Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ is for High School FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 1640 and 7th-12th Grades FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) FTC Team 7314
Also feel free to email us at FRC1640@gmail.com with any questions and browse our site using the Sidebar or Search Bar. Welcome!
When & where do you meet?
- Where? CCIU TCHS Brandywine Campus, 443 Boot Road, Downingtown PA.
- We have a metal/wood shop and field set-up area in our warehouse space and a full robotics classroom supplied by Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) Technical College High School Brandywine Campus. We share the building with our 7th grade thru high school FTC Team 7314.
- Check out our Calendar for specific meeting times. Generally, we meet every Wednesday of "Off Season" April-December (plus a few Saturday competitions) and virtually every day during "Build Season" January-February. March-April is competition season (2 or 3-day events, Thursday-Sunday), so meetings vary somewhere between Off Season and Build Season. We meet at other times as needed--or as we want to! We have an annual pool party, Pancake Breakfast, and other fun, not-necessarily-robotics events.
- My Commitment? - Student
- This is entirely your choice. Family, school, work, etc always come first - we'd love too see you when you're available. What you put in determines what you get out, so for students we recommend at least bi- or tri-weekly in the fall (summer entirely optional) and approximately 8 hours/week average during Build Season (2 weeknights or 1 weekend). This can be lower or concentrated in just a few weeks if you're interested in limited, specific field: disciplines like welding, electrical, scouting, spirit, and media have concentrated periods of higher activity (though some require certification training, and the teams are active throughout). All our student leaders commit 15-20hrs/week (and we love it!)
- My Commitment? - Mentor
- This is entirely your choice. Family, school, work, etc always come first - we'd love too see you when you're available. All we ask is that you explain your commitment upfront. We have limited-involvement roles that might only take a few hours a year (e.g. reviewing student work in your field of expertise, graphics, public speaking, etc). Non-lead, non-technical mentors might have few hundred hours/year (or more if you like) at various times. Overall technical mentors often commit bi-weekly during Off Season (April-Dec, summer optional) and 10+hr/week during Build Season (Jan-Feb). This ranges all the way up to full-time equivalent positions for top technical mentors. (Parents can also help in other ways!)
What would we do?
Who can join? (Student)
- School - Any
- While we are located in the Downingtown Area School District, we are open to all students of age including other public districts, charter schools, cyber schools and home schooling. You're welcome and encouraged to invite friends from your own school and any other!
- Age - 7th Grade through High School
- The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is for high school students. FIRST Technical Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7-12. We welcome home schooled and alternative education students not strictly classified by grade or school level.
- Gender - Everyone Welcome
- Males and females are encourage to participate and any and every aspect of the team. We are a co-ed team with both genders very involved in all fields and equally represented in leadership. Girls have always been involved in the technical (and non-technical) side of our team: 8 of our 13 team captains have been girls, our Pit Captains (think NASCAR pits) have been 50-50, 2 sub-teams (programming and game play) are headed by female mentors who help co-lead the design team. We DO NOT abide by sexism or harassment, which are grounds for immediate expulsion.
Who can join? (Adult)
All adults are welcome to help mentor the team on good behavior. We're looking for people with technical background/interest (all engineering, mechanics, electronics, computer science), but also all kinds of non-technical skills: marketing, logistics, art/media, teaching, administration, PR, and anything else. All we ask is that you offer your level of commitment and interest upfront. We have some mentors that work at every meeting all year round, others that drop in only when we need help in their expertise--and all levels of commitment in between.
What can parents do?
Whether or not you're interested in mentoring, we look to parents for support in numerous ways: transportation/carpool to and from meetings and events, providing team meals for weekend build sessions (we ask for at least 1 meal per family per season), volunteering for our events and fundraisers, and generally supporting your kids in this adventure! If you have a particular interest, idea or skill you'd like to share, please tell us.
What's this website?
- Why a Wiki?
- Collaboration! - all our members can update this site. Each sub-team puts up their own content, giving us a huge archive: over 385 pages, 4300 pictures and 420 documents and counting. Anyone can see much of our team's inner dialog: build work, strategy, punchlists, etc.