What qualifies as a team affiliation?

This is my first year volunteering without directly being a member of a team. I typically fill the CSA role at district level competitions, but this year I may volunteer as an FTAA as well. As a team alumni, I’ve stayed in contact loosely with my team via their Slack and email, namely as a resource for questions. As I now live hours away, I don’t physically volunteer with the team, nor does my help constitute substantially more than if someone on CD tagged me or DMed me a specific question.

Would my contact with my team still count as a team affiliation/does it matter? Is it worth disclosing on the volunteer form? I’m erring on the side of over disclosure, but I’m also genuinely curious as to if anyone has any insight about what team affiliation really means and how HQ/VCs look at it.

As a CSA, I don’t feel as though team affiliation has any real bearing on the role (nor does it in the minds of HQ apparently) since you provide help and support for all teams in a way that typically has no direct bearing on match outcomes (CSAs only respond to the shots called by the FTA when it comes to tough choices). As an FTAA, you still don’t make the team-impacting choices directly, but you are closer to that process, which is why it feels like the situation may be different.

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While im probably not the best person to answer, I think team affiliation only really comes into play with the Ref’s/Judges, and outside of that youre expected to keep everything fair. I’d disclose either way (havent been around the local FLL team in like years but I know the mentor really well so I avoid judging them) and id assume its something similar at the upper levels.

I think @ndp was an FTAA while being on a team which would also make me think that being affiliated at all doesnt matter for it.

Personally I would err on the side of disclosure personally. From managing events, it is helpful just to know any affiliation even if it isn’t going to impact your choices. It is really a perception thing.

Yeah, I did 2 events as an FTAA last season, one of which my team was at. If you can be impartial and “disconnect” from the team entirely for the weekend, you’ll be fine. I didn’t do anything with them actually related to the event outside of the occasional “how’s it going” and having dinner with the team. I explicitly didn’t check slack or participate in any discussions related to team performance or the event. There’s some disclosure stuff involved (a form I believe), but that all gets done at the event.

So I’d disclose the affiliation, with that said it sounds like you are mature enough to remove the team from your FOV during the event.

It should also be said I still am a KV and have a new team affiliation, albeit not volunteering at events with the team I mentor (so I can be with the team instead).

I typically disclose the following as affiliation:

  1. Any team I’ve ever been on
  2. Any team I have family members on
  3. Any team where I provided a significant amount of mentoring such as to influence the overall course of the season, i.e. an inexperienced team I was on the phone with multiple times a week

It never affects my ability to volunteer–you just need to be impartial in any situation where it could be considered a conflict of interest and preferably let someone else responsible make the call. I won’t inspect any teams noted on the list above.

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Don’t forget about inspectors! Also, any position on the field has the chance to impact team experience, and knowing those affiliations can help all the volunteers ensure they don’t come into play.

There are really two aspects to team affiliation.

The first is outside perception. If someone else would perceive you as being affiliated with a team, then you’re affiliated with them. That includes teams you previously mentored, were previously on, etc.

The second are teams that you are related to, even if it’s not something others would necessarily know about. That can be any team. My old high school has a team now (They didn’t when I was in school), and I would mark them as affiliated if there’s any chance I’ll be interacting with them in an official capacity (The only time I’ve actually seen them was at champs last year, and they were in a different division, so it hasn’t really come up yet!). That’s simply because I want to see my old school be successful in FIRST, even more than I do every other team. It could happen if you have a cousin or niece on a team, or whatever.

So I would say yes, on the volunteer info page, mark yourself as affiliated with the team.

There’s a quasi-third category of teams that you should be aware of as well - those that you may be too close to. There are teams here in MN that I generally don’t want to inspect, because I’m too close to them. I’ve known their head mentor for 10+ years, I see them at events throughout the year… I’m not affiliated with them, but given my level of familiarity with them I need to be very careful in how I interact.

I’ll also note that I’m either an LRI or inspector at every event my team attends. I disclose that relationship, and am very careful to make sure people don’t see any hint of bias or unfair preference. I’ll help them as my role allows (One reason I chose inspection is because of the freedom to be in the pits helping teams, and not being tied to the field and limited to the time constraints of the schedule), but I always make sure they go to someone else for an inspection or rules question (and I probably tell them to get inspected WAY more than other teams do…).


Bah, you’re from FiM. Virtually all volunteers at the events are related to some team somehow, because each team is supposed to supply volunteers. As long as you have integrity, you’re good. Fill in the form, mark it as a “former member” or “former mentor” of a team, and no one will care.