TORC Handbook

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The Oxford RoboCats (TORC) Handbook

Information/Team Rules for Students, Parents, Mentors & Volunteers


Congratulations on becoming a member of The Oxford Robocats: TORC Team 2137.

We think you will find your experience very rewarding and enjoyable. This guide is intended to give you and your parent/guardian an understanding of the program and your responsibilities. In the following pages you will find information relating to team history, selection process, team rules, team guidelines, and organization at events, travel and many other aspects of our team.

You are encouraged to share this manual with your parents, and keep it handy for future reference.

Please review all the information very carefully. If you have any questions about this document please do not hesitate to ask. Also be aware that information may change as we progress through the season, so please make sure you keep yourself informed by checking emails, reading the website and attending meetings.

See the website for additional team information, photos, video, and links to FIRST websites.

Phil Kimmel (TORC Teacher Advisor)

Eric Schimmel (Main Contact)


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)

FIRST was founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST is a 501 (c) (3) not-for‐profit, public charity based in Manchester, N.H. FIRST is volunteer‐driven and built on partnerships with individuals, businesses, educational institutions, and government. Some of the world’s most respected companies provide funding, mentorship time, talent, and equipment to make FIRST’s mission a reality. Visit the website at There are various levels within FIRST including Junior FLL (First Lego League for children aged six to nine), FLL (First Lego League for children grades 4-8), FTC (First Tech Challenge), and FRC (First Robotics Competition).

FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition)

TORC participates in the FIRST robotics competition. Each year FRC unveils a new challenge at Kickoff in January. High school aged students work with professional mentors to solve the engineering design problem in just six weeks, and then join other teams in alliances to play the game at competition events where they are judged on design, innovation, and performance. The program is a life‐changing, career‐molding experience and it’s a lot of fun.

FIM – FIRST in Michigan

Visit the website at

Formed in 2009 on a trial basis with the goal to:

– increase number of competitions and rounds that teams compete in

– increase awareness by having teams compete locally

– decrease amount of time students miss class

– build number of Michigan teams in all FIRST programs

Gracious Professionalism

The FIRST organization is based on the principles of teamwork and the concept of gracious professionalism. Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term “Gracious Professionalism.” Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended. In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.

Team 2137 – TORC (The Oxford RoboCats)


TORC seeks to engage members through maximum student involvement

  • The majority of team decisions are made by students
  • TORC seeks all members’ input regardless of experience to allow the team to grow as a whole
  • Strategy, robot design and build and team projects are also predominantly student implemented

Our mentors (engineers, teachers and family members) are guided by an “eyes in, hands out” approach to build self-confident leaders

  • Our adult mentors select student captains who will lead various groups within the team org chart
  • The mentors and student captains ensure adherence to timelines, engineering processes and facilitate group meetings
  • The student captains mentor assistant captains in order to ensure leadership sustainability

The team is driven to ensure that members gain long term benefits from their experiences ranging from technical to soft skills

    • Our team offers various forms of training to enrich each student’s skill set
    • Through hands on experience, we build innovators and problem solvers as students gain knowledge in the areas required for the construction of a robot

Students are also given exposure to the communication skills required to secure scholarships, attain sponsorships, and spread the message of FIRST

  • Members receive guidance concerning resumes, scholarship applications, interviewing skills and public speaking.
  • Additionally, by creating our team newsletter IMPACT, PowerPoint presentations, team brochures and videos, students develop written, media and oral presentation skills

TORC exceeds being strictly robot focused by engaging with the community and serving as a role model

  • We interact with younger students, sponsors, charities and businesses by building relationships
  • TORC reaches out to schools by working with kindergarten through eighth grade students offering robot demonstrations, workshops and engineering classes
  • Another way TORC engages with the community is through volunteer service

TORC embraces competitors by displaying gracious professionalism

  • TORC is more than willing to foster the growth of other teams
  • Competition is what leads to advancements and allows for individuals’ ingenuity to be challenged and strengthened
  • TORC assists in the formation and growth of rookie and veteran teams

Mission Statement

Use the education, programs and opportunities provided through Oxford Community Schools and FIRST to impact OCS (students, teachers, administration), the community (citizens, businesses, organizations, government), and sponsors (local, county, state, foreign) in a manner that inspires greater respect for and an interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math, while developing team members (students, mentors) as innovators, problem solvers and leaders.

Team Motto

We Build… More Than Robots

Click here to see TORC Accomplishments and Scholarship Award or go to:

Overview of the Season:

  • The Team Calendar is from September 1-August 31. Members are expected to take part in a variety of events throughout the year.
  • Starting in October, generally meeting on Tuesday or Thursday nights will be TORC meetings in the Engineering Wing OHS at 7:00p.m.
  • FRC Season Kickoff is in January each year. It is the first Saturday after New Years. This is when the new game for the season is revealed worldwide. The majority of the team will meet at Oxford High School, while a small group travels to a nearby location to retrieve the team’s Kit of Parts and secure supplies to begin building field elements for the game.
  • Robot Build season is the period of January to mid February. This is the time frame that FIRST allows for teams to design and build their robot.
  • During the 6 weeks of build season the team meets:

-Monday -Thursday 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (or later if necessary). -Monday meetings are reserved for mentors and the student captains for the purpose of planning the Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday meetings.
-Saturdays: hours to be determined by the mentors, but usually 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but often later, with meals prepared and donated by parent volunteers.

