We Need YOU!

FIRST Robotics success does not happen without the support of parent and community mentors. This article explains the various ways you can be involved!

Our organization utilizes volunteers in several ways:

  • Team Mentors are assigned directly to work with student teams. They keep the teams on track throughout the season.
  • Specialist Mentors focus on helping multiple teams in a special skill area, (i.e. Marketing, Fundraising, Coding, etc).
  • Supervisor Mentors help us keep the Robotics Lab open so that teams can work at the school as much as needed.

How to Sign up as a Mentor

In order to participate in PCHS Robotics in any of these roles, mentors must take the following steps:

  • Review the FTC Mentor Manual HERE.
  • Communicate the desire to become a mentor to club leadership (in person, by phone, or email or via email)
    Sheri: 281 831 7042 sprucka @ prucka.com, Matt: 281 830 7109, mwp @ prucka.com
  • Once approved for the position by club leadership, register with FIRST as a volunteer and complete all necessary steps, including the background check required for the YPP (Youth Protection Program).
  • Take the Safesport Training course at safesport.org (You need the Safesport Trained option, which is the last course on the page. If you have taken the Safesport class for another sport, you can use the certificate from that training. This course will take approxmimately 90 minutes to complete. If you are charged $20 to take the course, we will gladly reimburse you. You will be asked to upload the certificate when you register using the Mentor Registration Form.)
  • Register using the PCHS Robotics Mentor Registration form.

Team Mentor Expectations

Not sure if you are qualified? Don't worry. FIRST says:

A Mentor…
  • Requires no special skills, but should have patience, dedication, and a willingness to learn alongside the team.
  • Is any person who works with the team in their area of expertise, for as little as one team meeting or as many as all of them.
  • Helps provide valuable support and serves as a resource in their own area of specialty.
  • Directs the process the team follows to solve the yearly game challenge, without providing the solution themselves.
  • Is a coach, teacher, motivator, and facilitator.

Each team needs one or more mentors to help them stay on track for the season.

Team mentors are expected to do the following:
  • Meet with your team at least once per week.
  • Meet with club leadership as needed (once every 2-3 weeks, in person or by video conference.
  • Keep your team on schedule as they design, build, and program their robots.
  • Provide direct mentoring to your team in your areas of expertise.
  • Schedule your team to work with Specialist Mentors as needed to keep things moving.
  • Assist the team with planning any outreach, fundraising work, etc.
  • Keep the experience light and fun!

Specialist Mentor Expectations

Specialist Mentors bring their expertise to multiple teams. Specialist roles allow you to share your knowledge and help lift the performance of many teams within the club. Specialists enjoy increased schedule flexibility over Team Mentors.

Often, specialists can meet with two teams at once, increasing efficiency and effectiveness at the same time. The schedule needed for your specialty will vary based on where we are in the FTC Season.

Remember that as teams become more experienced, their goals in various specialty areas will change. A third-year team may look at outreach in a completely different way than a rookie team.

Specialist Mentors are expected to do the following:
  • Work with club leadership and teams to schedule meetings with teams as appropriate in that specialty.
  • Meet with club leadership from time to time to maximize effectiveness in the specialty area.
  • Help teams understand scheduling related to your area of specialty.
  • Guide teams to achieve their goals in your area of specialty.
  • Keep the experience light and fun!
Specialist Areas for this year

While we've always had specialists helping our students, this is the first year that we have clarifield these roles to a high degree. This year we are identifying Specialists in the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Judging
  • Notebook
  • Outreach
  • Connect
  • Funding/Business
  • Hardware/Design
  • Software Design/Coding

Please let us know if you'd like to provide specialist mentoring in one of these areas!

Supervisory Mentor Expectations

Have a little time and want to hang out with the students in a fun environment? We often need Supervisory mentors to help us keep the club space open as much as possible. There is no specific time committment with this one, but you do have to register in the same way as the other mentor positions, registering with FIRST and completing the SAFESPORT requirement, then registering with the club. Details found above.

Supervisory Mentors are expected to do the following:
  • Work with club leadership to establish the times you will be supervising the club spaces.
  • Ensure that students adhere to club requirements regarding use of space and materials.
  • As needed, provide students with mentoring in your areas of expertise.
  • Ensure that students are safe and help them connect with other mentors as needed.

Remember: The teams belong to the students - as adults we support them!

FTC Summary