May 25, 2017

Welcome to the 2017-2018 FIRST Tech Challenge Season!

Thanks for your interest in forming a MI Middle School FTC team! In Michigan, we run a slightly different progression of programs from FIRST national. FIRST in Michigan (FiM) FTC is a middle school only program with teams comprised solely of MI middle school aged/grade team members. Teams must be properly aligned in order to be eligible for FiM FTC grants and to participate in FiM FTC events. 
VETERANS - remember that FTC team numbers (and the FTC Kit of Parts) are retained from year to year. Do not register your veteran team as a new team! Register with your veteran team number. Visit the MI FTC Team List for all 2016-17 team numbers.

GRANTS - see grant doc linked above for details. Participation in a FiM FTC qualifier in the 2017-2018 season is a requirement for all teams accepting grants. FTC team size is capped at 15. Multiple teams out of a given school/org. are encouraged and eligible for all grants.
  • FIRST FTC Team Grant - Rookies and Veterans
    • All teams should apply for this grant. Remember to WAIT on your team's award decision BEFORE completing any purchases on the FTC Storefront. FIRST national grants can only be directly applied via the FTC Storefront. 
    • Rookie teams - applying for this grant is a requirement of the FiM FTC Rookie Team Grant. 
    • This is a needs based, competitive grant which waives the $275 FIRST FTC registration fee for eligible rookie and veteran teams. For rookies, it additionally provides for $475 towards the team's Kit of Parts purchase through the FTC Storefront.
  • FIRST in Michigan FTC Rookie Team Grant - Rookies
    • The FIRST in Michigan FTC Rookie Team Grant works with the FIRST FTC national Team Grant to fully cover a newly forming MI middle school FTC team's FTC registration fee ($275) plus initial Kit of Parts cost (cap of $1300). 
    • Teams must be affiliated with a school or 501c3 type of organization (Scouts, 4-H, etc.). This helps to ensure that the team sustains and that the reusable Kit of Parts remains "in play" year to year as it is the property of the school/org.
    • Veteran team(s) affiliated with a given school/org. must register for the 2017-18 season BEFORE rookie team(s) forming out of the same school/org. can be eligible for the grant. Intent is to discourage existing teams from forming as rookies each season just to amass parts. The FTC KoP is reusable year to year.
  • MDE FIRST Robotics State Grant 
    • The MI Dept. of Education FIRST Robotics grant, part of the State Aid budget, is currently in the final stages of approval. This grant provides FIRST Teams that are aligned with the FIRST in Michigan progression of programs and are affiliated with publicly funded schools, charter and academies with grant funds (team grant/coach stipend amounts TBD; stipend limited to one per school). 
    • If approved, this grant will likely open for submissions in Sept.-Nov. Application is made at the district level. More info will follow.
    • Still pending, there could be grant funding available for private schools if the line item (99h) passes as currently drafted. Stay tuned!

2017-2018 SEASON KICKOFF.  FTC season kickoff will be on Sept. 9th which is when the new game FIRST Relic Recovery will be fully revealed. Save the date and look for details on our kickoff events (many with workshops) going on around the state. It's a great chance to network with area teams, pick up some new skills, hone some old ones, and see the season's game up close and personal!

Any questions, please email Tammy Damrath at Welcome aboard!