September 22, 2017

9.20.17 Team Eblast

Reminder that FTC event registration is handled at the local level (by FIRST in Michigan) and not by FIRST national. FTC teams do not see their confirmed events listed on the their Team Dashboard. 

Please refer to the 2017-2018 FiM FTC Event Process doc which includes 2017-18 season event dates and info on how event registration is done.

Participation in one qualifier is a requirement of all teams accepting FIRST FTC, FIRST in Michigan, MDE, and sponsor specific grants. Participation in a 2nd qualifier is optional but encouraged. Teams learn a ton at their first event and a 2nd qualifier provides the chance to put those lessons learned into play!

Home event pre-assignment has been postponed as many teams are stuck in the team registration process due to a FIRST systems issue. FIRST believes all problems will be resolved by today. I will be posting home event pre-assignments by Friday, Sept. 22nd.

Home event pre-assignments will be posted on the FIRST in Michigan Team List (first tab).

A new FTC qualifier venue is needed in the Detroit or near Detroit area. Univ. of Detroit Mercy had to withdraw as a venue due to a conflict with their athletics schedule. There is a date constraint as November 17-18 is our only open event weekend. Note that the Friday date (11/17) is event set up usually starting at 3:30pm. Send michiganftc@gmail a note if you know of a near Detroit area venue that could host!

Note on the Friday date for events: Many qualifying events provide a timeslot on Friday (in the 6-9pm range) so that teams can check-in/set up/get inspected. This Friday timeframe is optional but is a great way for teams to ease up the Saturday event day crunch. Hosts will share this info directly with the teams registered for their event.

FIRST in Michigan (FiM) runs a slightly different progression of programs than FIRST national. In Michigan, FTC is a middle school only program with teams comprised solely of MI middle school aged/grade team members. High school students can mentor the FTC team but cannot be team members. Teams must be properly aligned in order to be eligible for FiM FTC grants and to participate in FiM FTC events. 

Teams must also be affiliated with a school or youth enrichment type of 501c3 organization in order to be eligible for many grants such as the FiM FTC Rookie Team Grant, MI Dept. of Education (MDE) grant, and other sponsor-specific grants. 

Note that FTC team size is capped at 15 team members.

2017-2018 FiM FTC Progression Overview provides cross FiM program information. Starting a team in a program above/below creates a STEM pipeline where students flow naturally from one program to the next!

FIRST in Michigan Rookie/Veteran Team Grants:
FIRST in Michigan FTC grants are open for submission. This year there is a Veteran Team Grant as well as a Rookie Team Grant! FiM FTC grants are reimbursement style grants.

Please review the grant requirements and parameters.  The FiM FTC grant information and the link to apply (section IV) is available here: 2017-2018 FiM FTC Grants and Application Procedures

FiM FTC Rookie Team Grant: This grant works with the FIRST FTC national grant to cover a newly forming team's $275 season reg. fee and initial kit of parts cost. 

The intent of the FiM FTC Rookie Team grant is to provide one time funding to a school or youth enrichment 501c3 organization to establish a new middle school team (which includes a team number and Kit of Parts) that is then "owned" by the team's affiliated entity (school/501c3) for reuse year to year. Team members and coaches may move through the program but the team number/Kit of Parts stays with the affiliated entity. Work with your team's affiliated organization as to the usage terms of the Kit of Parts and the replacement policy on consumed/damaged/lost parts. 

Incremental Team clarification: For an incremental new team to be eligible for the FiM FTC rookie team grant, all the veteran teams from that same entity must be registered for the new season. This governance is in place to keep veterans from forming as rookies just to amass parts, which is not the sponsor's intent

General Motors, DTE Energy Foundation, General Motors, and Ford Motor Co. are the sponsors of this grant; please acknowledge their gift by including their logo on your team shirt/robot/pit display/wherever!

FiM FTC Veteran Team Grant: This grant provides $150 in funding towards the team's purchase of the new REV Robotics Expansion Hub. DTE Energy Foundation is the sponsor of this grant; please acknowledge their gift by including their logo on your team shirt/robot/pit display/wherever!

