Team 971 is looking for parents and adult volunteers who are willing to spend their time assisting with robot design, building, programming etcetera. Also needed are volunteers to supervise the team during work meetings throughout the year and especially during the intense 6-week build season when the team works very hard to get a robot ready for the competition.
One of the unique aspects of the FIRST high school robotics experience is the role of mentors on the team. Robotics mentors working directly with the students is an integral part of the FIRST robotics program. This is an aspect of FIRST robotics that sets it apart from other high school programs. Team 971 has found that students learn an enormous amount from working alongside mentors. 971 has mentors who help with mechanical design, fabrication, electrical, software, leadership, and other technical and non-technical areas. Mentors have fun working with students and also with other mentors. It is extremely rewarding to see how much students mature and grow from when they join the team as freshmen to when they graduate. Many of our students return to the team as mentors on their breaks from college and after they graduate.
In order to maintain a high level of safety in our lab, the team requires that there is an adult supervisor at every meeting who is dedicated to watching to make sure that students are observing safety rules and that tools are being used safely. Power tools should never be used alone and without an approved adult supervisor in the room. Sometimes at meetings there are many other mentors in attendance but these mentors are often focused on working with individual students and not on overall safety at the meeting. The responsible adult is focused on general safety. A list of responsibilities and guidelines for the Adult Supervisor can be found here.
There is no skill requirement for the adult supervisor except for a basic introduction to what to do in an emergency (where the power switches are) and familiarity with the supervision guidelines. Adult supervisors are required to become fingerprinted adults with the MVLA school district.
Team 971 is currently required to have all adult volunteers fingerprinted by our school district before they are allowed to help out. If you're interested in helping us out, the team has assembled comprehensive instructions on how to be fingerprinted.
In order to drive any student, other than your own child, to a robotics event you have to be a district approved driver. The good news is that once you are approved, you can drive students to and from any school event. Here are directions for completing the Volunteer Driver Application Process. Parent drivers do not need to be fingerprinted adults. For non MVHS parents to drive students, they first need to become a fingerprinted volunteer with the district.
For a team to run well, there are lots of organizational tasks that parents can help out with. Some areas that need organizing are travel (the team travels to several competitions a year), organizing carpools, outreach events, and providing meals and snacks during the build season. Team 971 also needs help making playing field pieces at the beginning of the season so that students can test out design ideas.
Making playing field pieces
If you are looking to volunteer at the competition or with the FIRST organization, check out the FIRST website.
Or you could volunteer to help another local team closer to where you live. Chances are they are looking for more help, anything from supervision to technical expertise. Most teams are looking for people to advise them with tasks from how to build the robot to supervision while they are working. The FIRST website also has information on teams in your area.