September 5, 2017

9.5.17 Team Eblast

9.5.17 Team Eblast
FIRST in Michigan Rookie/Veteran Team Grants:
FIRST in Michigan FTC grants are open for submission. Please review the grant requirements and parameters especially those relating to team composition (middle school only), team affiliation (school or youth enrichment 501c3), and incremental teams at a given school/organization. Grant information and the link to apply is available here: 2017-2018 FiM FTC Grants and Application Procedures

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. The MDE FIRST Robotics State grant further solidifies the relationship between team and school. 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

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.

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. 

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.

Instructions for applying for returning teams:
  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. 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.
Instructions for applying for new teams:
  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. At this page, begin to 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.

Check out this amazing resource for FIRST FTC teams developed by a brilliant and dedicated crew of Michigan FIRST alumni, volunteers, and team members.  INTRODUCING....The Orange Alliance Orange Alliance is a public website and API for teams across the world to access information on other teams, events, and more. Thank you to the development team for their continued support of FIRST FTC teams!

Scheduled Software Release
There is a scheduled release of the new FIRST Tech Challenge software, for Wednesday, September 6th.  The new release will include usability and reliability improvements for the 2017-2018 season.  Features include a new "OnBot Java" programming tool that lets teams program using Java without the need for Android Studio.  The new software will also have some enhanced Vuforia features.  Note that teams are not required to upgrade to the newest software.  Updated software will be available from Google Play and on the public GitHub Repository (

Online Document for Android Control System
FIRST Tech Challenge now has an online, "evergreen" document for the FIRST Tech Challenge Android control system.  This online document is a centralized repository with up-to-date information about configuring, using, and troubleshooting the FIRST Tech Challenge Android control system.  The community can access the documentation at the following address :

  • SEASON REGISTRATION: Teams that complete their season registration before September 9, 2017 will be guaranteed two qualifier event spots in the 2017-18 regular season event structure. The FIRST reg. system date/time stamps all registrations. Participation in one is mandatory for all teams accepting FIRST, FIRST in Michigan, MDE, Sponsor specific grants. Playing in a 2nd event is optional but gives a team a chance to apply all they've learned at their first event (plus it's fun!).
  • TEAM AFFILIATION AND ALIGNMENT: Registered teams should check their team affiliation as listed on the MI FTC Team List (tab 1). It is key for teams that will be submitting for the MI Dept. of Education (MDE) FIRST Robotics State grant to reflect their school affiliation. Teams must be properly aligned to the FIRST in Michigan (FiM) progression, i.e. teams comprised solely of middle school grade/age team members, in order to be eligible for FiM FTC/MDE/sponsor specific grants and to participate in FiM FTC events.
  • SEASON QUALIFIERS: Season qualifiers are shaping up but still in a bit of flux. A preliminary list as well as how event registration works in Michigan is linked: MI FTC Event Process. Note that as FIRST FTC event registration is handled at the local level, a team's Dashboard will not include the team's registered events. 
  • JAVA WORKSHOPS: Save the dates! Two Java programming sessions will be offered on September 12 and 19 from 7-9pm at Kettering University. These will respectively cover intermediate and more advanced Java concepts. These courses will augment the beginner Java programming sessions which are offered as part of the Kettering FTC Kickoff event. Details and sign up info will be shared with teams as it's made available.  Java Workshop Info
  • 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.
  • PAY IT FORWARD (or backward!): If your team members are all moving to FRC this season (Kudos - you've done an AWESOME job!), remember to pass your FTC knowledge and FTC kit of parts on to the next generation of your FTC team. Coming from FLL? Do the same! Help make the STEM pipeline in your community strong!! Per the FIRST FTC Rookie Team Grant - the team's affiliated school/organization is the "owner" of the team number and FTC Kit of Parts as their purchase was made possible by the grant's funds.