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FRC Committee news

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  • Kevin Ross
    Hello FRC Teams It is time to start spinning up the gears in preparation for FRC this year. I have a few things to cover real quick. Yeah, ok, so this is a
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 10, 2007
      Hello FRC Teams
      It is time to start spinning up the gears in preparation for FRC this year. I have a few things to cover real quick. Yeah, ok, so this is a little long. (Some of this involves money for your teams, so you may want to read this!)
      1) A new organization:  FIRST has asked our state to adopt a new model for running all of the FIRST programs in the state of WA. We now have a state operating committee. Under that operating committee, it is our goal to spread all of the FIRST programs across the state in a much more organized manner than we have in the past. FIRSTWA, which is part of the Seattle Robotics Assocation, has agreed to take on most of the roles of the state operating committee. We have several key organizing committees that you should know about. Here are the chairs
      Regional Director: Debra Mumm-Hill
      EAB: Linn Larsen
      FLL: Kevin Ross and Kevin Reed
      FRC: Kevin Ross
      FTC: Eric Stokely
      Our regional director works for FIRST, and has responsibilities for Oregon and WA states. Debra Mumm-Hill started in this position a couple of months ago, and has experience working with FIRST in Oregon. She is our primary contact with FIRST.
      EAB is our Executive Advisory Board. This is a new board position that I am very excited about. Mr. Linn Larsen has stepped up and is going to head up our EAB. Linn is a vice president with GVA Kidder Matthews. His role is to get a panel of industry executives involved, spreading the word about FIRST in the corporate arena, and helping us open up funding opportunities for running the events and for funding teams. This is really great news for all of us. We will develop and maintain links into corporations who are friendly to the FIRST cause, and hopefully make funding connections between teams in need and companies who care.
      FIRST LEGO League (FLL) will be headed up by Kevin Reed and myself with Kevin Reed taking over fully next year. Kevin has been a key FIRSTWA organizer for all of the FIRST programs in our state. He is also an established FRC judge and will also be our FRC Judge Advisor.
      FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) will be headed up by me. I am also a long time member of FIRSTWA, an FRC mentor, FRC Judge, and also have been the FLL partner for WA state for many years.
      FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) will be headed by Eric Stokely. (FTC used to be called the VEX Challenge). Eric has been an FRC mentor longer than all of us! He has also served with FIRSTWA since its inception, helping with FLL, FRC, and also FTC.
      There are lots of familiar faces on the state operating committee, and several new participants who are all committed to making FIRST a success. As it happens, we are all already heavily involved with FRC, FLL, and FTC, so we have lots of experience on our board. We all fully understand the issues you face in running and funding your teams, and will do our best to act in your interest to make a successful program.
      We haven't pinned enough details about the upcoming FRC event to make any official announcements on details, other than it will be a great event!
      2) Recruiting new teams: We have room for another 10 teams in the Seattle Regional from Washington State. I am hoping to enlist your help in getting some new teams online. Getting others involved has always been a cornerstone of the FIRST experience, and is always something highly valued when it comes time to judge your teams chairmans award submission.
      Things we are working on include trying to secure funding for expanding our event. Our goal is to raise enough funding for your existing team to help start a new team in your area. We are calling this the FIRSTWA Expansion Pack. If successful, we will be able to help fund the team you recruit, plus help fund your team in exchange for your team mentoring and helping to establish and grow our program.
      We are still working on the exact details (such as finding actual cash money!), but we would like you to start working on ideas for other teams you can get involved.
      To that end, we would like to hold an informational meeting on Wednesday Sept 12th. We will determine the exact location within the next week, but it will be somewhere in the Bellevue/Seattle area. We would like to see all of the mentors and perhaps as many potential teams as possible. This will be an opportunity for you to meet the members of the FRC organizing committee, for us to keep you informed on what is happening, and a chance for us to help you recruit new teams.
      Go forth! Spawn! (as in a start a new team)
      2a) Community: One of the things we struggle with is how to keep our community of FRC mentors in contact and involved. If you are interested and available, we are starting a monthly 'meeting' (more of an unstructured gathering with beer) of FRC mentors. We selected the last Thursday of each month at 7pm-10pm. This may end up being an event with a roaming venue. The first one is planned at
      7pm-10pm, August 30th
      The Parlor Billiards & Spirits
      700 Bellevue Wy Ste 300
      Bellevue, WA 98004
      This is a bar, so it is a 21 and over event for the first time. I just realized we have some mentors who are not of age. Sorry, I will take that into consideration next month if needed.
      We have a number of teams in the Spokane area. I would love to see someone over there do a similar idea of getting the FRC community talking and communicating.
      You are welcome to attend. It will be a fine place to find out the latest gossip!
      3) Grant opportunities: If your team needs support funding for this year, we have a few things available in addition to the expansion pack idea. I would like to hear from you privately. There is a little homework for you to do. I will need:
      1) Your school affiliation or club affiliation
      2) A reliable email contact
      3) Your schools 'numbers': % Free lunch, minority demographics
      4) As honest and accurate FRC budget and existing funding
      5) Size of your team, approximate demographics
      6) Other things you consider important about your cause.
      Send this to kevinro@... and I will include your teams request in our funding matrix. Please don't be put off by the demographic information. Your team may qualify anyway.
      Turns out we have one pending deadline for some of our funding, so if you could, try to do this by August 14th. Sorry for the short notice on that part! If you don't make the deadline, no problem, send me the info anyway.
      4) In case you are not on the mailing list, we have one!  Most of the mentors are on pnw-first@yahoogroups.com and we would really appreciate it if everyone could make sure to join the mailing list. It is just easier to have a single address to target. You may need to set your spam filter to allow messages from pnw-first@yahoogroups.com