  • TORC will participate in a minimum of two Michigan District competitions held from Thursday evening through Saturday evening, typically starting in March and running for six weeks. Students will miss 1 day of school (for each event) if they attend a district competition (school related excused absence). Team members will need cash to purchase lunch at concessions each day. They may be required to pay for lodging depending upon the location of the event.
  • The top teams (# varies) that qualify, after District competitions, go to the Michigan State Championship, typically the second week of April. Students will miss 2 days of school if they attend the Michigan State Championships (school related excused absence). Team members typically are required to pay for lodging and meal expenses. However, we attempt to stay in hotels with a free breakfast and we have historically provided team lunches for two of the three days at the state competition.
  • The top teams (# varies) from the state of Michigan, based on ranking points from the competition season, qualify for the FRC World Championship in late April. Students will miss 3 days of school if they attend the World Championships (school related excused absence). Team members will be required to pay for lodging and meal expenses. There are also tourist opportunities with minimal charges. Charter bus fees may also apply.
  • Team attendance at the Michigan State Championship and the World Championship events are generally decided if funding is available and if the team elects to participate.
  • No student will be excluded due to financial hardship. Please contact the teacher sponsor or main contact to make arrangements for your student.

Role of Teacher Advisor

Mr. Kimmel is the TORC Teacher Advisor whose responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Student recruitment
  • Liaison between TORC and High School administration
  • Liaison between TORC and school district
  • Informing school administration of team members’ absences due to competition
  • To establish links with high school classes
  • Liaison for proper execution of banking
  • Ensuring the district code of conduct is followed by all team members
  • Recognizing team members at school events

Mentor Board


  • Work together to ensure all ideas are considered, evaluated and jointly decided upon and supported
  • Allocate finances and approve major purchases
  • Interview and select Student Captains
  • Appoint Lead Mentors and mentor board members
  • Ensure a mentor board make-up that includes familiarity of TORC history and processes
  • Set Team Direction
  • Mediate conflict/discipline

Board Seats

  • The Mentor Board is made up of seven (7) representatives from Communications & Logistics and Robot Design & Build to ensure that all team interests are considered
  • Because FIRST is about more than just robots, the board only seats three robot lead mentors (Fabrication, Mechanical (CAD), and Programming/Electrical)
  • The remaining seats are filled by any of the following: teams main contact (logistics), the teacher sponsor (drive team), the team treasurer (sponsorship), and/or team media (communications)

Adult Mentors and Volunteers

A Mentor Lead is a mentor board appointed adult who is willing to take a leadership or co-leadership role of a sub-team or committee.
A Mentor works with students at OHS on a regular basis (4-5x/month). A mentor is an adult (18 years or older and at least one full year post high school). A mentor is also one who offers knowledge/guidance in any area and who assists student members in getting the most from their experience in TORC. A mentor does not have to be an engineer.
A Volunteer may work with students or simply assist the team mentors but both are only occasionally on various tasks. A volunteer can be a student (under 18 years) or an adult (18 years or older). A volunteer is also one who offers knowledge/guidance in any area and who assists student members in getting the most from their experience in TORC. A volunteer does not have to be an engineer.

Registering to become a Mentor or Volunteer

  • Mentors must complete the TORC mentor forms and register with FIRST. These forms/links can be found at
  • Mentors are encouraged to read the FIRST Mentoring Guide available at the FIRST website (www.usfirstorg). In addition, Mentors must read Youth Protection Program (YPP) document on the FIRST website and participate in the FIRST Youth Protection Program (YPP) training provided by TORC. The Oxford Community School Background Check Form must be completed and turned into the team communications Lead Mentor at least one week prior to the January FIRST Game Release date for that season in which they will mentor.
  • Volunteers (Adults only) who will be working with students, must complete the TORC volunteer forms found at, TORC, Membership Documents, Parents/Guardians only. In addition, Volunteers are encouraged to read the Youth Protection Program (YPP) document on the FIRST website (www.usfirstorg). The Oxford Community School Background Check Form must be completed and turned into the team communications Lead Mentor at least one week prior to volunteering.

