October 2, 2017

09.28 Team Eblast

Event Reg l Youth Team Member Reg l Open FTC Fields l Grants l Changes to match play l States l Reminders
Thanks to all for your patience. Between the FIRST team registration reporting issues and trying to find a replacement venue for a near Detroit area qualifier, home event pre-assignments haven't been able to move forward as scheduled.

Team reg. issues are resolved and I think we are close on a near Detroit venue option. Without the near Detroit event, the Dearborn event double books pushing teams to other events which then pushes teams out of those events and into other events and so on. 

If a near Detroit event doesn't firm up by Monday, I will move forward with home event pre-assignments without it. If it comes on board afterwards, I'll do a redistribution among the affected events.

2017-2018 FiM FTC Event Process: Event structure, list of the season's events, how to register for events, etc. All events have been posted to the FIRST national website.

The FIRST Youth Registration System (previously known as STIMS) soft launched on Monday, 9/25 and the system is now officially opened for use. An eblast will be sent out to teams with details on the process. Here is a summary of the new functionality. 
What is new?
  • Once logged in, parents and youth will have a dashboard that provides the status of registration and a calendar of events the team has signed up for.  Links to apply to awards for FIRST Robotics Competition are also available on the dashboard under the My Teams section.
  • The registration process has been simplified and uses a wizard much like team registration to move through the profile information, application to the team and signing the consent and release form.
  • Youth over 13 can complete the registration process up to the consent and release form.  At that time they are prompted to invite their parents to complete the form.  Parents have a simpler version of registration and once linked to their child, only need to sign the form.   
  • Coaches who invite youth over age 13 (only) to the team no longer need to accept the team member on the team as that is automatic.  They can still decline the team member at any point in time if needed (as well as accept those who are registered by their parent/guardian).  
  • The functionality of the team roster hasn’t changed (e.g., provides the status of the consent and release forms, re-invite parents, accept/decline youth)
  • A team with two screened Coaches will have the ability to print paper copies of the consent and release forms (Spanish or English) for parents without access to the internet.
  • Team members under the age of 13: Parents will need to register any team member who is under the age of 13. Basically, the same process as last year. The coach will invite the Parents to complete the process through the Parent Invite option on the Dashboard. The invitation email sent to the parent will have directions to complete the process.
Information on FTC open field access sites across the state is posted here: http://michiganftc.blogspot.com/2017/09/open-ftc-field-sites.html#more. These sites provide the opportunity for teams to test/practice/scrimmage on an official FIRST Relic Recovery set of game elements.

Majority of the open fields will be available to teams through the end of October until they are needed for use as official competition fields. If you have a field that you're willing to open up to teams, please send the information on days/times/sign up to michiganftc@gmail.com.

Thank you to our FTC field hosts for making this valuable resource available to our teams!

The MDE FIRST Robotics State grant is open for applications! Visit http://www.techplan.org/rdi/ for complete information on the application process as well as a comprehensive list of FAQs. This grant closes on November 6

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. Teams front the funds for the purchase then submit the grant form and proof of purchase documentation as part of the grant application process. Note that the person doing the submission on behalf of the team will need a google account (many school domains are part of google for education account). Any issues, email michiganftc@gmail.com.

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. Teams must be affiliated with a school or youth enrichment 501c3 in order to be eligible for FIRST in Michigan grants. Sponsor logos are available for download: http://www.firstinmichigan.org/ftc/downloads.php

FiM FTC Rookie Team Grant: This reimbursement-style 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 reimbursement-style grant provides $150 in funding towards the team's purchase of the new REV Robotics Expansion Hub (only). 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.

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. This grant closes at the end of September.
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: http://www.stem.ford.com/STEM/RoboticsOverview
  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.

Starting in the 2017-2018 season, there will no longer be a hard stop following the autonomous period to transition to the driver controlled period of the match. Once the autonomous portion of the match ends, the emcee/game announcer will tell the teams to pick up their driver station. As a visual cue, the scoring system will display to teams that they must pick up their driver station. Teams will only have 5 seconds to pick up their driver station, so they should make sure to pay close attention! After the 5 seconds, there will be a 3-2-1 countdown and the driver controlled period of the match will begin right away.

Visit the FIRST FTC blog for details on this change to match play including a video on the topic. 

Our FIRST in Michigan Head FTA and Head Referee will be sharing their recommended "best practices" to help teams adapt to this change. It will be important for teams to practice this transition and engage in some practice matches before competition time. 

FIRST in Michigan FTC State Championship will span two full days this year - Friday and Saturday. This change will support the addition of 24 more teams to the event totaling 96 teams in 2 divisions of 48 each. This expanded timeframe also will allow time for more match play. The venue will be Kellogg Arena in downtown Battle Creek.

Event fee will remain $125 per team. There are very affordable hotel options nearby like Fairway Villas (about 18 minutes away) which graciously open up to our teams (though it's off season for them). These two bedroom condos (2 double beds per room) include two bathrooms, living room, and a full kitchen for around $120. More information will be coming soon.

  • PROGRAM INFORMATION: More docs to help you get rolling: 
  • 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.
  • 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 http://www.frogforce503.com/page-ftc-resources.html. They will also offer seminars in the near future to help teams get a "hop" on Blocks programming.
  • 2017-2018 FiM FTC Progression Overview provides a broad overview of FIRST in Michigan programs, their positioning, program specific details, and available grants. Start a program above/below to create a STEM pipeline in your school or district!