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Hello Teams!

ZTE Phones

ZTE phones are available (while quantities last) through the Pitsco website:

FIRST in Michigan Consent/Release Form
Reminder to teams that the FIRST in Michigan-specific Consent/Release form (hard copy) should be used IN ADDITION to the FIRST national Consent/Release form. This means every participant must have two signed forms:

FIRST's C/R (either signed electronically OR download and sign the paper version and turned in at the event)

FIRST in Michigan C/R (not available to sign electronically so must download & sign the paper version and turned in at the event)

Teams must provide Consent/Release forms and a roster at every event where they participate.


Teams have been eblasted by FIRST FTC national about aggressive beacon play and how it will be ruled at events. A reminder as follows:
“Aggressive contact that causes significant flexing of the walls or moves/dislodges a Beacon will be considered field damage and penalized according to <G15> in our Game Manual Part 2. Teams should expect to receive warnings and may receive Major Penalties and a Yellow Card for excessive or chronic aggressive Beacon contact”. Teams using the "beacon bash" approach are advised to seek a better design mechanism when interacting with the beacons.

Safety Glasses
Reminder to all that safety glasses are REQUIRED and must be worn at all times in the competition field area and in the pits. The safety glasses available for borrowing at pit admin are intended for visitors only, not for teams, and the supply is very limited. There aren't enough for team usage. Per section 4.5 of Game Manual 1:4.5 Eye Protection and Safety: FIRST requires all Teams to bring and supply ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses for their members, mentors and guests for each Competition.

A note about Gracious Professionalism

Teams are expected to behave in a gracious and professional manner at events. This goes for team coaches and mentors as well. Just in the way that positive behavior, that exemplifies the values of FIRST, reflects positively on a team; negative behavior will reflect negatively on a team. Judges are informed by event volunteers when stellar behavior and actions are noted - but they are also informed when poor behavior and actions are noted. The true test of gracious professionalism is when things aren't going well - coaches and mentors are asked to monitor team behavior and to set a good example for their team members and model appropriate behavior at all times.

Team Names
Multiple teams from the same school/organization ("Sister Teams") are asked to have a unique Team Name for each of their teams. "Sister" teams with the same team name make it difficult to distinguish between the teams at the event. If your sister teams all have the same Team Name (i.e. RoboBuilders), please consider adding a numeral or other unique identifier to the team name (i.e. RoboBuilders 1 or RobotBuilders Blue) to make it unique.

All teams - please let your event host know your team name, especially if it has changed recently.

Judging Clarifications
There have been questions recently about rules regarding sister teams that build identical robots and have identical engineering books:

Per the FIRST FTC, there is no rule prohibiting teams from having identical robots or engineering books. In judging - if affiliated teams have identical robots and/or engineering books and are in consideration for a judged award where those items are key elements to the decision process,
judges will try to discern (as time allows) how the
"twinning" teams produced these deliverables
. If it cannot be determined which team "owns" the deliverables, then both teams could be removed from consideration for the awards where the those deliverables are a key element.

Note that this is for judged awards where robot/engineering books are requirements and has nothing to do with the robot game.

Per the rules set forth by FIRST FTC, a judging panel may only bestow a core award to one team at the event. There cannot be two winners of a particular core award.

Also, sister teams should not combine for judging sessions and team members should not represent more than one team at a given event. In this case, the judges would not be able to view the teams as distinct entities for judging purposes.


Our FIRST in Michigan FTC week 4 Velocity Vortex competition season takes us to the Allendale, Coloma, Howell, and Kettering (Flint) FTC Qualifiers! Thank you to our hosts for their hard work in making these events possible! And, thank you to our event volunteers who dedicate their time in support of our teams!

Reminder to teams that because FTC event sign up/administration is done at the local level, and not on through the FIRST national, teams will not see their confirmed events on their FIRST dashboard. Visit the MI FTC Team List for posted event confirmations. MI FTC Team List.

WELCOME NEW TEAMS! If you're new to the program and will be competing in a spring competition (no date/venue yet), please visit one of our regular season events! And, since you'll be on site, why not volunteer! It's a great way to experience the program from the "inside" and see it in action. Sign up is via the FIRST Volunteer Information Management System (VIMS). LInks to season events and VIMS are under "Event Preparation" below.

EVENT PARTICIPATION: A team's presence is expected at the events where they've been confirmed. A late withdrawal from a confirmed event causes issues (planning and financial) for the host and reflects negatively on the team. As competition is a requirement of teams accepting FIRST, FIRST in Michigan, MDE, and/or sponsor specific grants; withdrawing from an event could impact grant awards. Our hosts dedicate a lot of time and effort towards producing the best event experience possible for your team - please respect their efforts and be there to thank them in person! Remember, feeling "not ready" is usual - group support is available at the event!

Some events offer Friday load-in/early inspections. This is a great way to ease the Saturday morning "crunch". Note that event set up occurs on Friday late afternoon through evening so it's possible that the event will look "not ready" when teams arrive on site on Friday. Help is always appreciated!

FTC events start early on Saturday with teams needing to pass Robot/Field Inspections and cycle through their assigned judging timeslot within the 7:30-10am timeframe (est.). It's advised for teams to be on site Saturday right when doors open. Check the agenda of your specific event for the roll out of the day.


Information on your event: Agendas, event specific info, results can be found on the FIRST in Michigan website page for your event: The Event Information page for each event will provide specifics on parking, load-in, lunch options, and remitting the $100 event fee (payable to the host). Receipts for the event fee can be requested from the host.

The event host only communicates with the Lead Coach/Mentor 1 and 2 for each team. Please share event specific information with your team members and their families.

