From the response we received to this new feature – 25 emails and counting – I think we’re going to have plenty of material to keep us busy over the summer. Several folks sent in multiple questions on the same email, even though that wasn’t necessarily the intent (I’m looking in your direction, Jon Stratis, and several others o\~/o ), but that’s OK.
As I said, I may not be able to answer a question every Friday, but I’m going to try.
The first question I’ll be answering is from Martin Regimbald, from Quebec, Canada:
This is my first 'good' question to FIRST, and I'll try my best that it shouldn't be the last...Thanks for this opportunity.
Will the FRC kickoff really be on January 4th next year? This date, so close to the holidays, puts a large load on our volunteers and teams.
Students, mentors and volunteers are usually away (across the country, or even overseas) to visit family during the 2 week winter break and it is frankly difficult to mobilize most of everyone. Teams will travel to the Montreal kickoff as far as 500km, so they must leave their family the day before. Here in Quebec, school are not yet open and teachers are not yet back with their students before January 7th. Not to mention volunteers are not so incline to help so soon as the day after New Year...
Please, don't refer to lack of passion, devotion or eagerness...
We hope you realise that we are solely concerned by the respect we owe to the participants, young and adults, who deserve to rest and gather with their respective family during the due winter break.
Thanks for your usual consideration.
Yes, FRC Kickoff is going to be on January 4th next year.
In no way do I take your question to mean you and others with similar concerns aren’t devoted to FIRST! I’m certain you are. This is an absolutely reasonable and fair question to ask, and a good one for me to answer.
FRC demands a great deal from its team members and volunteers. I personally believe this is a big part of what makes it effective – for individuals to grow significantly, they need something big to push against, and FRC presents challenge aplenty to serve that need. These same requirements, though, make it hard to fit in to our personal lives. There’s simply lots of FRC activity that needs to occur between the winter holidays on one side of the calendar and testing and summer vacations on the other, and our non-FRC lives continue during that period – at least they try to!
In FRC, we take the need for team members and volunteers to be able to have down time and make meaningful connections with their families and friends very seriously. The FRC staff has those needs as well, and many of us have been mentors and students on FRC teams ourselves, so we know firsthand how stressful and all-consuming the season can be. We try to make the best decisions we can regarding season schedules, given the constraints we are under. As a practical matter, if we were to push off Kickoff to January 11th, this would mean a shorter build season, because it would be a challenge for us to move the Stop Build Day one week closer to the Week 1 events.
Thanks for your good question.
Frank Answers Fridays is a new weekly-ish blog feature where I’ll be answering ‘good questions’ from the FRC community. You can e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, team number and where you’re from, which will be shared, if selected.