Worcester FIRST event?

Anyone know if there is a Vex event at Quinsigamond college in Mass again this year? Some friends and I went to their event last year and thought it was so cool we talked a teacher into letting us start a team this year. We’re building our robot (cool game) and keep checking the FIRST site for news about the tourney, but nothings been posted. We saw another Mass event show up this week, but had planned on playing in the Quinsig event here in town. We played FLL before and thought Quinsig held FLL, FVC and FRC events.

We were told this is a great site to get answers to questions about FIRST stuff. So if anyone knows if there is going to be a Vex event in Worcester this year and can tell us how/where to sign up, let me know. Thanks.

Here you go Steve…this came out this afternoon from FIRST in an email blast to all Main Contacts for FTC teams.

Check out the WPI website and Savage Soccer Tournament which is being announced soon with a 4 week build period and a tournament in late November.

Hello New England area teams,

We’d like to make you aware of the finalized tournaments available in your areas, and to clarify that these are the only sanctioned FTC tournaments for New England. There have been incorrect dates and information posted online in different areas regarding these tournaments, but for up-to-date and correct information please reference the FTC website at http://www.usfirst.org/community/fvc/events.aspx?id=720&menu_id=84.

Massachusetts FTC Championship Tournament
When: March 1st, 2008
Where: Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School, Palmer, MA
Affiliate Partner: Eric Duda
How to register: Please email duda@pathfindertech.org to inquire about space available.
Notes: This is the only official FTC event in the state of Massachusetts.


Connecticut FTC Championship Tournament
When: February 23, 2008
Where: TBD
Affiliate Partner: Kathie Kentfield
How to register: Please email kentfieldk@earthlink.net to inquire about space available.
Notes: Date is tentative. Please contact the Affiliate Partner for more information.


Rhode Island FTC Championship Tournament
When: March 2nd, 2008
Where: New England Institute of Technology, Warwick, RI
Affiliate Partner: Erin Flynn
How to register: RI teams welcome, please email eflynn@neit.edu.
Notes: This tournament is open to Rhode Island teams only. Please contact the Affiliate Partner for more information.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your local Affiliate Partner or FIRST at ftcteams@usfirst.org.

Go Teams!

Thanks Rosie,

They werent kidding, this is a great site to get answers for questions.

I’m not sure if they’ll let us go an hour or so away, and I KNOW we (well, I) don’t want to have to wait until March to play. We thought there would be an event in November or December at Quinsigamond college again. The people we talked to when school started really sounded sure there was an event in Worcester again, said to just keep checking the FIRST site. We were told there was going to be one again this year, which was how we got our teacher to let us start a team.
Even though it wasn’t the answer we were hoping for or expecting, thank you for the information on the other events. Does anyone know what happened to the event at Quinsigamond or why they aren’t having a tournament for teams in this area again? I hope our teacher will let us travel so we can still play.

According to Robotevents.com, there are actually three Quad Quandary events in Quinsigamond.

http://www.robotevents.com/event.php?eid=16
http://www.robotevents.com/event.php?eid=25
http://www.robotevents.com/event.php?eid=28

Hope this helps.

Also as Dana pointed out, there is the Savage Soccer Vex Competition, which is held at WPI, coming up this fall. Registration for the competition is free, and our competition will be held on November 17th at WPI in Worcester. (Yes, I know there is a conflict in dates between Savage Soccer and the one of the Massachusetts FTC qualifier events, but the dates for Savage Soccer were picked and announced first.)

I could be wrong, but I think that the QCC events this year are only open to the worcester public school teams listed on their website (at least that’s what it sounded like at their kickoff event). Robotevents.com seems to give differant information though. :confused:

As to being an official FTC championship event, it sounded like it would be at their kickoff. However, there is no evidence that they are registered as such with FIRST, or that they have registered my team or any other Worcester Public School teams with FIRST. QCC has been a bit slow with this type of thing in the past, but I think they were registered by now last year…

The only official FTC Championship Tournament being held in Massachusetts this year will be held in Palmer, MA on March 1, 2008. www.robotevents.com data is incorrect in regards to the MA events.

The QCC events will not be FIRST events, their focus has changed.

Thanks Karthik for the Robotevents.com link - what a great site. We never would have found that event info without your answer and that site (adding robotevents.com to the bookmarked sites along with Chiefdelphi).

