We are looking for volunteers for the North Texas FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Regional Championship. The Regional Championship will be held on Saturday February 25th at Ford Middle School in Allen. Forty eight (48!) of the top teams in North Texas will compete to determine regional winners and opportunities to advance to the next level of competition.
We’re planning this to be a showcase event for the year, and we’re looking for volunteers to help with the event in all areas. Due to the expanded size of this event we need more judges, referees, and inspectors than in previous qualifier or league events. Of course there are many other roles that we will be filling, including scorekeepers, runners, queuers, announcers, and the like. Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before or feel like you might not be qualified… training is available and we have experts to help guide you. And if you’re looking at coaching or mentoring a team in future competitions, then volunteering (e.g. as a judge) is an outstanding way to see what the top teams are doing and understand how things work “behind the scenes”.
Judging is an all-day commitment consisting of panel interviews and observations of teams and robots in action. Ideally, judging panels are comprised of people with a technical background along with those with skills in communication and outreach. No one will judge alone.
Referees observe team matches to observe rule violations and “call” them. They also keep track of which elements have been scored and record these items on scoresheets. There is online training to become a referee and a certification exam (which usually isn’t very hard). Refereeing also gives you “the best seats in the house” for watching the matches take place.
Inspectors meet with teams in the morning to check robot designs for safety and compliance with build rules and restrictions. This involves going through a short checklist of items for each robot, informing teams of any infractions that will prevent the robot from competing or certifying the robots as being compliant with the game requirements. This also has training materials and a short certification exam for the role.
To learn more about FIRST Tech Challenge, check out http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc .
Registering as an event volunteer is a two-step process. First go to the Volunteer Registration System site, https://my.usfirst.org/FIRSTPortal/Login/VIMS_Login.aspx . It can be a bit confusing, so here is a video about how to create a new VIMS account: http://www.screencast.com/t/pTL7rCsb If you already have a VIMS account from volunteering in a previous event or season, you should use that account.
Then select “Apply for an event” tab, select “FTC” as the program, select “Texas” as the state/province, and enter “North Texas” in the “Search event by name” field. You can also search by ZIP code by entering “75002” as the ZIP code. You can then select the event and add any event roles you would like to have. We’re always happy to have “Assign Me as Needed” volunteers, but we also encourage you to indicate your preference for any other roles you would like to have at the event. We will want an array of volunteers: concessions, referees, judges, inspection, load in, load out, queuers, etc… so please feel free to forward this information to any friends or colleagues who may be interested in helping.
Please contact Patrick Michaud at <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you have any questions. Thank you so much and we hope to see you soon.