How can I find an FIRST® Robotics Competition team to join?
Washington State has around 100 FIRST® Robotics Competition teams each year. Teams are formed in schools, community organizations, and neighborhoods. They can be formed by any interested adult willing to facilitate the team logistics.
Within Washington, many FIRST® Robotics Competitions teams are formed through schools, so the first place to look for opportunities to join a team is with your child’s school. Generally, the school-based teams are open only to students attending that institution because interest often exceeds capacity. If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.
Other Washington teams are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Boys & Girls Clubs. Generally, this is only one of many activities that the organization facilitates for its members, but if your child is interested in one of these organizations overall, this might be an avenue to pursue in your local area.
The remaining teams in Washington are formed through homeschool groups, religious organizations or neighborhood groups of friends. While these groups are not specifically closed to other students, they do not usually engage in recruiting members.
Since finding an opportunity with an existing team may be difficult, many experienced coaches and parents advise families new to the program to start their own team. The benefits to your child and for those who have an opportunity to participate are well worth the effort. If you need additional resources or encouragement, contact us at FIRST® Washington.
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How old does my child need to be to join a FIRST® Robotics Competition team?
The FIRST® Robotics Competition program is designed for young people ages 14-18 and grades 9-12.
How do you join an existing FIRST® Robotics Competition team?
If your school or other organization has a FIRST® Robotics Competition team already, approach the coach to see if there is room for another student, and if the deadline has passed.
If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.
I can’t find an FIRST® Robotics Competition team near me. Can I start one?
Absolutely, the easiest way to join a FIRST® Robotics Competition program is to start your own team. Ask your principal if your school has a team; if not, encourage your principal to identify a teacher who would be willing to start a team with your help as a team volunteer. Please let your principal know that FIRST® is a collaborative partnership with private industry professionals and educators to inspire young people towards STEM.
If a school-based team is not a possibility, you may find another youth-focused organization that can help. Scouts, 4-H and other clubs may also support FIRST® teams.
How long is the FIRST® Robotics Competition season?
The new challenge is released to teams at kickoff in January, which starts the build season that runs through late February. Competition season starts late February and lasts through April, depending on how far your team advances.
As a parent of an older FIRST® participant, the students will register themselves to be on the team through the FIRST® Team Dashboard. The parents also need to create an account to complete the child’s registration. The short registration process will need to be done every year your child is a part of a FIRST® team.
We want to make it as simple as possible to excite the students about their futures, so all you need to do is complete the registration for your child. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to get more involved in their child’s team, but it is not required. If you would like to be involved, contact your child coach.
As a student participating in FIRST®, you will need to register as a member of your team on the FIRST® Team Dashboard. Your parents will also need to create an account to complete the registration process. This registration will need to be done every year you are a part of a FIRST® team.
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