Note: Teams that were awarded the FTC Jump Start Grant in the spring of 2017 are not eligible for the FIRST In Michigan FTC Veteran Team grant as the team is already receiving grant funding from FIRST FTC national towards the new REV Robotics Expansion Hub.

Sponsor logos are available for download:

MDE FIRST Robotics State Grant:
This grant will open for submission on Sept. 26th and close on Nov. 7th. The MDE will send information regarding the grant to school/district leadership including Level 5's.. FIRST In Michigan will provide similar information to teams at all levels: FLL Jr/FLL/FTC/FRC. Visit for the RFP and sample spending plan. FAQs will be posted soon. 

Key MDE Grant Dates*
September 14, 2017 - Grant RFP is announced via eblast memo to districts
September 26, 2017 - Application is live in MEGS+
September 27, 2017 - Technical Assistance Webinar at 1 p.m.**
November 6, 2017 -    Applications due at 11:59pm in MEGS+
November 8, 2017 -    Grant applications reviews
December 20, 2017 -  Awards made via SAMS
*All dates subject to change at the discretion of the MDE.
**The webinar URL is and the audio dial-in phone number is 1-888-808-6929, access code 8105360.

Ford Motor Co. Employee Mentored Team Grant:
FIRST® teams (Jr.FLL/FLL/FTC/FRC) actively mentored by a Ford Motor Co. employee mentor can apply for a Ford FIRST Robotics team grant. The grant amount for FTC teams that meet the criteria is $300. FAQs on the grants.

Please note:
  • Only one person per team should apply.
  • If you are a returning team, you will need the email and password that you used during last year’s application process. If you have forgotten the password there is a link to have it reset.
  • Someone other than the Ford Motor Co. must submit the application.
Instructions for applying:
  1. The process is all on-line. Go to:
  2. Click on the link at the bottom of the page that either says, “Learn more about Ford support for FRC® program” or “Learn more about Ford support for Jr.FLL®, FLL® and FTC® programs.”
  3. Click “Submit your preliminary request for FIRST® FRC® team support” or “Submit your preliminary request for team support.”
  4. For those that submitted last year: At this page, click on “Already a user? > Login here”  Use the email and password that you used during last year’s application process.
  5. This will begin a short process in which you fill out the preliminary application.
The "Remit to" information for the grant check is captured under the "FIRST School" name/address areas of the form. Use the team's fiscal partner information (school or 501c3 organization) in these input areas. The school name/affiliated org. should be included in the "Affiliation" area. Grant checks cannot be made out to an individual.

PROGRAM INFORMATION: More docs to help you get rolling
FTC CurriculumThis free curriculum can  be used as a stand-alone course or as a supplement to areas where the team needs extra support. 
FiM FTC Blog: archived team eblasts from FIRST in Michigan

  • GOOGLE BLOCKS: FRC 503, Frog Force has been exploring the FTC google blocks programming platform. Blocks is a user friendly graphics based programming language that is a good stepping stone to Android Studio and text based Java programming.  It's a great option for rookie teams especially those transitioning from FLL to FTC. Frog Force has consolidated the links to the FIRST documents regarding Blocks on their website at They will also offer seminars in the near future to help teams get a "hop" on Blocks programming.
  • VETERANS: Remember that FTC team numbers 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 (2nd tab).
  • ROOKIES: Remember to start the registration process for your team through to the assignment of your temporary team number (2017xxxxx). Do not pay for anything at this point. Then, apply for the FIRST FTC national Team Grant. These grant funds can only be directly applied through the FTC Storefront. See linked "Grants and Application Procedures" below for a step-by-step process. Applying for this grant is a requirement of the FIRST in Michigan Rookie Team Grant.
  • TEAM SIZE: FTC team size is capped at 15. Multiple teams out of a given school/organization are welcome and can be eligible for all grants.
  • UPDATE TEAM CONTACTS. Remember to have "graduating" team contacts invite their replacements before moving programs. If I'm still a contact for your team from the 16-17 season, PLEASE invite a replacement! See the Team Registration doc linked below for the "who can invite whom" pecking order.