      That is more than enough for now! We are all excited about the new season, the new board structure, and the building of a great FIRST program in the state.
    • Kevin Ross
      Hello Teams, A few things to share this time. 1) I am about to start sending this email only to pnw-first@yahoogroups.com .
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 25, 2007

        Hello Teams,

        A few things to share this time.

        1) I am about to start sending this email only to
        pnw-first@yahoogroups.com . If you are not on the pnw-first@yahoogroups.com  mailing list, then you won't be hearing a whole lot from us in the future! Send mail to pnw-first-subscribe@yahoogroups.com  to keep hearing about whats happening with FRC in Washington. Be sure your spam filters allow email from pnw-first@yahoogroups.com

        2) Reminder that next Thursday, August 30th we will be having an informal coaches/mentors gathering at

        The Parlor Billiards & Spirits
        700 Bellevue Wy Ste 300
        Bellevue, WA 98004

        7pm to 10pm

        There is no agenda for this event. Merely a social gathering, gossip & rumor mill, and a chance to network before crunch time. There also will be some scheming to be done on a special project or two that you might want to get in on. More specifically, I have a couple of ideas for entertainment and motivation during the regional that I will need some help with.

        3) Another reminder September 12th, we will be having a more formal meeting at Bellevue High in the evening. I am planning 7-9pm, but I need to check the room schedule to make sure I have the exact time. Our plan is to introduce the FRC committee members, fill you in on what our plans for the regional are, and talk a bit about our fundraising efforts and team recruiting efforts. We also would like to invite all teams to bring a potential new team so they can meet us, other mentors, and check out some robots. We are still actively working on our FRC Expansion pack idea that will help us grow the program as well as help fund existing teams who help grow the program. We should have more details at this meeting.

        5) FIRSTWA is also working on organizing the FIRST Tech Challenge for the year. We have nestled the FTC challenge event between ship date and the portland regional. I would like to point out that FTC, using the Vex robotics kit, has the same basic structure as the FRC controller. Two remotes, and the default software will look amazingly familiar. If your team wants to get some new students up to speed on programming, building, and thinking about technology, FTC is a great primer. The FTC 'season' starts mid Sept. There are several FRC teams who plan to do the FTC challenge Sep thru Dec, then 'ship' their robot in December for the event in late Feb. Eric Stokely (team 360) is the state partner for FTC. If you are interested, contact him estokley@... . We would really like to generate at least 20 FTC teams in our state.

        4) Our challenge still stands for your team to find a new team to mentor. We would really like to expand by about 10 teams this year. I would love to see your team make recruiting and mentoring another team a priority for the year. The FRC committee is willing to help your recruiting efforts where we can. 

        If you have teams who are interested, but just can't commit to doing FRC for whatever reason, be sure you are prepared to tell them about FTC as a great and less resource intense alternative.




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