September 5, 2018

09.05 Team Eblast

Kickoff l Eblasts l Team Reg l Events l Grants l More
Happy FTC kickoff week! 

This Saturday, Sept, 8, is the official start to the FIRST Tech Challenge season. There will be kickoff events around the state designed to get new teams rolling, veterans rolling a little faster, and a great chance to network with our amazing FIRST community. A HUGE thank you to our kickoff event hosts for their support and dedication of our teams!
FIRST in Michigan FTC Kickoff Events (link). 

If your team hasn't receive its kit of parts yet or you're considering starting a team  - please attend! Reach out to your event host to see if you can pal around with a team for the day. Each of our kickoff events will include a "reveal" of the ROVER RUCKUS game which includes the playing of the game animation and a full official AndyMark ROVER RUCKUS playing field! The FIRST HQ FTC website will contain all game specific details at 12:00pm (noon) on Saturday:

ROVER RUCKUS game elements (FTC official perimeter and Soft Tile mats as well) can be ordered in full and half field sizes from AndyMark, an official FIRST vendor. There are full and half field options.There is a low cost perimeter option that teams can build. 

All FIRST in Michigan FTC team eblasts will come from this email address Other FIRST related eblasts are sent from FIRST HQ. If you're in a crunch, be sure to read the emails first! Eblasts are sent to a team's Lead Coach/Mentor 1 and 2 per FIRST protocol. Coaches will need to share information, as applicable, with team mentors, members, and families.

  • Registration instructions for Rookie Teams; follow the instructions (with screenshots) starting with Create a FIRST Account (if needed) up to Enter the Storefront. Do NOT pay for anything at this point! Your team should have a temporary team number which begins with “2018”.
  • Next step, is to apply for the FIRST FTC (national) rookie team grant (see below linked grant doc) and wait to receive an award decision BEFORE paying for anything.
Reminder that teams that complete their season registration by September 8, 2018 will have the opportunity to compete in two qualifiers in the 2018-19 regular season qualifier event structure. Placement in a specific event, other than the “Home” event initial placement, is not guaranteed and follows the usual event registration protocol. Team season registration is date/timestamped by FIRST HQ.  

Information on events (competitions) to date is linked below. FIRST in Michigan FTC Event Process (link) information on events (to date) and event registration process.  For FTC, event registration is done at the local level with FIRST in Michigan, and not through FIRST HQ. Teams will not see their confirmed events in their Team Dashboard.
We still need a qualifier event host in the Detroit/Dearborn area as well as another in Oakland County. Email with interest. The team event fee of $100 (per event) is made payable directly to the event host and is the basis of the event budget. Proceeds for concessions is 100% retained by the host.  

FTC Grants and Application Procedures for information on all available grants. Participation in an official FIRST in Michigan FTC qualifier or league tournament is a requirement of all grants.
Arconic Grant - Deadline Monday, Sept. 10
The Arconic grant is now OPEN and will close on Monday, Sept. 10th.  FTC teams within a 25 mile radius of an Arconic location (Farmington Hills or Whitehall) are eligible to apply for a $1,000 rookie team grant or $500 veteran team grant. For more information on grant requirements and application procedures: Arconic Grant,

MI Dept. of Education FIRST Robotics Granthe MDE FIRST Robotics State Grant is now open for application. The State set aside $3 million of a $3.5 million robotics grant JUST for FIRST teams! Please review this linked letter about the MDE FIRST Robotics State Grant for news and info on the grant, including key dates. Be sure to share it with your school administrators! 

Your district (or school, if not part of a district) cannot apply until your team is registered for the season, so please get registered right away.
  • Please remember that ALL of your FIRST teams, from FLL Jr through FRC, go on one single application
  • Be sure to wait until ALL of your teams are registered and included on the application before submitting.
Highlights for FTC teams:
  • Increased coach stipend to $1,500, cap of one per building.
  • Increased rookie team grant to $1,000; veteran team grant remains at $300
Ford Motor Co. Employee Mentored Team GrantFIRST teams (Jr.FLL/FLL/FTC/FRC) that have a Ford Motor Co. employee as an active team mentor can apply for a Ford FIRST Robotics team grant. The grant amount for FTC teams that meet the criteria is $300. It is anticipated that this grant will open in Sept. and will close in October. The application will be available on the Ford Motor Co. STEAM website: Please review the FAQs on the grant.

Another Funding OpportunityTeams where a coach/mentor is an educator - the  DonorsChoose program has a FIRST affiliation that has really paid for several of our MI FTC teams. News Corp. is in their 3rd and final year as a matching partner for FIRST projects submitted through DonorsChoose. Lately, they've been doing a 2X match on FIRST projects.

PTC is a FIRST Strategic Partner, that donates software and services (Creo, PTC Mathcad, Windchill and Vuforia) to all FIRST teams, PTC is interested in connecting to our FIRST in Michigain FTC teams that have used, or plan to use, PTC's Vuforia augmented reality software. This software is often used by teams to navigate robots in autonomous mode with the vision targets.

If your team has used or plans to use Vuforia software, please fill out this form: PTC Vuforia Usage Form. More info soon! 

FIRST in Michigan FTC would like to replace the "tote" driver stations used at our events. We are looking to our teams for inspiration! Guidelines: easy to make, minimal assembly after initial construction (or none), low material cost, able to withstand bouncing around our trailers from event to event.

Ideas, plans, and offers to build are welcome and can be emailed to Please put "Drivers Stations" in the subject line of the note.

Visit for an archive of all past team eblasts.