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Information for New Mentors

Mentor Registration - Contact Info

Use this form to submit your contact info. This will add you to the mentor email list and count towards the enrollment cap.

As a Mentor or Coach of a FIRST team, you are, through the kids, the key ingredient in the success of your team. Your contribution to the success of FIRST programs and ultimately to the success of FIRST is immeasurable.

WHS Robotics Mentors

  • The club should be fun and inspiring for students.  
  • The competition robot is student designed and student built.

Mentor Frequency

A common question regarding mentoring is the time commitment necessary.  The real answer is that there's a wide spectrum and we'll take whatever works for you.  Over-simplified choices are:

  • Year-round (primarily October to April)
  • Build Season 1 evening per week, 1/2 Saturday
  • Build Season <1 day per week

Build season starts the first Saturday in January and has six week duration.  There are additional pre-season needs for training / orientation and during Friday and Saturday of competition weekends.

The "<1 day per week" selection is intended to serve as a place-holder.  It keeps the mentor on the mentor email list but doesn't contribute to enrollment capping calculation.

Enrollment Capping

In order to provide a good experience for all involved, student enrollment is capped.  The desired registration* ratio is 1 mentor to 3 students.

  • 10 mentors = 30 students
  • 15 mentors = 45 students
  • 20 mentors = 60 students
  • etc.

*Assuming differences between typical mentor and average student commitment, the predicted effective ratio is 1:5 during build.

Students of mentors are guaranteed a place on the team.

FAQ: Mentor Time Commitment

Is mentoring primarily needed during build times?

The greatest mentoring gap is during build season.

Are mentors required to be at competitions?

Supervision of students is necessary but it isn't required to have all mentors attend competition.  About 30% coverage is adequate. 

Are all mentors required to be present on all Saturdays during the build weeks?

No.  The guideline of 1 day per week and half a Saturday could be thought of 6 hours per week or 12 hours per two weeks.  There's no time clock to punch.  Let us know what works for you as we get closer to Build.  

What about the competition over Spring Break?

No worries.  Do what works for your family.  Matches are streamed and recorded so the competition can still be watched. :)

Are kids expected to give up their Spring Break if they already have plans to be out of town??

No, do what works for your family.  If "lettering" is important, keep an eye out for other opportunities to earn points, like community events.


Five Types of Mentor Roles

Coach / Assistant Coach

  • Works with student leads
  • Year-round
  • Coordinates community events
  • Guides student sub-teams (tech and non-tech)
  • Provides guidance for other mentors.
  • Responsible for regular team communication

Business / Non-Technical:

These are often medium or long-term projects working with the same group of students.

Project Management

  • Provides an overview of project management concepts for team
  • Guides the team throughout the project life cycle

Awards/Scholarship/Alumni

  • Assist to educate students, Mentors and parents regarding scholarship/Alumni opportunities available to FIRST students
  • Disseminate information on how students can stay involved with FIRST after Graduation

Marketing

  • Provides a basic overview of Marketing concepts
  • Assists students with development and implementation of a Marketing Plan in coordination with the development of a Business Plan

Finance

  • Assist the team in preparing a Business Plan, financial planning/budget for the season
  • Organize and assists with fundraising efforts

Patronus:

The School, FIRST and Club have rules that require an adult to be present in certain situations.  The students generally know rules and safe procedures and the Patronus mentor is there to help students make good choices and fend off Dementors.

  • Oversees power tool usage for knowledgeable students.
  • Basic monitoring.
  • Food service.  Saturday buffet line.
  • Work-load is highly variable, may need to bring a book for slow times.
  • Receives instruction from Coach / Supermentor.

Supermentor

  • Experience mentoring FIRST
  • Works with student leads
  • Year-round
  • Coordinates community events
  • Guides student sub-teams (tech and non-tech)
  • Provides guidance for other mentors.

Technical:

These can be short or long-term tasks.  Durations vary from hours to weeks.  Tasks can be with the same group or revolving students.

Programming/Software Engineering

Assist and instruct team members with: 

  • Writing code to control robot in Java or LabVIEW
  • Writing Arduino code for small projects
  • Vision and object recognition
  • Revision control

Electrical Engineer

Assist and instruct team with design and wiring:

  • 12V power system
  • Signal system
  • Motors
  • Sensors

Mechanical Engineer

  • Provides assistance with design and construction of the robot
  • Advise students on the safe use of tools and safety procedures

Field Elements

  • Constructs mock field-elements for practice.
  • Primarily builds using wood.
  • Instructs usage of drills, saws, power tools

Process for Becoming WHS Robotics Mentor

  • Email Raj or Ashley with questions; add to mentor email list.
  • Or, respond to Form "Mentor Registration - Contact Information".
  • You'll receive an email from Kari (assistant to the WHS AD) with District 833 volunteer registration & background check form(s).
  • Where possible, WHS Robotics club will pay for volunteer background checks.
  • You'll receive an invitation to Register with TIMS (a FIRST registration system)
Raj Gandhi

Raj Gandhi

Lead Mentor

Ashley Kohls

Ashley Kohls

Alt Mentor