Expectations of Adult Mentors and Volunteers

  • Inspire students in science and technology
  • Motivating and engaging students in meaningful activities in the designing, building, marketing, and operating of the robot.
  • Creating an atmosphere of open communications where students feel free to think independently, voice their opinions, and take risks as long as they do not impose a safety hazard.
  • Be active listeners and they are expected to make sure that everyone understands what is being said or what is being decided.
  • Making sure that students are completing tasks on time. This includes providing a timeline for activities and trusting students to complete tasks while holding them accountable for their assignments.
  • Creating an atmosphere of trust and respect. Mentors are expected to show trust and respect to every student while fostering the same trust and respect in themselves.
  • Making sure that a safe environment is maintained and safety procedures are being followed. If there is an unsafe condition, mentors must step in and restore safety to the situation.
  • Be positive examples to the students. This includes refraining from the use of profane or offensive language, avoiding inappropriate conversation/jokes/innuendo, as well as following safety procedures such as wearing safety glasses and using power equipment properly.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook at all times.
  • Facilitate instruction and have students do as much of the work as possible. They are to teach, coach, and observe students while remaining ready to step in as needed.
  • Only step in to perform the work if it is beyond the capabilities of the students. However students should be there to observe and learn if possible. Mentors can also be used as extra help if the project is behind schedule.
  • Remain alert to vulnerable situations that they could be placed in. They are not to transport students in their own vehicles without written parental permission. They are not to be alone with only one student in a vehicle or in a hotel room during team travel.
  • Don’t manipulate or attempt to sway students to support a personal preference but rather provide the group as a whole with pertinent data.
  • Put the team’s goals over personal goals. Once a team decision is made, support it whole heartedly even if personal preference is a different way.
  • Adherence to the FIRST Youth Protection Program guidelines
  • Failure to follow the listed expectations can result in removal from the team.

TORC Varsity Letter

It will be possible for TORC team members to earn a Varsity Letter through a combination of team participation, attendance at robot build, fundraising and community events, maintaining academic standards and following all student code of conduct rules.

Varsity Letter Requirements for FIRST Team 2137, TORC Robotics

An Oxford High School Competitive Activities Varsity Letter can be earned in Robotics. The letter recognizes the student for their Teamwork, Excellence, Achievement, Commitment and Honor (TEACH). Varsity letter students work together to excel, achieve goals through commitment and represent their organization honorably. As a Varsity letter robotics student, teamwork is crucial to achieving team goals and the time commitment required is large. The student is expected to represent TORC and Oxford High School honorably at all team functions.

Students who meet the following requirements will be awarded the Varsity Letter.

  • Two “complete years” of “active participation” on FIRST Team 2137, TORC.  A “complete year” is defined as the time frame from September to the beginning of May. “Active Participation” includes productive contribution at meetings, participating in Team 2137 FIRST Support activities, attending community service events and assisting in fundraising.
  • A first year team member who is a senior is eligible for the Varsity letter if they meet all the requirements. (This means that they must join the team in September and they must fulfill all the required participation activities noted hereafter.)
  • GPA: minimum of 2.0 (Because participation in Oxford High School competitive teams requires the student to maintain a minimum GPA, the requirement extends to the Varsity letter. Students are encouraged to seek help from fellow team members and mentors if you are struggling with a course. Team meetings are a good time to receive this assistance. The teacher mentor will be in charge of keeping abreast of student GPA. If the student has an IEP which accommodates the GPA, the Teacher Sponsor will address it.)
  •  Adherence to the Oxford School District Code of Conduct and FIRST Team 2137 TORC student handbook.
  •  Attendance: Students must attend 65% of the total team meetings from September – May (“complete year”).  Dual activity students are students who participate in two school activities during same time frame, ie. sports, band, choir, etc. These students will need to let the Team Coordinator know that they are a dual activity student. The student must email or submit to the Team Coordinator a copy of their practice/game or performance schedule prior to missing any TORC meetings. We will accommodate absences due to a game or performance. The student will need to balance absences due to practices/meetings between the two activities. Since most activities hold practice/meetings immediately after school and TORC meetings do not begin until 6:30pm, it is suggested that you make every effort to attend the portion of the TORC meeting that remains after your second activity practice has ended.
  • FIRST Support Activities: Students must participate in 25% of team activities that support FIRST and our efforts to spread the message of FIRST. These often occur outside the Sept.-May time frame because build season is focused on building the robot. Examples of activities that fall into this category: Volunteering time with our elementary Lego League teams and/or our middle school FTC team; Volunteering at FLL competitions or FRC competitions; Presenting FIRST and TORC to elementary/middle schools and to current/potential sponsors; representing the team at freshmen orientation and middle school recruitment; sponsor appreciation BBQ
  • Community Outreach: Students must participate in 25% of the team community outreach opportunities. These often occur outside the Sept.-May time frame because build season is focused on building the robot.(This can include an activity that two or more Team 2137 members attend wearing the team t-shirt and speaking to others about Team 2137 and FIRST.)
    Examples of activities that fall into this category: Girlfriends Walk, Team displays at community events like Backyards & Burgers or Celebrate Oxford, marathons, etc. Students are encouraged to research and present the team with opportunities to support/serve others.)
  • Fundraising: Students must participate in 25% of the team fundraising opportunities. These often occur outside the Sept.-May time frame because build season is focused on building the robot. (Fundraising is extremely important because robotics requires approximately $50,000/yr to fully fund team activities, competition fees, travel expenses, robot parts and tools/equipment. Although we have sponsors who donate funds, they expect us to also make efforts to raise funds. Examples of prior fundraisers: Achatz Pies, Dippin Dots, DQ coupon books, scrapbooking marathon, FIRST light bulbs, cotton candy, can drives, charity poker, Bass Pro gift wrapping, etc. For events that require a volunteer to be 21, credit will be awarded for the student when an adult works on their behalf.)