Looked into it, and Quinsigamond is still holding their events, which is great news for us. Also, for rocketperson and any others thinking about, we inquired about signing up and found that the QCC events are open to any and all teams, no matter where they are from or what schools. Again, very cool.

The WPI Soccer game sounds like a possibility to, we’ll try talking our teacher into that also. And just a few days ago I was worried we had no options or places to play, it’s great to see there are so many options all of a sudden.

Turns out QCC didn’t change their focus, just FIRST. A mentor forwarded me the email below to answer my question about what happened to the QCC events. Seems strange to me. We showed it to our teacher, and he had these comments. After reading about FIRST and gracious professionalism on the FIRST site, it doesn’t sound like some poeple at FIRST make decisions that are gracious or professional. He also told us that if FIRST doesn’t want to hold an event in this area for the schools around here, then he’ll let us still play in the QCC events and spend the money we save not registering for FIRST to buy more Vex parts. Seems like a pretty dumb reason not to hold a FIRST event and get more teams, but oh well. Cool thing is we still get to play and now we get more parts and kits. Thanks so much to the people at QCC for continuing to hold their events and giving us a place to play-we’ll be signing up and can’t wait!

-----Original Message-----

Dear Team Leaders,
It was great to see so many of you at the kickoff a couple of Saturdays ago!
I hope your students are excited about the upcoming events and are working
away at their Vex Robots designs. I wanted to give everyone an update on
developments since the kickoff and news on things to come.

As mentioned at the kickoff, I had been told by FIRST that they would be
sending out the affiliate partner agreements after the game was unveiled and
after our kickoff event on September 22nd. Last week I recieved a telephone
call from Steve Chism, Senior Director of Programs, at FIRST, and I was
surprised and saddened to learn that FIRST had changed their mind and
decided that they would not recognize our event as an “official” FTC
tournament this year. Steve Chism explained that this decision had nothing
to do with our very successful FTC (then FVC) Championship event last year,
and acknowledged our event is a well organized, well run, high quality event
for all the teams. Steve informed Quinsigamond Community College, via
telephone, that the reason FIRST would not “allow” QCC, or myself, to be a
Massachusetts FTC Affiliate Partner was that my son Brad now works for
Innovation First. Needless to say, I was (and still am) troubled,
perplexed, and stunned that FIRST would make a decision that negatively
impacts teams, schools, and students based on that reasoning.

So, the bad news is that our event on December 15th will not be recognized
by FIRST as an official Massachusetts FTC Qualifying event. We had planned
on it and were happy to hold and official FTC event. This event will now be
called the QCC Quad Quandary Championship. Everybody that I have spoken to
agrees that any issue FIRST seems to have with individuals or companies
should in no way hurt, or negatively impact, the teams and students who are
working hard on their robots and looking forward to the already scheduled
event, but this is out of our hands. Enough bad news! Even though I don’t
really understand the decision, we are still focused on what matters most:
having a great event for the kids and schools involved.

Good News Items:

  1. We will still hold the tournament on December 15th, just as we all
    planned. The only difference is it won’t be an official qualifying event
    for FIRST Tech Challenge. Everybody that I have consulted with believes
    that we should not allow this to stop our event, change our event, or impact
    the students involved. The biggest news is that this event is still
    happening and will be the same high-quality that you have come to expect
    from QCC.

  2. We will still be playing the Quad Quandary game, so nothing really
    changes except the name of the event!

  3. Since FIRST has decided that they do not want the event to be FIRST
    sanctioned, participating teams no longer need to pay the $275 registration
    fee to FIRST in order to participate in our event. Anybody who wants to
    participate in our free events can sign up for them at www.robotevents.com
    <http://hobbes.qcc.mass.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.robotevents
    .com/> . Teams wishing to participate in other official FTC events and can
    afford the $275 fee are still encouraged to do so. QCC has been a long-time
    supporter of FIRST activities (FRC, FTC, and FLL) because we believe in the
    message and mission of FIRST. We still believe that the FTC program is a
    high-quality, high-impact program that provides low-cost access for its
    participants. Regardless of any decision made by Steve Chism, or other
    individuals at FIRST, we still share and believe in the FIRST mission and
    will continue to promote these programs to schools in our area.

