Do I have to live in Anchorage in order to be part of the team?
Nope! You can actually join our team from anywhere in Alaska! We are working with some innovative models for remote team participation. IE: virtual online labs, video conferencing, communication using shared online documents, and potentially, sponsorship from local airlines to help bring us together for at least 1 build weekend.
When does the season kick off?
Technically speaking, the official FRC game is revealed the first week in January, and the team only gets a 6-week build season, followed by a 6 week competition season (or longer if we make it to worlds!). However, we utilize pre-season to begin meeting as a team to lay the foundation for the season and get a jump start on robot and team development. We hold some meetings in the summer, and then begin adding more meetings in the fall.
Can I participate in sports and robotics?
Yes, we've had other team members remain involved in sports at the same time and successfully balance the two activities. We tend to hold frequent enough meetings at different enough times, you should be able to find at least some meetings to make it to. Not all team members need to attend all meetings. There are also many roles that you can help with by working on projects independently in between meetings.
Can I be on an FTC and an FRC team at the same time?
Yes, you can. We have had several team members who were on both types of robotics teams. However, it is definitely a time management issue, as the seasons overlap a bit (especially if your FTC team does well and advances to State or Worlds). Our advice would be to give it a try and just stay in tune with yourself, your stress levels, your grades, and personal life to make sure the balance remains healthy.
Do I have to travel to competitions?
No! Traveling with the team to competitions is totally optional. In fact, many of our team members choose not to travel with the team, but still attend meetings and contribute a lot during the season. We understand that travel and the competitive energy of a tournament is not for everyone, or that you may have travel conflicts. With that said, no team member should feel as if they cannot attend due to financial issues--we can help get those costs covered.
Who pays for travel?
Currently, each team member must pay for their own travel expenses. We seek out discounts and sponsorships whenever possible to keep the costs low. We collaborate on costs such as hotel rooms, rental cars, and group airfare rates.
When and where does the team compete?
Since Alaska has no other FRC teams, our team competes in the Pacific Northwest District. We schedule ourselves for 2 back-to-back tournaments in the Portland/Seattle area during the the Anchorage School District's spring break to reduce the amount of school missed. If we qualify for Districts, we may have another opportunity in to compete a 3rd time in the Seattle area. If we advance to Worlds, we would be traveling to Houston, TX in late April.
Do I have to be mechanically inclined to join the team?
Not at all! If you are interested in the more technical aspects of the robot (designing, building, wiring, programming) but have no experience, no problem! We'll train you in! If you are not very interested in the technical aspects, that's totally ok, as well. We have a ton of team roles that are more creative or business like. We always need people to help with photography, video, website design, social media, pit and costume design, business plan, fundraising and sponsorship, travel logistics, etc. Really, there's a place on the team for everyone!