  • The student will have a form or card (physical or electronic) to record their participation for fulfilling the requirements.
    It will be the student’s responsibility to record their attendance at team meetings and have that verified by a mentor signature/initials. (Failure to do so will result in an absence. Students will not be allowed to have a mentor sign off on attendance the day following a meeting. The goal is to develop responsibility in the student and to keep meetings focused on activities for that day.)
  • It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure that the mentor supervising a fundraising, community outreach or FIRST support event verify their participation. (Because the student record will not travel to events, the student will need to record the event in their record and have one of the supervising mentors for that event, validate the student’s participation by signing/initialing the record. This will need to be done at a team meeting and within one week of the event.)
  • Students may not record and/or receive signatures/initials for another student. (Again, the goal is to develop responsibility in each student.)
    Activities completed by the student in May-August will count toward the following season’s requirements. (Varsity letters will be awarded in early June, therefore, the requirements must be met by the end of April for that season in order to allow time for recording to tabulated.)
  • If a first year student shows exemplary attendance at the four categories listed above and makes outstanding contributions to the team and displays strong leadership among their peers, they may be eligible for recommendation to the building principal for the Varsity Letter.

Order of pins/letters earned:

  • Each year before the student earns the Varsity Letter, they will receive the pin for that season’s game.
  • Once a minimum of two complete years have passed, the student will be awarded the Varsity Letter, if the requirements have been met.
  • The 1st year after earning the Varsity Letter, the student will receive the TORC pin.
  • The 2nd year after earning the varsity letter, the student will receive a chevron.
  • Revision Approved by Principal Todd Dunckley (w/Central Office support) Spring 2012

TORC Member Expectations

Expectations of a team member are important to ensure that the goals and objectives of the team are accomplished with quality and efficiency.

  • Members must maintain academic eligibility as per school policy. Members will remember that academics come first. If you need assistance with assignments please let Mr. Kimmel know.
  • Members must wear their TORC T-Shirts identifying the sponsors to all events. Each student will be provided two team competition shirts at the team’s expense. Any additional shirts, team spirit wear, or family orders will be the student’s responsibility and must be prepaid.
  • When the team participates in community service events, members are expected to contribute their time.
  • Members must participate in (not just attend) 65% of the total available participation opportunities throughout the year, including, but not limited to: building, off-season events, fundraising, competitions, community promotion, sponsor events.
  • Members must maintain and monitor an active student AND parent/guardian email account. Please provide your email address to the team coordinator for the database records. Students are expected to check email a minimum of two times per week and respond (when called for) in a timely manner.
  • Members must sign up for the team Remind 101. This is how we communicate short notice changes and send important reminders. It is a text to your phone but you can’t respond to the text.
  • Members will abide by the Oxford Community Schools Student Code of Conduct and Extra-curricular Activities Code of Conduct at all times. Please make yourself familiar with this document located at District/About our District/publications. Please be aware that this expectation will be enforced in the school building and while representing the team and school at competitions and other events outside the school.

Transportation – Typically, transportation is provided by mentors and parents as a carpool. It is very important that students communicate early their need for a ride. Students that do not respond, in a timely manner, stating they need a ride to activities must make their own arrangements. The week of the event is not timely.

Members will demonstrate appropriate behavior at all times in school and at FIRST events, including but not limited to :

  • Consistent demonstration of good judgment
  •  Respectful behavior to colleagues in TORC, other teams and officials, using positive behavior and language
  • Ability to commit to and follow through on a project
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member
  • Honesty and integrity
  • No public displays of affection
  • Teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect will take priority during meetings and competition. Personal relationships should not impact the success of our team
  • Theft from teammates, mentors or other FIRST teams and their members is prohibited
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco products, or any illegal drug is prohibited while on OHS property and/or while traveling with TORC in vehicles or at hotels and at competitions
  •  Profanity is prohibited

The mentors reserve the right to discipline a team member as necessary for the safety of the student and the overall good of the team. Any infractions that are considered serious (safety, drug/alcohol, physical altercation, theft, sexual misconduct, or repeated disrespect of authority, etc.) will be forwarded to the teacher sponsor and high school administration for discipline and the Extra-curricular Activities Code of Conduct will be utilized for discipline as it relates to TORC. The student’s parents will be informed if this occurs.

  • Members are required to actively participate in team fundraising. Without sufficient funds the team cannot build a robot or enter competitions. Funds raised at a team fundraising event are contributed to the operational expenses of the team.
  • Members are required to actively participate in Community Outreach. Activities where two or more Team 2137 members attend wearing the team t-shirt and are speaking to others about Team 2137 and FIRST. (Examples of activities that fall into this category: Girlfriends Walk, Team displays at community events like Backyards & Burgers or Celebrate Oxford, marathons, etc. Students are encouraged to research and present the team with opportunities to support/serve others.)
  • Members are required to actively participate in First Support Activities Students are expected to participate in activities that support FIRST and our efforts to spread the message of FIRST. (Examples of activities that fall into this category: Volunteering time with our elementary Lego League Teams and/or our middle school FTC Team; Volunteering at FLL competitions or FRC competitions; Presenting FIRST and TORC to elementary/middles schools and to current/potential sponsors; representing the team at freshman orientation and middle school recruitment; sponsor appreciation BBQ.)