In summary: I am excited about our upcoming events and QCC is committed to
providing a great experience to all of the participating students. Of
course we are all disappointed in the decision/news from Steve Chism (and
FIRST) and can’t pretend not to be confused and somewhat hurt by the
reasoning behind it (especially with all of the years Brad and I have spent
supporting and helping grow FIRST). That effort and commitment will not
stop, and we are more committed than ever to continue to hold high quality
events and programs for your teams and students.

Finally, we cannot wait to see you at all of our events! Don’t forget, the
first event is on November 10th, the second event is on November 17th, and
your championship event will still be on December 15th at QCC.

------ End of Forwarded Message

Thanks for posting this message in its entirety. It answers some questions and raises many more, and the ramifications go far beyond what’s happening in Massachusetts.

So now is Massachusetts one of those “certain states like Michigan” which do not get to officially participate in FTC?

See post #7 above; looks like there will be an official FTC Championship event in Palmer, MA on March 1, 2008.

FIRST has a lot of questions to answer regarding the above email. A lot of teams are missing out because of this, and that isn’t right.

Please close this thread…too many questions are arising that can only lead to more dirty laundry being aired in a public forum and not contributing to the benefit of the either the FTC (or IFI’s) program.

Thank you.

Please do not close this thread. This has been a reasonable series of questions. I am very concrned by what I have read here. I feel that those who devote countless hours in support of FIRST’s programs deserve some answers as to what has happened in Massachusetts, and what is happening with the relationship between IFI and FIRST.

-Mr. Van
Head Coach
Robodox
Granada Hills Charter High School

wasn’t sure where to post this, since it’s a topic in 2 threads right now. so sorry if its in 2 places.

I didn’t mean to start any issues, just thought others in the area might be wondering if QCC was having an event again and what was going on. Once I found out why, figured this was a good place to share it so others in our spot would know. I don’t think anyone has said anything mean or anything, so I hope I didn’t do anything wrong or start something that needs to be closed. Plus it seems like the point of the forum is for teams and people to share information, discuss and talk about things going on in FIRST. I was very surprised to see the reasoning behind the change, especially since the QCC event was so cool last year and it looks like they offered to do it again this year. Every team we talked to said they had a great time at the Quinsig events and recommended we do it, that’s why we were planning to start a FTC team.

Either way, this forum led us to the right info and now we still get to play at the quinsig events, so thanks to everyone who gave answers and helped. Too bad it won’t be an FTC event, which sucks cause now we won’t get a team number and can’t qualify for Atlanta. Again, thanks QCC for still holding the events, we’re really looking forward to it.

Count another vote for leaving the thread open. FIRST doesn’t really owe us an official explanation for anything ever, other than to stay within the bounds of 501©(3). However, it would be very helpful for those of us who believe in FIRST but aren’t familiar with the specifics of FTC if someone more familiar could explain the purpose of the Affiliate Partner system, particularly why it would be structured in such a way that seems to discourage students (most notably in Michigan and near Worcester) from participating. I suspect that that’s the source of frustration for many; a lot of us volunteer a lot of time to expand the reach of the FIRST programs, so it seems reasonable to search for answers when FIRST makes decisions that counteract this.

How about if, instead of closing threads, we instead work together to not have dirty laundry in the first place?

Applying lots of sunlight is the best way I know to clean dirty laundry.

Blake

I would be among those in favor of keepng this discussion alive. Anything that provides insight into the mysterious workings/decisions of the blackbox called FIRST can only be beneficial IMHO.

My sense is that because APs want to remain APs, they are unlikely to be forthcoming with the reasoning (if they even know) behind many of FIRST’s decisions, nor are they likely to raise much objection to the policies as set forth.

Thus, we are left with threads such as this to try and piece the reasoning together ourselves.

The Affiliate Partners are individuals or organizations which sign a contract legally agreeing to hold FTC Championship Tournaments (and leagues and Qualifying events if necessary) in their area which will adhere to the guidelines and standards put forth by FIRST. We are not employees. We are volunteers like everyone else. Some of us chair the FTC Tournament Planning Committees and some choose other people to chair them. Some of us have decided to work on promoting the FTC program in our areas as well. Most of us work on this program year-round.

FIRST is not discouraging students from participating; last year’s Affiliate Partner for Massachusetts left FIRST last spring and a new AP is holding an event in Palmer, MA (less than 45 minutes from Worcester). The CT event is less than an hour away from Worcester. There are now two unofficial events using the Vex Robotics Design System being held right in Worcester. I would say that Worcester is an area that is providing more opportunities for students to participate than most areas of the country!