It’s way more than building robots. FIRST Tech Challenge teams (10+ members, grades 7-12) are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to play a floor game in an alliance format. Participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have!” Guided by adult Coaches and Mentors, students develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles (like keeping an engineering notebook), while realizing the value of hard work, innovation, and sharing ideas.

Teams also must raise funds, design and market their team brand, and do community outreach for which they can win awards. Participants have access to tens of millions of dollars in college scholarships. Each season concludes with regional Championships and an exciting FIRST Championship

Most Northern California Qualifier tournaments have 16 teams and are planned to last approximately 10 hours on a Saturday or Sunday.  The Northern California Regional Championship is usually a nearly 2 day competition with judging and robot inspection on day 1 and game play on day 2.

2016-2017 Challenge

Why volunteer?

  • Make a difference in the lives of young people
  • Help kids discover the fun in science and technology
  • Help young people apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Network with like-minded professionals
  • Help celebrate science and technology

What roles are needed most?

  • Planning Committee – Work as part of a team for planning a tournament. Contact us if interested!
  • Host a Lunch & Learn at your workplace – Learn more about the FIRST programs and ways to be involved!  Interest form

And these key tournament roles:

  • Technical Judge – Interviews the teams about their robot including mechanical, control systems, programming and game strategy.  Watches game play. Collaborates with other judges to assign awards to teams. Help hand out awards and High 5’s.
  • Non-Technical Judge – Interviews the teams about their teamwork, outreach, documentation (notebook) and overall team structure. Collaborates with other judges to assign awards to teams. Help hand out awards and High 5’s.
  • Judge Advisor – Facilitates the overall judging process.
  • Game Referee / Head Referee – Responsible for reading and enforcing the game rules and scoring each match. Works as a team under the direction of the Head Referee.
  • Master of Ceremony / Emcee – Sets the tone of the event and is responsible for the Welcome and Closing ceremonies.
  • Game Announcer – Working with the Emcee, the game announcer helps with team introductions, game play commentary and reporting scores.
  • Field Technical Advisor (FTA) / Control Systems Advisor (CSA) – The FTA concentrates on the Technical issues (Robots, Field Control System, Scoring Software, etc.) on/near the playing field whereas the CSA assists Teams with Robot Control System related issues. Both positions generally are filled by highly technical volunteers that are willing to learn the FTC robot control system, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi direct networking and FTC-specific PC software applications.
  • Photographer – Takes pictures of each team and helps to capture the overall event.

Detailed list of tournament roles 

When & Where are the Northern California FTC Tournaments?

For the 2016-2017 season, we are planning 16 to 22 qualifiers between November and February throughout Northern California.  The NorCal Regional Championship will likely be February 18/19,2017.

2017-2018 NorCal FTC Tournament List

Be notified by email about local FIRST volunteer opportunities

Want more info / Available to help with planning?

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