In order to run any successful business or team, a high level of safety must be observed, practiced, and maintained. The following rules are designed to ensure the safety of students, mentors, and any visitors to the Engineering Wing where TORC is based.
1. Safety glasses must be worn at all times in the machine shop of the Engineering Wing and while working on the robot and its components, and in the pits at competition.
2. Horseplay will not be allowed at anytime.
3. Members will be trained and certified by a mentor before using machinery independently. Student visitors may not use machinery.
4. All equipment will be handled with extreme care and caution
5. Work areas will be kept neat and orderly.
6. Appropriate footwear with fully enclosed shoes (no sandals or flip flops) must be worn in the Engineering Wing and at competition.
7. Hair will be tied back while operating any equipment or standing near equipment that is in operation.
8. No loose clothing is to be worn while operating equipment or standing near equipment that is in operation.
9. No food or drink in the machine shop area of the Engineering Wing or near any computers.
10. Because we work in a classroom, equipment, tools and supplies must be put away every night and work areas must be left clean.

Emergency Contact Information

Students must have a current and complete emergency contact form on file with the team (filled out and submitted through the team website). This form must contain accurate information and be updated as the need arises. This information will be taken with the team to all events so that parents can be contacted in an emergency involving their child.

Students taking any medication while we are traveling need to make arrangements with a mentor as per school policy. Please inform mentors if you take any medication while you are at a team meeting, function or event.

In the event you become ill while at an event, transportation will be at the parents/guardians’ expense using the first available transportation.
It is important that you do not travel with the team if you are already ill prior to departure.

Policy on Injury

Although we make every effort to provide the safest environment for the member, the potential risk for injury is always there.

When an injury occurs that requires medical assistance, the mentor or designated adult is to accompany the team member to the physician’s office or hospital. Mentors are to notify the parent/guardian as soon as possible of a suspected injury and then notify school administration.

The Oxford Area Community Schools will not assume responsibility or liability relative to doctor or hospital expenses. Robotics is a voluntary program in which the students may participate if they desire, but they do so at their own risk of injury. The mentors’ or Oxford Community Schools names should not be used on any medical forms where medical expenses are involved.

Additional Reasons to Become Involved In the Robotics Program:

College & Career Opportunities

The Oxford Robocats FIRST program is an excellent way to explore the careers of engineering, communications, creative design, marketing and many other technical areas. During this program students will be exposed to many principles of engineering, marketing, and various mentoring skills of professionals. We recognize the possibility that not all students will go on to careers in engineering. It is our goal, however, to expose all the students to technological careers including but not limited to engineering.

FIRST offers over 20 million dollars in scholarship opportunities to team members annually. While many of the scholarships are designed for those seeking degrees in engineering, math and science, there are many that are available for any area of study.

The FIRST web site ( has a complete listing and additional information.

Roles that students and parents can participate in as members

Strategy/Design – At Kick-Off in January, brainstorming and developing the game strategies and functional specifications for the robot begins as an entire team. The team will then make mock parts for proof of concept. All members will be responsible for following FIRST rules as to parts, design specifications and game rules. Designated individuals may be responsible for communicating rule updates issued by FIRST.

Mechanical Group – Responsible for prototyping, assembly, testing, and repair of the robot.

Includes the following:

  • Drive train, including drive motors, gears and wheels
  • Pneumatics including compressor and cylinders
  • Any special devices unique to the game, such as ball gathering or stacking equipment
  • Monitor the weight and center of gravity of the robot, paying attention to the weight of all materials used by each group
  • Responsible for pneumatic equipment, including storage tanks, valves, and tubing.
  • Responsible for designing and building the appendage, including motors, cylinders and any other devices that are unique to the current year’s game.

CAD Group – Responsible for designing the robot on the computer. Using the prototypes, they generate CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings for the fabrication group to manufacture parts which the mechanical team will use for the completed robot. Includes the following:

  • Design drive train
  • Design sub-systems (pick-up, shooter, hanger, etc._
  • Provide fabrication group with drawings
  • Create changes in CAD as the mechanical group needs them
  • Maintain the teams designs on the computer

Fabrication Group- Responsible for manufacturing customized parts for the robot using machine shop and its equipment.

Includes the following:

  • Welding
  • Lathes
  • Saws
  • Drill Press
  • Metal Shear/Bender

Electrical Group -Responsible for wiring all motors, compressors, victors, solenoids, etc. Furthermore, the wires shall be labeled and neatly arranged for ease of maintenance. Board layout and packaging must be worked out with Mechanical group. Includes the following:

  • Designs the board layout
  • Wires all systems
  • Available for repairs at competitions

Programming Group uses software provided by FIRST to create a program that allows the robot to perform various tasks and functions – both autonomously and by human control. Also builds the interface between the controls and the robot, with input and agreement between the users who will be interacting with the controls, and the mentors.

