Online Help Desk

Start an FRC Team (Ages 14 to 18)

What is FRC?

The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Teams build robots from the parts and compete in games designed by Dean Kamen, Dr. Woodie Flowers, and a committee of engineers and other professionals.

FIRST redefines winning for these students by rewarding teams for excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, gracious professionalism and maturity, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Scoring the most points is a secondary goal. Winning means building partnerships that last.

What is Involved?

You’ll need professional engineers, adult mentors, high school aged students, sponsorship, a meeting place, access to tools and free time during the build and competition season.  Specifics and a season over view are available in the How to Start a Team Flyer.

Season Overview

The official FRC season starts with event registration in the fall, proceeds from the Kickoff in early January through the six-week robot design and build period, and continues to the robot shipment deadline in late February.  The Regional events occur late February through early April, culminating at the FIRST Championship, which will be held in St. Louis from 2011 through 2013.  In the 2015 season there were 56 Qualifying events. Canadian event information is available via the Upcoming Events link found in grey menu bar at the top of each web page.

What is the structure of an FRC team?

There is no typical or FIRST mandated team structure.  FIRST does require each team to assign adults to the official team roles of Main, Alternate and Shipping Contact – other than that, you are free to structure your team as best suits you! Most teams comprise 25 students (there is no maximum) and can be made up of one or more high schools or youth organization(s). We also have home-schooled teams that compete.  More information about team structure is available in the FRC Team Handbook.

Cost to Participate

For a sample team budget, please see Appendix A of the FRC Handbook below.

Ready to get your team going?

Step One:

Get in touch with the Executive Director

The Regional Director and/or Senior Mentor know the teams, schools and businesses in your area.  He/she can help you form a plan for getting your team funded, organized, and in touch with other teams in the area for mentoring assistance.

Step Two:

Register your information on-line in our Team Information Management System

By registering your information, you will become a part of the FRC Community and begin receiving communications from FIRST.  You will also receive a temporary team number in preparation of event registration in the fall.  Please note that completing this stage of the process does not commit you to becoming a team.  You are only considered a registered team after your team has selected an event (during the fall registration period). You may withdraw and receive a refund any time up until you take delivery of your kit of parts.

Step Three:

Read the following key FIRST documents:

  • Starting an FRC Team Outline – outlines what you need to get started and lists resources to help you on your way
  • FRC Handbook – How to guide your team through the season.  Includes tips on recruiting, team organization and sample team budgets
  • FIRST Mentoring Guide – We’ve compiled some tips on how to be a great resource for your team

Step Four:

Familiarize yourself with these Community Resources:

  • Guide to Starting a FIRST Team – American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) – provides a brief overview of what it means to lead an FRC team
  • Team RUSH Toolkit – FRC Team 27 created a toolkit for new FRC Teams
  • Team in a Box – FRC Team 341 created a how-to DVD for new FRC teams
  • Chief Delphi – FRC Team 47′s website, an informal gathering site for FRC team members
  • Non-Engineering Mentor Organization (NEMO) – a “support group and information exchange” for non-engineers
  • Rural Team Resources – FRC Team 103 established an online network to assist rural teams
  • Simbotics Resources – FRC Team 1114 has created a series of workshops known as the Textbook for Success, as well as a comprehensive tutorial on how to build an FRC drivetrain. Also available as an iOS app.
  • Community-Based Teams Best Practices – A number of FRC teams have collaborated to put together a document highlighting some of the best practices for teams with a community-based structure to help teams

For more resources visit the Team Resources section.

FIRST Robotics Canada provides direct support for Canadian teams. If you have any questions regarding the process of starting a new team, please feel free to contact us.

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