Where to find mentors.

Hello. Im from a team in Bethpage Ny and we really need mentors.
Right now we have one full time member who is a Tech Teacher. He gets overwhelmed and angry with the mass amount of work he does. We also have a programming mentor and an orchestra teacher mentor (Takes care mostly of purchase orders, fundraisers, ect)

What we need is mechanical mentors.
Our electrical team is decently strong
our programming mentor is a genius so we are set with that

but…

Our mechanical and building side is weak…very weak.

We built our an entire robot out of L bracket and bar stock if that says anything.

I just want to know where everyone finds mentors. We are going to do more community interaction this year including library exhibits and school based showoffs.

before anyone asks no one else inerdistrict wants to get involved.

and…the only substancial sponsor we have is cablevision which is great but they can only help with programming and wiring.

thanks

Try asking at the local colleges for ME students. You can also look for retired engineers. We actually had responses to a letter to the editor asking the community for help.

I asked a friend of mine (a fellow hot rodder who runs a one man machine shop) to help the team in Tombstone…he stepped up.

I guess my point is, get everyone on the team to ask everyone they know who has some mechanical ability. And also have the students hit the streets, ask local businesses that do any kind of “fixing/building” type work, if they would be willing to help. It’s only a couple hours a week! :cool:

Start with parents. Even if none have any technical expertise, there are almost certainly some with the ability to organize, help with awards, plan food/travel/lodging logistics, communicate, etc. The amount of time spent on these tasks is huge and can free up a technical mentor to focus on the engineering side of things.

If you do have a technical parent or two, hook them and get them to “invite” work colleagues… Try a retirement living center… I would no be surprised if there are a few retired engineers, machinists, etc. who are healthy, mobile, etc. looking for something to keep them busy.

Do any of your families attend a church or other social group? Announce the need in a bulletin, etc…

I imagine there will be a Finding NEMO joke on here soon. But if you have sponsors that provide materials, don’t forget they provide those same materials to all sorts of people. Including potential mentors.

hi
Our teams are in a very rural area (not a lot of industry up here) however we are more fortunate on the mechanical side we have 3 tech ed teachers who help. this year we had some students present to a company that restores WWII airplanes “Air Corps Aviation” one of the machinist there thought what we were doing was great and volunteered a LOT of time helping us, they are now a sponsor and are going to join us at our regional competition. some of the precision parts we needed could now be made on CNC equipment.

a lot of these kind of ppl are out there. outreach is a big part…

I got involved helping team 4791 along with about 5 other Notre Dame students when they asked one of the coordinators here to ask around for volunteers. Your responses from college students may vary, but there’s bound to be at least one student who’d love to help.
Team 2607’s mentors were almost solely parents, the team really focused on roping in parents, namely by showing how they could really use anyone (even parents who have no experience with engineering can greatly help with the business aspect of a team, for example.) Team 2607 even asked people only associated with the school and not with the team for assistance, which led to two of their most valued mentors (the first person we ever nominated for the WFA was a parent of someone not on the team who is still mentoring even after both of his children graduated, and the second was the husband of a teacher with very diverse engineering talents.)

Scope out local colleges/universities. No doubt there will be interested students, if not FIRST alumni. Ask the schools if you can do a demo, that will for sure attract attention! Also as previously mentioned look for retired or currently working engineers at local companies! When going out looking for sponsors make sure on your sponsorship package that you as also looking for mentors. Ive seen many companies that will sponsor the team and send a few employees to help mentor (like my first year we were sponsored by an engineering firm and they sent an electrical and programming mentor to help us out!) Best of luck!

We have picked up a decent amount of mentors, technical and not, through school open houses and back to school days where we demo our robot. Believe it or not, a decent amount of students in your high school / district probably have a parent (or both) that are engineers. They may only stay mentors so long as their kid(s) is(are) on the team, but they are a valuable resource for the time you have them. A lot of our mentors actually had kids on the team at one point and stayed. Now that I think about it, Only 1, our teacher sponsor, is the only one who hasn’t had a kid (or grandson) be on the team at one point.

I’m going to second the young ME students here. Or, even better, students that just graduated and are working in the field. Having older mentors is great as they often are a wealth of information, but young successful mentors often provide someone that the students can really identify with and aspire to be like and can give some of your less motivated members a good push in the right direction. Take it from me, that’s how I eventually wound up working in the field.

With very few exceptions, all of our mentors are family members of (sometimes former) team members, or graduated team members. The one exception who’s been there a while was pulled in by Gixxy at church - that’s what he gets for letting the whole parish know that he earned a PhD in ME.

The biggest obstacle for many prospective members is convincing them that yes, the do have exactly the knowledge and skills we need. I don’t believe that any of our mentors ever worked with robots before FRC. Our four most active technical mentors for the last two years are an oceanographer, an electrical/pneumatics guy (though anything smaller than 8 gauge is a control wire to him professionally), a commercial A/C repairman. and a computer programmer. The head coach is a biology teacher. The best response to “I don’t know anything about building a robot” is something like “You know a lot about <fill in the blank>, so whether you realize it or not, you definitely know something about building a robot”. In one recent case it was more like “You manage a business - and running a team that builds a robot requires the same skills.” The bottom line is to sell prospective mentors on three key points:

  1. You do
    have skills that the team needs; you can contribute. 1. You’re helping shape the next generation of leaders in technology and business, and will learn a good bit yourself.
  2. While FIRST uses this mainly for students, it’s also true for mentors: FRC is the hardest fun you’ll ever have!

Another place to look for mentors is in the same sorts of places you look for local parts and sponsors - whatever tech, electrical, hardware, software shops are in your area. Is there a local car club, computer users group, or radio control club?

Talk to other teams in your area. We found a wonderful mentor from talking to other teams. We are rookies, and in November, we had sent out an email to several local teams just looking for advice. After about five days, we got an email from one of the captain’s dads saying that he knew a guy who would might want to help. He forwarded the email to his friend, and a few days later, his friend emailed us. Four months later, he has been one of our best mentors!

I completely agree with what everyone else says about asking college students, parents, and sponsors. If they say that they cannot help, you could try asking if they know anyone who could help. Good luck!

All of our Mentors came as a parent of Kids on the Team from last year either current this year or past aged out.

So why not ask the kids parents? Perhaps they are blissfully unaware that your team needs help.

I’m sure some would step up to help.

Don’t they have a fleet of vans and trucks to do service calls and other maintenance? Who maintains those vehicles? Maybe you could find a mechanical mentor there.

Check out 973 greybots remote assistance program.