Includes the following:

  • Writes the code for robot function
  • Communicates the designed codes and functions to the robot drivers
  • Available for troubleshooting code at competitions

Scouting Group— The scouting group is comprised of pit scouts and game scouts. Students in this group will develop materials and methods to assess the competition giving our team as much advantage as possible. They will develop a spreadsheet prior to competition and revise it as necessary. The collection of data and analysis of the information will assist our team in all phases of the competition. At the competition, this group will make suggestions to the team members on Friday evening as to which teams will make good partners in the elimination rounds and why. During competition, additional Team members will be assigned scouting duties.

Drive Team — Consists of a field coach, a controls operator, a robot driver and a human player. This group will be selected by the teacher sponsor with input from the executive mentor board. A competitive selection process using a robot from prior years will be used to identify both a main team and a back up team. Students interested in this team should practice as much as possible to develop their skills. They must be familiar with the robot construction, programming, and know how to troubleshoot problems. They must also be completely familiar with the rules of the game not only for their position but for the whole team. Besides being adept at their position each member of this group must be able to interact positively especially under pressure, and must be able to follow verbal direction. The drive group is required to stay with the robot a majority of the time at the competitions. They will also arrive early and stay late to practice at the competitions. This group must interact with the Scouting Team, Alliance teams and the Pit Crew.

Pit Crew — During the season –

  • Inventory tools and update as needed, ensure they are ready for competition
  • Responsible for maintenance and upgrades to the robot cart
  • Responsible for maintenance and upgrades to the shipping crate
  • Developing a pit for competition

Need to be familiar with all working parts of the robot and what is needed to repair them so that they can prepare for those items to be available during the competition.

During competition —

  • Set up pit in a timely manner
  • Make sure tools are put away and pit is cleaned on an ongoing basis
  • Ensure that batteries are charged and ready to go.
  • Direct the other team members in disassembling and packing pit away after competition

Safety Captain – Responsible for reading and ensuring all safety rules are being followed. These rules include but are not limited to the build site rules, school rules and FIRST rules. They also track student machine certification, attend safety captain meeting at competition, and monitor first aid kits for supply needs and expiration dates.

They also maintain demarcation of safety zones for food and safety wear in the engineering wing.

Practice Field Crew – Responsible for designing and building a practice field using FIRST specifications for the current’s year’s game. Also responsible for assisting with set up of field when hosting practice events at OHS.

Fundraising Group – Responsible for organizing and scheduling fundraisers. Students will work with the fundraising mentor at events and the mentor will forward all funds to the finance mentor.

Sponsorship Group – Responsible for developing a sponsorship presentation (folder, CD, brochure, sponsorship letter) and contacting potential corporate sponsors under the advisement of the sponsorship mentor. Creating and sending regular IMPACT Newsletter editions to sponsors. Due to the delicate nature and financial implications of a sponsor relationship, students should not present materials nor contact sponsors without the sponsor mentors approval. They are responsible for organizing an open house for potential and corporate sponsors. They are also responsible for inviting sponsors to the open house, events and picnics as well as writing thank you notes/letters to sponsors.

Team Travel/Meals/Snacks Team — Responsible for making travel and meal arrangements. This includes travel to and from events and competition and possibly lodging if required. This group is also responsible for planning and/or coordinating snacks for the build season, travel and any other special event that might take place.

Spirit Group — Responsible for developing displays, spirit sticks, costumes, cheers and chants and mascot duties.

IT Group

  • Responsible for developing, maintaining and monitoring the team website according to Oxford High School policy.
  • Responsible for animation, graphics.
  • Responsible for team photos and videos, as well as team media opportunities.

All photos published will be in accordance with the Oxford Community School district. Press releases must be authorized through central office at the administration building, according to school policy. See the teacher sponsor or sponsorship mentor to forward your request.

Team photos must be professional and represent the team as a whole. Photos should be taken year-round, at all team activities and also at team meetings, since they are the best way to preserve Team 2137 accomplishments and memories. These photos may also be used in award submissions. Videos must also be professional and represent the team as a whole. Two types of videos can be taken. One video can capture the team and the other to capture the competitions. The video capturing the team should be taken during all team activities and also at team meetings. This video will serve as a moving document to preserve the team. The video capturing the competitions will be used to analyze other teams at the competition.

Awards Group
– Responsible for two types of awards.

The first type is the Chairman’s Award team. The group is responsible for reading the

Awards portion of the FIRST manual. They are responsible for letting the team know which awards are available, the criteria for those awards and monitoring the progress of the awards that the team is working towards. They are also responsible for monitoring due dates and submission dates concerning these awards.

The second type is the TORC Awards that we present to other teams at the district competitions. The group is responsible for determining which awards are to be presented, the type of award and the criteria for those awards. They are also responsible for developing the awards and organizing the presentation of these awards.

Marketing Group — Responsible for designing the team’s brochures, both public and corporate, working with the team coordinator.

  • They are also responsible for communicating with the other groups in getting products for their needs; this could include but not limited to CD’s, folders, banners, etc.
  • Responsible for information given out to potential members (brochures, rules, contact information sheets, etc.) and organize events (making sure school rules are followed) to recruit new members.
  • Responsible for designing and developing buttons and other promotional gimmicks. They are also responsible for decorating the Pit to attract more people to come and see Team 2137.

