FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

World Mental Health Day and Events Preferencing

Oct 13, 2021 Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition




World Mental Health Day

October 10th was World Mental Health Day, which is a day to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. FIRST Robotics Competition knows how crucial mental health is to the community so we wanted to take a moment to recognize this important day. I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and their loved ones as we continue to work through some challenging times.

FIRST recently added some mental health resources to our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training & Resources page. You find them in the ‘Well-Being’ section. Just click the ‘+’ sign on that heading to expand. It’s worth taking a look and sharing with those you think might find it useful.

Events and Event Preferencing

All of the current 2022 events are now posted for your review! There have been many changes since we last had in-person events. Check them out on the 2022 FRC-Events page. Important note: as with every season, events are subject to change, but you should base your preferencing decisions on the current situation. If there are any changes to an event, we will work with affected teams to resolve any issues that come up as best we can.

Friendly reminder that event preferencing is coming up! Round 1 of event preferencing opens on October 14th at 12 PM (Noon) Eastern Time and closes on October 20th at 12 PM (Noon) Eastern Time. Once preferencing closes, you cannot make any changes, so make sure to get your event preferences in by the deadline. Check out the User Guide for instructions.

One item to pay special attention to in the User Guide is the concept of ‘Reserve Slots.’ At every event, we set aside a certain number of slots for use by teams in special circumstances. Program Delivery Partners can use these slots to accommodate teams outside the standard preferencing system. Typical uses of these slots would be for late-registering rookies who really need to play close to home, or for Districts doing ‘Home Event’ registration. This year, we have another concern – COVID. For some Regionals, such as the one in Australia, all the slots are set to reserve. This is for the very practical reason that travel in and out of Australia is restricted at this time. We don’t want open slots available in the system that would allow teams outside the country to gain access when right now, as a practical matter, they will not be able to attend. For any event with zero open capacity, every team who is assigned that event will get put on the waitlist for sorting later.

The good news is the system shows you how many slots will be available during preferencing. You can see this in the ‘Open Capacity’ column in events you are reviewing, as shown below.

So, if you see an event with zero open capacity in this first round of preferencing, it means the entire event is on reserve for a specific purpose. If you don’t know if your team would be included as one of those who would be given access (for example, Australian teams at the Australia event) you can contact FIRST Team Support or leadership in the area of the event.

It’s important to note that even if you preference an event with zero capacity, if you have a second (third, fourth, etc.) event on your preference list, the system will continue to check each event for open capacity until it finds one, then it will slot you in there. If it doesn’t find any events with open capacity, the system will waitlist you at the (one) event you have identified you would like to be waitlisted for. Check out that User Guide for all the details!

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