General Management

Mentors

Mentors are very important for building a strong base for the team. Although some teams can survive with one main mentor, it is good to have several mentors specializing in different areas to help spread out the work load. Look for mentors in your school, at local community outreach events, or even a parent of a team member. A strong mentor base builds the stability of a team as well as a more widespread foundation of knowledge.

It’s important to keep up strong communication with your mentors. As a simple form of communication, we suggest developing a Google Group for all of your mentors and advisors that includes your officer team as well. This allows teams to easily pass information within the leadership in order to keep people updated. Information like FIRST Official Updates and emails should be forwarded within the group along with officer meeting notes and upcoming events and programs.

A good way to scout out new mentors is often through your school itself. We suggest contacting your Industrial Technology, math, and science teachers, especially physics teachers, who may be interested in supporting your team. Emails are a nice way to contact them, but personal invitations to your team meetings and work sessions go a long way in developing a relationship with any mentor. Another source of mentors is often through sponsors or local business contacts. It’s often difficult to get full-time professionals to spend a lot of time working on FRC, due to the large time commitment, but invite them to come for a few hours on the weekend. Team members’ parents are good people to get involved as well. On the student registration form, be sure to include a space for parents’ names, emails, and employer name. This helps the team not only with determining what fields of engineering they may be knowledgeable in but also provide business contacts for grants and other resources in the future. Some grants are only available if an employee volunteers with the team, and many ask how many employees are associated with the team.

Mentors and parents are busy people so you need to ensure you are making the best use of their time. Try to have tasks laid out so the mentors have designated areas that they may supervise. By having mentors continually inspect designs and oversee fabrication and assembly, the team can avoid costly mistakes. The team’s overall management cannot be done without their support so be sure to include them on every team decision that needs to be made.

Be sure to be thankful for all the time and effort your mentors put in and respect their commitment as well. Do not expect more than you would expect of yourself and make sure to remind them how much you appreciate their help.

Recruitment

The more dedicated members you have on your team, the more projects your team can accomplish. Starting teams may be a tough challenge, but once it gets started, it can grow quickly. MVRT started with only 12 founding members on the team. Since then, the team has grown to over 100 members on the team. The team may even start with only one member, but it could grow through word of mouth. Even with a mentor (Usually a Science or Math teacher) the team can start if the mentor advertises the club in his or her classrooms. When it comes to recruitment, it is important to highlight the excitement of FRC, whether this may be videos of competition or demo-ing a robot.

Some of the recruitment ideas that MVRT has employed in the past have been:
  • Promotional Video: Videos can be taken from the FIRST website. Informational Meeting/Interest Meeting: The more people know about the team and what it does, the more their interest will spike.
  • School Demo
  • Fliers
  • Talking in classrooms
Recruitment is a big priority for teams because a strong member base will be beneficial for the team.

Publicity

  • Get your team noticed!
    • After you get your team on stable ground, try getting the team noticed by the outside community and your fellow robotics teams. Some advantages to getting your team noticed include getting outside support, opportunities for grants, favoritism during competitions, and an overall good image of the team.
  • Attend Local Events
    • MVRT goes to local events such as the Fall Festival and local school events to demo our robot and spread the message of FIRST. Email the event coordinator to see if you can get a booth to publicize your team.
  • Volunteer at other competitions
    • Many FTC and FLL competitions need a lot of volunteers to run smoothly. Email the region’s coordinator to see what your team can do to help. This would allow the team to get recognition in many fields. MVRT has volunteered in many events including FLL competitions in the area.
  • Demos
    • MVRT demos our robot for many different reasons. We spread the message of FIRST, look for potential mentors and sponsors, and support our current sponsors. MVRT holds many demos throughout the year, including at the Tech Museum Robotics Week, the BAE Toys for Tots demo, and demos at the facilities of our sponsors. See what events are going on in your community and find out if a robotics demonstration would be appropriate.
  • Help Other Teams
    • MVRT helps mentor and start several teams in the California area. This earns you a lot of references that help you gain credibility. Reach out and email other teams in the area, especially rookie teams, to find out what your team can help with.
Upcoming Events:

Engineering Trainings

(10/23/2014) Engineering Trainings

Engineering Trainings

(10/28/2014) Engineering Trainings

Engineering Trainings

(10/30/2014) Engineering Trainings


Click here to view more events.
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FIRST

MVRT would like to thank:
A special thanks to all sponsors for supporting MVRT!

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