FIRST Team Support

Are you considering starting a team in your area?  Let us help! We have a team of experienced FIRST mentors and coaches that will guide you through the entire process, ensure that your team is well supported throughout the season, and guide you through to competitions! Our goal is to ensure you have an exciting first year and are able to build the sustainable infrastructure you need to return year after year.

What does it cost?

Our services will cost you nothing! Port City Robotics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, supported by local and like-minded companies and individuals with share our passion for igniting the imaginations and fostering excitement in the next generation.

The cost for starting and operating a FIRST team varies between programs. Depending on how you would like to handle the cost, most teams fund their activities through some combination of dues, community fundraising, sponsorships, and grants. First year teams also have the support of FIRST, FIRST North Carolina, and several well known organizations such as NASA who offer registration grants to select rookie FRC teams.

What do we offer?

Port City Robotics offers a variety of support services to your team. These services can be mixed and matched to your liking to help fill any gaps you may have.  Our services include:

  • Consultation

    • We will answer any questions you may have about the FIRST system and discuss strategies to overcome any challenges you may be experiencing.

  • Technical Support

    • We have experience with the hardware and software used throughout the FIRST experience from Lego Mindstorms, to App Inventor, to National Instruments’ LabView. Our mentors are active and retired industry professionals with extensive backgrounds in mechanical, electrical, and software engineering.

  • Digital Services

    • FIRST is “more than robots.”  That is, there is far more to the experience of FIRST than just building competitive robots. Just like any amatuer or professional sports franchise, teams will need to create a marketable image for their team including a unique name, logo, and brand identity. This identity is extremely useful not only to distinguish and recognize teams around the world, but to creating something that sponsors and the public can identify with.

    • We offer the tools and experience to make this happen for your team. While we prefer to engage students and mentor them through their own design process, we recognize that not all teams have access to such resources. We are happy to assist at any level.

      • Website Hosting & Design

      • Domain Name Registration

      • Custom Email, document storage, calendar, etc via Google Apps for Non-Profits.

      • Logo Creation

      • Flyers, Business Cards, and Banner creation

      • Shirts/Uniform design and creation

      • 2D/3D CAD design

      • 3D Printing

      • and more…

  • Administrative Services

    • While school based teams usually have a well-established process for managing students, obtaining requisite permissions, documenting events, and coordinating and executing travel, most community teams do not have these policies and proceedures in place.

    • We can help you with managing and coordinating your team by provinging tools and resources for team registration/recruitment, activity permission forms, release forms, student behavioral agreements, and more.

    • We can also help you manage your FIRST account and ensure that all pre-requisites have been completed prior to competition.

  • Rules and 3rd Party Services

    • In order to create a healthy competitive environment, each level of FIRST has a set of rules that evolve each year. These rules determine what is and is not allowed in all aspects of competition including robot design, systems behavior, personal behavior, and more. We can help ensure your team and robot is in compliance prior to competition.

    • There are some important 3rd party services surrounding the FIRST organization.  The primary example of that is the vendor AndyMark.  AndyMark will be your source for materials for your robot as well as the competitive playing field (if you wish to build your own). While you can certainly use other vendors, AndyMark’s products are guarenteed to be compliant with the robot rules and are the official source for parts.

    • FIRST Choice — AndyMark also hosts the FIRST Choice event which is a free service that comes as part of your team registration. In this event, just before and just after FRC kickoff, you will have the opportunity to enter a lottery for free robot parts. We can help you understand this system and make appropriate parts selection as well as understand what the various choices are.