At the highest level, you will need to accomplish a few things to get your team started. More details about these items appear a little later.
- Tell OregonFIRST you are interested in starting a team.
- Find out about new team grants and potential sponsors.
- You should talk about this idea with the principal of your school
- Have a simple plan for recruiting students.
- Seek mentors from your community
- Get parents interested in the program.
Letting us know you exist
As a good initial step, be sure you have contacted your FRC State Chairman or FRC Regional Committee (click here.) The FIRST volunteers on our regional committee are ready and willing to help you. Letting them know you are interested in starting a team will gain you access to resources and potential funding sources that you may not know about. Regional committees know about the local grants available to new teams.
An email address that we can reliably contact you on, and that you check on a regular basis, is critical. Unfortunately, many new coaches or mentors end up creating a special account at yahoo or gmail, then never get around to checking that email inbox. PLEASE, sign up with an email address you are likely to see on a daily basis. We do not spam you, sell your account info, or otherwise pester you with unrelated information. There are times when we get chances to apply for grants or present your team to potential funding sources on very short notice. For your benefit, we need to insure we are communicating with you in a timely manner.
Oregon FRC team leaders, mentors, and other interested parties should all join our mailing list (click here for details.). It is where we announce important information about our program. If you are a team advisor, coach, or mentor, you should absolutely join this group.
Grants and Sponsors
We have a number of sources for grants and sponsors who know about our program. We know that this program seems expensive to schools and students. The OregonFIRST volunteers are usually pretty good at helping track down funding with you. We have no funding of our own, but are developing a network of sponsors who may be able to help.
FIRST teams are usually self supporting. Fundraising and involvement with local businesses is how our program exists. It is part of the package. Rookie teams can usually find extra support for getting started, as it takes a season or so to get on your feet. We have rookie grants available. We also have special grants for Boeing employees who are mentors.
If you get turned down for a grant, don’t panic! Contact OregonFIRST, and we will attempt to help you find alternate funding. We have a pretty decent track record at getting teams started. It may require some fancy footwork on both of our parts, but we are pretty good at getting it done.