    Student Captains
    — Students have the opportunity to apply for Leadership roles for specific Group’s. The students must demonstrate potential leadership skills, be able to coach other students, monitor timelines and deadlines, communicate activities with the group Lead Mentor and students, verbally and written. They must also meet attendance expectations. Group specific requirements/qualifications can be provided by the Lead Mentor.

***Remember that the team has a limited budget based on fundraising and sponsorship income and any expenditure needs to be justified.

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

The parents/guardians of the students are an important part of the success of the team and are considered to be team members. Whether they are build mentors, part of a support group, or spectators at competitions, they fill a vital role. There are a number of responsibilities that each parent has, as a part of their child being on the team.

1. Parents/guardians are responsible for attending all parent meetings. These are normally held at the beginning of the school year in order to provide information about the team. Additional meetings may be called at other times during the year.

2. Parents/guardians are responsible for coordinating transportation to make sure that students are on time for meetings, build times, and events. Timely transportation must also be provided so that students have rides home afterwards.

3. Parents/guardians are responsible for signing and returning permission slips, waiver forms, and other legal documents on a timely basis for their students under the age of eighteen.

4. Parents/guardians are responsible for providing the team coordinator with accurate medical information for their student.

5. Parents/guardians are responsible for providing telephone numbers where they can be reached in case of an emergency.

6. Parents/guardians are responsible for providing a general contact phone number and a dependable e-mail address for the team to provide them with information about

upcoming events and team opportunities. E-mail is the primary and often the only method of contacting members of the team. Parents/guardians need to check their e-mail often and communicate any correspondence with their families.

7. Parents/guardians are responsible for the conduct of their child until the age of eighteen. If there is a violation of the student code of conduct by their child that results in a liability, parents may be held liable. If there is a violation of the code while on an out-of-town trip, parents will be responsible for providing transportation, at their cost, to return the student home.

8. Parents/guardians are encouraged to attend all events and provide support for the team. These events may be competitions, team gatherings, or public events.

9. Parents/guardians are encouraged to keep up-to-date with what their child is working on with the team and the progress that the team has made. Parents should stop in at the build site and High School Robotics Room from time to time to see how things are going,

10. Parents/guardians are encouraged to become team mentors. Becoming a mentor adds additional responsibilities but is a very rewarding experience.

11. Parents should allow students to keep their commitment to the team. Participation should not be used as a reward or punishment because it affects other members of the team.

12. Parents/guardians are responsible to make sure that the teacher sponsor or team coordinator is notified when the student will be absent from a team event where they are expected.

13. Each family is required to contribute towards at least one meal for Saturday sessions during build season. Sign-up will be available at parent meeting and via online form.

14. Parents are encouraged to read the TORC Team Handbook and OCS Extra-Curricular Activities Code of Conduct (Competitive Activities portion) thoroughly with their student before signing consent forms online.

The Team benefits when parents are involved. Parents are encouraged to commit to help in at least 3 ways.

“101 Examples of How Parents Could Help a FIRST Team” By NEMO (Non-Engineering Mentor Organization)

1. Organize paperwork – make a folder for each team member with appropriate forms in it – school permission slips, medical insurance/emergency info, FIRST release forms; make duplicate copies and take one set when traveling.

2. Make ID badges for team members

3. Organize tailgating party for local regional events

4. Organize a team social event like a bowling night after the build season ends

5. Plan an end-of-year team banquet

6. Organize a dinner and offer to host a visiting team who is at your local regional

7. Publish a team newsletter

8. Mentor a committee – Finance, PR, Community Outreach, Website, CAD, Animation, Spirit, etc. You do not need to have a background in that area; just be able to keep committee focused and meet deadlines.

9. Mentor a Hospitality Committee – Celebrate birthdays, send get well cards and sympathy cards-, pack a box of health and beauty aids for team travel.

10. Maintain Game Manual and Updates

11. Provide at least one meal for the team during the build cycle.

12. Compile team “Wish List” for materials and services they would like to obtain

13. Staff a concession booth at a nearby sports complex as a fundraiser for the team

14. Solicit donations from small and large companies

15. Solicit in-kind donations. Know any companies that would donate food, safety goggles, and tools, paper plates, a paint job for the robot, t-shirts, computers?

16. Write a grant proposal

17. Help with travel arrangements (bus, plane, food, activities)

18. Organize a telephone tree and e-mail list

19. Design and print team Thank You cards

20. Create team stationery

21. Write and mail thank you notes

22. Coordinate community service projects

23. Organize robot demonstrations

24. Chaperone

25. Take photos/videos for publicity and for the scrapbook

26. Set up the cheering section at the regional competitions

27. Help with team spirit items such as signs

28. Make business cards for the team

29. Help with building the practice field

30. Help with the engineering, design, build of the robot

31. Help build a cart for the robot

32. Extend invitations to our VIPs to attend your competitions

33. Organize an Open House for interested students and school administrators

34. Organize an Open House for local politicians

35. Organize an Open House for potential sponsors

36. Organize an Open House for potential engineers and other would-be mentors

37. Produce a PowerPoint presentation or video about FIRST and the team

38. Organize a fundraiser

39. Carpool students

40. Help design team buttons (giveaways)

41. Help design team shirts

42. Make breakfast for the team for early Saturday mornings during build season

43. Create team jewelry

44. Organize a toolbox

45. Make luggage pom-poms in team colors for easy ID of luggage at airport

46. Type travel itinerary including details about airport security, hotel info, meal options, drop off and pick up times and distribute to all team members and parents/guardians.

