What is an FRC Team?
In the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) program, high school students work in teams (small "companies") with adult mentors to design, build and program robots from a standard set of parts in a set timeframe to meet a common challenge. Like in the real world, the successful company/team will employ a diverse group of talented people: effective managers plus energetic workers who can follow a chain of command, receive delegated responsibilities, and deliver the required results. The FRC project is more than the not-so-simple task of designing and building a robot. It involves such diverse aspects as financing the project, coordinating logistics, arranging press coverage for the team, and documenting the impact the team has made in the community.
What is the usual schedule for the year?
Pre-Season: September-December:School starts and we invite interested members to begin attending meetings. We welcome them with an informational dinner where families and new members learn about being on the team. Also, we use this time to try new concepts and ideas that you don’t have time for in Build Season. Workshops are held to teach about the tech areas: mechanical, programming and design.
Kickoff: First Saturday in January:Kickoff is the day when the “game” is revealed to everyone around the country. A few team members go up to New Hampshire at the main kick off to see the actual playing field while the rest of the team attends a local kick off. The kit of parts is received and we meet up and start brainstorming on strategy and robot design.
Build Season: January and February:Build season is a six week period of time where we build the entire robot from the ground up. Each subteam works simultaneously on different aspects on the robot. Also, other groups such as the Game and Spirit teams work on other aspects of the team. During build season we meet at least three days a week, our meetings extending through dinner and lunch time when families rotate providing meals for the team. At the close of build season we ship the robot off in a large crate to be held in storage until competition.
Pre-Competition: February and March:Now without the robot, the non-technical sub teams are focused on areas such as spirit, game strategy, and drive team. Costumes are finalized and created, scrapbooks are made with all the pictures taken throughout the year to show to the judges, and the drive team prepares by driving another robot or using a human player and giving them directions. In addition, the pit is designed and all the banners and decorations are made.
Competition: April:Regionals are split into three days. On Thursday teams make finishing touches to their robots before they pass inspection. Then, practice matches are held for drivers to get accustomed to the actual field. On day two, qualifying matches occur where you compete in three team alliances to try to score points for your alliance. On day three, qualifiers take up half the day. After lunch, the top ten teams pick their alliance partners. If your team is chosen then you compete and try to make it to the championship, otherwise you watch and celebrate your triumphs!
Post-Competition: May-August:After finishing the previous year’s competition, we cut back meetings and focus on recruiting new members and planing fundraising events.
Do I need experience to join?
No, everything you need to know, we can teach you. Being one of Athena's Warriors is about learning, and while we use building a robot as our main way to do so, you don't have to know anything about robotics coming into it. None of our veteran members had prior experience but now we are a well established team.