end up congratulating those I saw, although I still do disagree with many of the reasons they do things. But of course that doesnt apply to all the team members. So for the members of that team reading this, those who know me well, good luck with the team.

Although it belongs in the thank yous, there are a couple of names I would like to put here:

Ruslan, Lee, Jack, Mike, Z, Linda, Henry, Clara, Sumo, Noland, O’Day, And the students who stood by and supported what I had to say, as well as believed in the FIRST spirit, and were not in it for the win or the trips. Not to mention MOST of the alumni, especially Shaun (however you spell it) who deserves THE credit for starting the base system which has recieved awards 2 years in a row now. Apologies if I missed anyone. Gah, this is turning into a late night ramble. I need some sleep. Night all.

Just wanted to point out that those are the people from my former team. There are many others from FIRST and other teams that I would like to thank, which I shall do when I wake tomorrow. So dont freak if ya helped me along in life and I forgot to mention ya!:stuck_out_tongue:

With my name right on top of the thread, I think I got to post a respond in here…

Well, I am sure everyone understands that people like me stick with FIRST because it’s just such a fun and great place to be. Every second I spend doing FIRST I learn a new thing. I got to meet all kind of people all over the country, and I get to talk to them normally over the Internet.

There are a lot of reasons why people like me are staying away from a team even though they are still sticking around for FIRST. Most of those people have experiences from doing FIRST for a few years, and usually they’ve graduated from high school (which explain why they are not with their old team). Of course there are the engineers who actually have a job that can’t stick with a team too much…

A really big reason is that college life becomes too big for a close relationship with a team, so we can only help out from the side. Believe me, I’ve tried, and I learned that it can’t or too hard to be done all 4 (or more) years of college.

A second reason might be that we feel we can help a lot more people than just in one team. I know people like Jessica and Robby are working with a lot of different people from different teams. At the same thing, we can also learn from the different teams because every one of them has a different way of doing FIRST.

Then, there are other reasons that force people away from any team. Maybe the college they are going to are too far away from any team…

There are not really many options to us non-team FIRST participants… When there is no one team to dedicate to, there isn’t a robot we can dedicate our time into. So we can either work with FIRST (people like Nate?) Or we can help out different teams on more of a surface level.

I think there are too little of us to know what sort of thing we really do. It’s really different from people to people. And it¡¦s too early to tell. Some of us still haven’t found the right team yet; some of us already have something we are already doing. Mean while, for me, I believe I won’t be doing FIRST with one team next year, although I have no idea what I will do. However, I predict that it will be a mix between working for FIRST and different teams. But I really need to ask Jason Morrella (an adult FIRST-a-holic who’s no longer doing FIRST with a team, but instead regional director of FIRST) advise about this… I guess Matt is right; maybe this can only be more of a spectator aspect of FIRST for us¡K But I am not going to settle for that; I am going to make sure I have actual involvement.

Maybe we got to start our own organization for non-team FIRST-a-holics… But then again, there are too little of us. Maybe we will just settle for an organization for non high school FIRST-a-holic… :wink:

I think Ken’s trying to give me a little hint towards the end there but I’ve been busy. I will get on it however. :wink:

Anyway, as far as college being too much to closely bond with a team, I guess that depends on the way your team is structured. My team seemed to have no problems bonding because there were a small group of college students so it gave us someone to bond with.

Obviously, I haven’t been in FIRST for all four years of college yet but I really do think that it’s possible. It may be hard, particularly with a Coop like RIT has, but I’m sure it can be managed. So far I haven’t had too many problems with it and I don’t think many of my teammates have either. But, as always, your mileage may vary.


Well, since I am graduating on Saturday and will be looking for a team next year, I think a non-team team would be a great idea! (I think I just made an oxymoron) I have no great urge to be a part of my former team, due to some very unfortunte circumstances, I would still love to be a part of FIRST and help other teams. I’m moving to florida this summer so any team in the northern part who would like to add to their team, I’m coming that way.
Carolyn who thinks she may go nuts without FIRST next year.

*Originally posted by Carolyn Duncan *

Carolyn who thinks she may go nuts without FIRST next year.

…you arent already?

Nowwhy ever would you think I’m nuts? Could it be because I talk to Rambots?
Carolyn who is not as nuts as she might be. :smiley:

Sort of branching off of what Matt said above, it is easy (maybe easy isn’t the right word, we’ll stick with feasible) enough to be on a college team, atleast from my personal experience where I live on campus and the team meets and works on campus. If that is the case with any of you other college or soon to be college students, you’ll be capable of putting in lots of fun (and late) hours of robotics as long as you can manage your time. My non-FIRST friends barely saw me during the six week period. And actually, I think that overall I put in more hours this year than I did as a highschooler. So, it is fun being on an actual team if you can manage it, but, I suppose that with the right amount of effort and attitude the members of team #000 can be helpful where they can and still have fun.
My four hay-pennies,

We actually met at the high school instead of at the college this year because the high school has a good machine shop, the teachers and students are already there, and we don’t have to fight for space with Formula 1 and Mini Baja (and we would have lost those fights). The only problems we ever had was transportation but we did have enough people with cars or access to cars to get us there when we needed to. Frankly, I enjoyed not working at RIT more than I think I would’ve had we worked at RIT. Because we didn’t work at RIT, I was able to get away from FIRST when I needed to (I think I would have had a mental breakdown otherwise). But it is very possible to be on a FIRST team while being in college. Now I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is possible.


This year I found myself no longer allied with my high school team…not somewhere I’d expected to be my senior year of FIRST. My name in here bears the number 177 because the Bobcats had been incredible in taking me in as one of their own when I felt the bonds between my old team and I breaking.

But anyway - I found myself on the FIRST sidelines for the first time ever. I was a primary operator for three years, sidelining it was odd to say the least. But I have to say it’s been one of the most incredible seasons I’ve ever had - even without a team I saw everyday and could participate in meetings. I found myself just trying to lend a hand to anyteam that needed one - I did the website for team 73, would brainstorm online with members of teams from New Hampshire to Florida to California.

As far as competitions went…the only reason I got to any of them was because some incredible teams and some incredible people simply opened their arms and took me in. I got to Florida thanks to Jason Rudolph and the amazing people on T168 (not to mention a 30hr greyhound :wink: ) And even now, I owe my trip to Mayhem on the Merrimack to Lee Machado and the nuts of TJ² :wink:

I told Matt I’d come to Tigerbolt next year…though part of me wonders if I can ever return to a proper team structure and should just remain a “FIRSTer for FIRST” and not just one team in particular…

~ lora :cool: