October 2017
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed. Dig it.

Did you miss us?

It's a brand new quarter and a brand new   newsletter! 
And it's more exciting than a mug of toothpaste .  

Time to Build

Fall is here- and a new season has begun! There is a lot of news to share- Grant Awards, Championship Site Selection, a New VISTA, 2017-18 Season Info, Events Calendar, Sponsor News,   and more- whew !!

So hold on to your pincushions-  a nd keep reading for these topics  and more.

And please pass this newsletter on to teams, parents and students.
(a web link is at the top of this email- the "click here")
To subscribe to the newsletter, just fill out this form.

Reminder- FIRST Chesapeake Has a New Address
Tell your bookkeeper FIRST Chesapeake/ VirginiaFIRST has a new address!   

To be sure that we receive your registration fees, donations, and correspondence in a timely fashion, please update your address book to:

VirginiaFIRST / FIRST Chesapeake
8161 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite I
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Please note, the suite designation is the letter I as in "ice," not a number

Letter from the Executive Director 

Dear Friends of FIRST Chesapeake,

As I close out my first one hundred days as Executive Director, I want to let all of you know how much I've appreciated your support and kind words. Although I've been involved in FIRST for over 10 years, the enthusiasm and creativity of the teams, the tireless dedication of our volunteers, the involvement of our board, and the commitment of both individual and corporate donors continues to amaze me. This is truly the hardest fun you'll ever have.

Thank you for making 2017 another remarkable year for FIRST Chesapeake. Because of you, we are continually improving the quality of our events while strengthening relationships with local organizations and our FIRST partners, USRA STEMaction and Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League. In less than three years, we have grown our number of events by 160% and our sponsorship dollars by 46%.

A few details from the 2016-2017 season include:
  • 90,000+ - unique views of the FIRST Chesapeake District Events March-April on the Competition Live Feed Sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation.
  • 48,000+ - individuals attending FIRST Chesapeake events.
  • 16,000+ - event volunteer hours for FIRST Robotics Competition events and 6,000+ volunteer event hours for FIRST Tech Challenge events in Virginia.
  • 1,600+ - number of registered FIRST Chesapeake alumni in our database - a 100% increase in less than 2 years!
Our ongoing goal is to keep our overhead low while increasing our service to teams and the FIRST community. Over the past few months, we have worked to streamline our staffing model, provide more organizational transparency, and improve our communication process. Updated information will be coming to our web site soon. Until then, if you would like to speak with FIRST Chesapeake staff about a question or idea, please use this contact list. We are only an email or call away.

FIRST Chesapeake is growing stronger and we are grateful for the gracious professionalism and coopertition of FIRST Headquarters, our FIRST partners, and our local committees and volunteers. Together, we are working to bring STEM-based leadership enrichment programs to thousands of young people each year.

On behalf of myself and the rest of the staff at FIRST Chesapeake, please accept our wholehearted thanks for being a part of FIRST Chesapeake. You are what makes what we do possible - building tomorrow's technology leaders today.

Leighann Scott Boland

ECPI University - Growing their Commitments to FIRST Chesapeake and their Local Communities
ECPI University was the host to 2 FTC Kick Offs and Workshops on September 7th, at their Richmond and Manassas campuses. Approximately 300 FTC team members, mentors and coaches attended classes and took part part in the 2017-2018  FTC Relic Recovery Challenge reveal. Thank you to  ECPI and all of the FIRST volunteers and presenters who helped make this event such a success.

While you may know that  ECPI University is also the Title Sponsor for the FTC Virginia State Championship at St. Christopher's School this February, you may not know that their faculty and students are hard at work sharing their resources and talent in their communities. Check out this article  about how  ECPI students in Richmond made a difference in the life of a 7 year old girl.

FIRST Relic Recovery
FIRST Relic Recovery

Raytheon Grants Awarded
Congratulations to Team #122 NASA Knights and Team 5957 CAT5 Cybercanes for their recent grant award from  Raytheon 's Norfolk-Hampton Field Office.

