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The FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) community can come here for (at least) weekly musings on the FRC program, news, community highlights, science and technology shout-outs, and more directly from FIRST Headquarters! Comments are welcome, but they must embody the FIRST values of Gracious Professionalism® and will be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for helping to keep the conversations civil and productive.

Posted On:
Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:27

Guest blogging this week is Carla Proulx from FIRST Marketing.  Many of you may remember Carla from her FRC days but she is now the FIRST Alliance Manager, cultivating national Strategic Alliance relationships that play a key role in our success by creating teams, engaging mentors and most importantly, helping FIRST reach more students than ever before.

HOLA Teams and thank you Frank for the opportunity to share some exciting news with the FRC community. 

I’m pleased to announce a brand new grant that is...

Posted On:
Mon, 10/27/2014 - 16:08

Today’s Mentor Monday blog post comes to us from Katie Widen, an alumnus of FRC Team 1675 and mentor of FRC Team 3928.

Tell us about your journey to the current point in your career. What were the most important steps that you took?

It all starts with FIRST. Way back when I was 14, I was interested in writing and wanted to be a journalist or an author of some sort. I joined FRC because my siblings had done it and I idolized them. I started off doing writing-related tasks, but one day the older students offered welding lessons...

Posted On:
Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:33

I’ll tell you, I love movies. This is not to say I know much about them, because I don’t, but I love them, and I know when I’ve seen a great one.

I saw a great film last Thursday at the New Hampshire Film Festival. It’s called ‘Slingshot’ and was directed by FIRST Executive Advisory Board member, and Friend of FIRST, Paul Lazarus. Slingshot is about Dean, about his water purification device, and, in no small part, about FIRST.  This means, in a way, it’s about you. A vision of a better future? Impossible odds? Huge technical obstacles? Exhausting work...

Posted On:
Wed, 10/22/2014 - 14:56

Know a Rookie Team Needing Financial Support?

If you know of any rookies needing financial support – or if you are a rookie yourself! – FIRST can help.  Generous sponsors have made grants available exclusively for rookie teams participating in the 2015 season.  For more information on these grants, along with a link to the application, please visit:  and click on the “2015 Rookie Grant Applications are now...

Posted On:
Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:18

One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get to work with an FRC staff that is always coming up with great new ideas. Today we’re implementing one suggested by Collin Fultz, FRC Team Advocate. 

We’ve got lots of great mentors in FRC, with lots of great stories about how they got to where they are. Today, we start an occasional feature called ‘Mentor Mondays’, in which they will get to tell their stories. In the first few, we’ll be focusing on female mentors. Among other questions, we’ll be asking them about female student and mentor outreach, to help us better...

Posted On:
Fri, 10/17/2014 - 15:50

Today’s good question comes from Nick Lawrence, from FRC Team 3940, CyberTooth, out of Kokomo, Indiana, USA:


Hi Frank,

Nick Lawrence here, current mentor for FIRST Team 3940. I currently live in Niagara Falls, ON again, but I’ll be returning back to Kokomo just in time for kickoff.

Throughout the Aerial Assist season, a topic that was present in social media and Chief Delphi was of the quality of...

Posted On:
Fri, 10/17/2014 - 10:23

Please see the note below from Kathryn Myers in the FIRST Volunteer Resources Department regarding FRC Championship Volunteer Recruitment for 2015.

Hi everyone,

As everyone is aware by now, we are in need of many more FRC volunteers for the 2015 Championship because of the greater number of teams we’ll be hosting. In addition, to the Key Volunteer roles we will need to fill, such as Referee and Robot Inspector, we have many more volunteer positions available that could be filled by someone with no prior...

Posted On:
Thu, 10/16/2014 - 15:59

This blog post is from Kate Pilotte and her Kit of Parts colleagues.

I’ll start with a general introduction of what we mean when we talk about the “Kit of Parts” (KOP). The KOP is a term that’s evolved to mean “goods we obtain from companies on behalf of, and provide to, FRC Teams.” These items then get to you, our customers, via three different methods:

    1. the Kickoff Kit: items that we pack in totes (mostly in totes, there are typically exceptions for late or big items) and distributed to Teams at local Kickoff sites. There are two permutations of this – one...
Posted On:
Thu, 10/16/2014 - 10:48

Today's guest blog is by Mark Critz, Project Manager in the FIRST® Strategic Sourcing Department.

For teams who have purchased e-watt saver LED light bulbs, you may recognize my name as the e-watt Project Manager for the past 4 years. I still manage the e-watt fundraising program and now work in the newly re-named Strategic Sourcing department. Lately I’ve also been working on projects for FRC® and FTC® for the upcoming seasons. 

The e-watt saver program is now almost 4 years old. Google generously...

Posted On:
Wed, 10/15/2014 - 15:32

Behind the Lines

Episode 2: “Introduction from the 2015 Control System” will be broadcast live on Wednesday, October 15th at 8:00 PM (ET). This episode will feature experts from FRC Engineering, Cross the Road Electronics, National Instruments, and WPI.

For more information or to see recorded episodes of Behind the Lines, please visit


Posted On:
Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:55

While total FRC team registrations for the 2015 season have been coming along nicely, we are a little behind on our rookie teams compared to last year at this time, and we could use your help! Do you know of any rookie teams that need some help registering, or any potential teams that need some encouragement? How about reaching out to them to touch base? Sometimes just a positive word or two is all it takes, and you may end up being the key that opens a whole new world of possibilities to some very deserving students. 

If they have any questions about FRC at all, they...

Posted On:
Mon, 10/06/2014 - 14:19

2014 EKOCYCLE Cube 3D Printer Program

Last year, we were able to offer 3D Printers to FRC teams through FIRST Choice. This year, we’re excited to announce that FIRST is able to offer EKOCYCLE Cube 3D Printers to FRC and FTC teams thanks to the generosity of 3D Systems and Coca-Cola.

More details are available here. Applications are due October 19!

Behind the Lines

Introduction to the 2015 Control System

Wednesday, October...

Posted On:
Fri, 10/03/2014 - 10:13

Please see the update below on the Kit of Parts Drive System Option from the Kit of Parts team:

Given the positive reception the last two seasons, the option for Veteran FRC teams to opt out of receiving the 2015 Kit of Parts Drive System will be available again for 2015! Veteran teams can choose to receive a Product Donation Voucher (PDV) from AndyMark instead of the KOP Drive System at Kickoff.  Rookie teams will automatically receive the KOP Drive System.

The PDV will again be worth $450 and can be used on AndyMark parts. To accommodate orders and lead...

Posted On:
Wed, 10/01/2014 - 14:41

NASA Grants Closing

NASA Grant applications are closing tomorrow, October 2nd! NASA grants are only available for teams in the United States. Find more information here.  

Something New – The 2015 FRC Game

Wait. Isn’t the new game always, well, new? Yes, but that’s the point of this note. Every year we try to do a little something different. Sometimes a lot of something different. No one should look at any rules from prior years and think “They would...

Posted On:
Fri, 09/26/2014 - 16:04

Wow. It really is. Less than that now. 

Check out this video from FRC Team 2630, Thunderbolts, from Israel.

Nice work, guys!

Is it strange that this video gave me goose bumps?