Teams are expected to provide one volunteer (whole day) at events where they participate. Note that it doesn't have to be a team mentor - ask a parent, relative, friend! It's fun and they get a volunteer shirt, game pin, luncheon, and applause! Volunteer sign up is through the FIRST Volunteer Information Management System: VIMS.

A few tips on ensuring a good event experience and a well behaved robot:

Event Information for Teams; what to expect at an event

Robot Reliability Checklist: Great doc!

Robot Inspection Checklist Robots must pass both a hardware and field inspection before playing in matches. Inspections are generally between 8-10am the morning of the event.

Keep all batteries charged! Majority of robot issues at events have been traced back to a low TETRIX batttery or low phone batteries. Bring extra batteries and chargers to your events.

Good wire management: Robots encounter many bumps and jiggles at events (rolling over balls, climbing ramps, other robots, etc.) which can loosen wire connections and cause communication issues. Secure all connections between phones/modules/batteries, strain relieve wires where needed, and no loose dangling wires (zip ties!) Visit the FTC Robot Wiring Guide for wiring best practices.

Preparing for Competition

Know the rules! Read Game Manual 1 and 2 - knowledge is power!
Consent/Release Forms and Team Rosters: MANDATORY FOR EVERY EVENT

1. Consent and Release forms are mandatory for every participating team member at events: All team members must turn in a paper FIRST in Michigan Consent/Release form.
Age 12 or older - Log in to website and click on the "Complete Youth Team Member Registration" button on the Dashboard to navigate to the Youth Team Member Registration. If you are a new user, you may create an account by clicking the "Sign Up" link on the top-right corner of our website; Youth Team Registration Guide (pdf with screenshots). This process will enable the parent/guardian of the team member to electronically sign the FIRST national C/R form. Note that these team members will additionally need a signed paper-copy of the FIRST in Michigan Consent/Release form
Under the age of 12 - These students are NOT able to apply to a team in STIMS as the lower age limit is set to 12. Parents/guardians of any students under 12 must complete the paper-copy of the FIRST national Consent and Release form AND a paper-copy of the FIRST in Michigan Consent and Release form. Please follow the process described on the Youth Team Member Registration site page of the FIRST FTC website. Parents/guardians turn the form in to their student’s coach, who will turn in the team’s roster and a paper-copy of the FIRST in Michigan Consent and Release forms at the event. Paper forms must be turned in at each event where that student participates.
Link to paper registration form and FIRST national Consent/Release form:

2. Team Roster: Team coach must turn in one roster at check-in for EVERY event. The roster can be in one of 3 formats (see below). Note that team size is capped at 15
STIMS produced roster - for teams comprised of students who are all 12 or older. Print out a team roster via the Team Information Management System. Example of a STIMS produced Team Roster.

Team produced roster - for teams comprised of students who are all younger than 13. Coach must also turn in the completed paper-copy Consent and Release forms for all of the students. Downloadable Team Roster Template.

Hybrid - Coach writes-in the names of any students, who are younger than 12, on the STIMS produced roster. Coach must also turn in the completed paper-copy Consent and Release forms for the students younger than 12.

Descriptions of all FTC Awards. Visit your event's "Event Information" website page at to see if an optional award (Compass Award, Promote Award) will be offered and it's requirements for submission. The Engineering Book is a key deliverable for a team and is a required component for consideration of many awards. Please make sure your Engineering Book is clearly marked with your team number on the front/back/spine/etc.

FTC Control Award: This is a Core Award for FTC. The Control Award celebrates a team that uses sensors and software to enhance the robot’s functionality on the field. Note that a team MUST APPLY for the Control Award in order to be considered for the award. Team's applying should fill out the Control Award Content Sheet, located in Game Manual Part I, Appendix 3 and linked below. And, the team's Engineering Notebook must include an Engineering Section that documents the control components.

The Control Award Content Sheet should be turned in (along with the team's Engineering Book) at the team's morning Judging session.

Control Award Instructions
Control Award Content Sheet

Advancement to FIRST in Michigan FTC States
Each of our qualifiers advance a set number of teams to the MI FTC State Championship (12/17 in Battle Creek). See the 2016-2017 Event Process doc for the estimated number of advancing teams per event. Visit Game Manual 1 Section 4.8 for FIRST FTC mandated advancement criteria and guidelines. Note the FiM FTC opts out of optional "Qualifier Host Team" advancement spot.

The Robot Shop is a service FIRST in Michigan provides at events to help triage robots in need. An assortment of parts, modules, spare batteries, phones, etc. will be on site. Some parts can only be borrowed for use at the event (batteries, chargers, phones) while others can only be purchased (modules, wires, etc.). Stock is as available. The event's Control System Advisor (CSA) must approve a team's request for phones or modules. Payment is by cash or check, made out to FIRST in Michigan. Teams borrowing items will be asked to "sign them out" for return at the end of the event. Items not returned at the end of the event will be considered purchased and the team will be invoiced. The Robot Shop will be located at Pit Admin.

Go Teams!
Tammy Damrath
FIRST in Michigan FTC

Just a few days until the event, so here are some reminders.


- 2 consent and release forms are required to be turned in for every student.
- FIRST - Electronic or Paper
- FIRST in Michigan - Paper Only
- New rosters for every event are required.
  -  students must complete a consent and release form for each team.
- Reminder - Aggressive beacon play will be penalized.


- Make sure your required volunteer has logged into to VIMS and signed up for the event.
- Every team is strongly encouraged to register on Friday and pass inspections.
- Venue opens to teams:
   - 6:30 PM on Friday
   - 7:00 AM on Saturday
- The judging schedule will be posted at 7:00 am on Saturday and 
  Judging begins at 7:30 am. 
-  Please make sure your team is in line for judging 20 minutes before their scheduled time.

I look forward the exciting competition, with some wonderful teams.