47. Create and laminate emergency card for team members who are traveling as well as for parents staying home – include contacts’ cell phone numbers hotel name, address and phone number

48. Create a hotel rooming list with a copy for each chaperone – upon arrival at hotel, write room number next to each group, chaperone name, and distribute copies.

49. Work with team safety captain to create presentation for team on safety; purchase safety glasses, earplugs, first aid kits, breakaway lanyards, etc.

50. Organize team building weekend early in season

51. Facilitate team building exercises at each meeting until build season begins

52. Help recruit new team members

53. Staff table at orientation meeting and explain program to parents

54. Procure venue for team to view broadcast of kickoff

55. Obtain/sew team mascot costume

56. Watch for post-Halloween sales on face paints hair dyes, etc. in team colors

57. Recruit dance instructor to teach team choreography

58. Teach team “YMCA” song and movements

59. Bake cookies. Cookies are always appreciated

60. Help team create logo

61. Enter team data into TIMS system

62. Volunteer for a FIRST event

63. Create team budget; help with finances

64. Help team create Handbook

65. Assist with post-season self assessment interview process

66. Be a mediator if an argument occurs between team members

67. Help team create awards they can give to other teams

68. Help team create Mission Statement

69. Organize a team Thank Your Mentor event

70. Organize a “Welcome Home!” group to meet team at airport

71. Make funny “awards” to honor graduating seniors at end of year

72. Take candid photos of team in fall and create team calendar as holiday gifts for team members

73. Make posters to hang in school advertising upcoming competitions

74. Volunteer to chaperone a team “lock-down” over-nighter

75. Write team quiz and give it to the team prior to competition

76. Help scout other teams

77. Help mentor rookie teams

78. Network with other teams

79. Make presentation at area schools that do not yet have a team

80. Research activities the team can participate in at the end of the day while on trips

(museums, shopping, sports or theater events, getting together with other teams)

81. Set up simulated pit area so you know what fits where, before you go to a regional competition

82. Arrange with school to present awards to team members at their end-of-year awards ceremony

83. Create awards to hand out at the ceremony

84. Buy wholesale size box of team’s favorite candy and bring to competitions!

85. Take minutes of team meetings or mentor team secretary

86. Donate supplies

87. Organize team tag sale in spring as fundraiser

88. Act as liaison with school system

89. Act as liaison with sponsor

90. Paint faces at competitions with team logo, colors, etc.

91. If team ethnicity is diverse, organize dinners featuring different ethnic foods to build understanding of cultures

92. Host VIPs who attend your competitions and explain game, impact of FIRST on your team, etc.

93. Create attractive pit area

94. Create team presentation book

95. Create robot pit sheet that can be handed out to judges and other teams

96. Host Ship Date party to celebrate crating the robot

97. Create or organize team Archive

98. Take team photo and frame copies for each team members as a memento of a wonderful year!

99. Volunteer at one of the Michigan district events to meet the team volunteer requirement.

100. Most importantly, share your talent, skill, or passion in any way that could inspire a student.

Competition Protocol:

Participation: It is expected that you fulfill your duties as a team member in the role you have agreed to and in any supporting role you can to assist the current needs of the team. Attending competition is a privilege, not a right. Since these events cause students to miss class time, students are expected to remain involved at competition in team related activities (competition, video, photography, pits, scouting, cheering, presentations, etc.). Competitions are not for the purpose of: hand held games, web surfing, or naps. Students not involved in the pits, field activities, or presentations should remain in the stands with the team.

Cheering: True cheering is enjoying the event and celebrating the excitement of the moment. Organization is the key to this being a powerful tool. Your spirit team leaders will give you direction and guidance for this activity. You are not expected to be cheering 100% of the time, however, when we are cheering all team members are expected to stand and cheer to the best of their ability. Remember to respect the people sitting behind you and remain sitting at other times so that they can see the match.

Award Ceremony: We will stay until the end of the awards ceremonies. During the ceremony we will applaud the teams that are winning awards. When we applaud we will stand to show our respect for what they have accomplished.

Greetings: There are certain people in the FIRST organization that we make an effort to greet on a personal level. If you see judges or other team members enter our pit area please say hello, make an effort to go and greet them and thank them. If they are engaged in a conversation with another person please be respectful.

Litter: If you see paper or trash where it shouldn’t be, you should make an effort to pick it up. That goes for the area you are sitting in as well as any other location in the arena.

Safety: Safety should be practiced at all times. Safety glasses must be worn in the pit by all members – students and adults.

Other Competitions

Our team is often invited to pre and post season competitions. Our involvement in these activities will depend upon timing, cost and the availability of our team. Most of these competitions are local and are usually one-day events.

This is the opportunity for our “Rookies” to get the feel of real competition before the season starts. Often this is also the opportunity for our drive team to get practice and rookie members to see what it is all about.


September 2012

November 2013

October 2014

March 2015