We are grateful to our many donors, who as part of their giving, are funding teams during the 2017-18 season.
FIRST Chesapeake VISTA - Ola Bamgbade

Ola Bamgbade

Olaitan "Ola" Bamgbade , a native of Nigeria, has called  Virginia home since 2007. 

While living in Nigeria and attending a science-focused boarding school, her passion and experience for STEAM blossomed. Ola credits her curiosity of how things work to early life experiences like spending Saturday mornings repairing her family's VCR. Her journey would lead from VCR repairs to creating large scale multi-media/multi-discipline productions.

Ola believes that the integration of STEM with the Humanities and Arts is an integral part of an individual's existence. Ola is an alumna of the University of Virginia, where she holds degrees in both Psychology and Women's Studies. She has a wealth of experience working with community leaders to integrate concepts of human behavior into educational training approaches. 

Ola is excited to bring that zeal to the FIRST family. She will be working primarily in under-resourced communities and schools in the Metro Richmond area, but will also focus her efforts upon outreach and support in other under-resourced communities. Her direct supervisor is Delilah Gilliam.

Welcome Ola!
FRC Championship Site Announcement
Due to unforeseen circumstances, and contrary to previous indications, we have scheduled the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship for  Week 5  of the competition season. 
The new dates for the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship are: March 28 - 31, 2018.

The site has been chosen as well - for 2018 we will be back at the Xfinity Center, University of Maryland (College Park, MD).

Watch the FIRST Family blog and Championship webpage for more information.

Upcoming Events Calendar
Here are some upcoming FIRST and STEM-related events. Click through the links  for more information or visit the 
FIRST Chesapeake calendar
  • Oct 21- FRC  IROC  ( Haymarket, VA)
  • Jan 6, 2018- FRC Kickoff
    • Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)
    • USRA STEMAction Center (Columbia, MD)
    • Woodrow Wilson (Washington, DC)
    • ECPI University (Virginia Beach, VA)
Learn more about volunteering with FIRST Chesapeake here.

After a year as Director of FIRST Tech Challenge in Virginia,  Maureen Carley has decided to pursue other opportunities. We appreciate Maureen's dedication and hard work during last year's season and wish her the best.

FIRST Chesapeake welcomes  Krystian Jones to the position of FIRST Chesapeake Programs Manager. Krystian will be working closely with our local FTC and FRC event committees this year. You may recognize Krystian from her work with VA-DC FLL over the past years. We are pleased to have her as part of the Programs staff.

As many of you know, FIRST Chesapeake was fortunate to have over 12,500 square feet of office space donated for our use during the 2015-2017 competition seasons. This donation allowed us, for the first time, to explore the possibility of having a central location for FIRST Chesapeake programs, as well as designated staff offices. We learned some valuable lessons from this pilot and are grateful for our anonymous donor's support. As we enter the 2017-2018 season, we have made the decision to reduce our office footprint and focus our resources on bringing FIRST programs to venues throughout the FIRST Chesapeake District. We feel that this approach is more strategic for program growth and more equitable to the teams in this vast geographic area.  FIRST Chesapeake Command Central is located in the same complex, but our new address will be  8161 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Suite I, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.  
 Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook View on Instagram
We have streamlined our social media accounts- they are now only "FIRST Chesapeake" in name, but will cover both FIRST Chesapeake District FRC and Virginia FTC events. 

Keep up with all things FTC and FRC by liking and or following FIRST Chesapeake on all our social media accounts! 

Support FIRST Chesapeake!

Fundraising that's easy and free to you! 

Just use the Kroger Plus card you already have, and update your Community Rewards setting.

When prompted to select a charitable organization,  please select   

Funds raised through this program will be earmarked for emergency team support. The more who sign up, the more teams we can help. 

Our latest disbursement was again 50% larger than before!! Keep signing up! THANK YOU

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