July  2016
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed. Dig it.

Did you miss us?
It's a brand new month and a brand new   newsletter! 
And it's more exciting than breakfast  with Batman .  


So many great things  to share- Website Changes, a Business Spotlight, Staff Announcements, FTC Info, Upcoming events,   and more- whew !!

So hold on to your tiara-  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.

Newsletter Enhancements
We have received feedback that teams would like access to program specific information in the newsletter. Starting next month, if you would like to see FTC or FRC specific information, there will be an button to take you directly to that section. 

Thanks for helping us make the newsletter even more 
useful and informative!

Website Changes
In order to consolidate efforts and reduce confusion, the VirginiaFIRST and 
FIRST  Chesapeake websites will be merging later this summer

When complete, information for both  the 
Virginia FIRST  FTC program and  the  
FIRST  Chesapeake FRC programs  will be found on   www.firstchesapeake.org Both will be easily
                                    accessed from this one site.

Until the merge, please continue to use both websites as usual. 
After the merge, the combined website will be accessible from both www.firstchesapeake.org .and www.virginiafirst.org .

THANK YOU for your patience during this transition!
. . .
We moved from the Science Museum into our own warehouse space. Please ask your school bookkeeper or team non-profit organization to change our mailing address for registrations or other payments to:

Virginia FIRST / FIRST Chesapeake
8177 Mechanicsville Turnpike
Mechanicsville, VA 23111
Naming Contest!!!!

We need a name for our FIRST Chesapeake / VirginiaFIRST Mechanicsville office. So much happens there- it's an office, team meeting place, educational space, build space, storage- "office" doesn't cut it.

Give us your suggestion- funny or serious- prize for the winning entry!

Join us for tours of our new headquarters, information on volunteer roles, updates on the upcoming season, and free refreshments.

Saturday, July 23rd, 11:00am-12:30pm

RSVP here

FIRST FTC Information

Mid-Atlantic Broadband 

What happens when a company sees the value of investing in STEM education in their community? Great things happen.

A happen-chance meetup in March 2012 of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) President & CEO Tad Deriso and the Piedmont Governor's School STAGS 1262 at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Midlothian, Virginia was the start of what would become a partnership between MBC and FRC teams in Southern Virginia. The STAGS were celebrating their victory at the Virginia Regional and a bid to head to the FRC World Championship; MBC decided to sponsor them as they headed to compete and represent Southern Virginia in St. Louis.  

Five seasons later, MBC is still dedicated to supporting FRC robotics teams in Southern Virginia.  Located in South Boston, Virginia, MBC was established in 2004 for economic revitalization of the Southern Virginia region by way of a state-of-the-art open-access middle mile fiber-optic network.  As an economic driver in the region, MBC is a strong advocate for the vision of workforce development and education in STEM-related fields. The skills that the FIRST FRC program teaches are highly desirable to companies and strengthen the workforce in Southern Virginia. 

Students participating in the FRC program are challenged in multiple fields, including electronics, programming, pneumatics, business/marketing, etc., that give students the opportunity to become better thinkers and problem solvers. FIRST programs also teach practical life skills beyond the technical realm, like communication and teamwork, by providing the opportunity to work with teams that they have not previously met, along with their own teammates, to achieve a common goal.

When MBC initially began supporting teams in their footprint, there were five FRC teams in all of Southern Virginia.  The number of robotics teams in Southern Virginia nearly doubled from six in 2015 to eleven in 2016 due to an effort by MBC to bolster the STEM education opportunities for students in the region. MBC realizes the value that FIRST brings both to the participating students and the community as a whole.  MBC has proudly invested more than $228,000 for FIRST FRC robotics programs since 2012.

- Liz Smith, MBC
YPP Grant Award to Franklin Military Academy
Virginia FIRST is grateful to receive a $3,000 grant from the Youth Philanthropy Project (YPP), a joint project between The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia and HandsOn Greater Richmond.  The funds will support Virginia FIRST's STYLA program at Franklin Military Academy.

In addition to fully funding the original proposal, YPP members named Virginia FIRST a YPP Grant of the Year, which included an additional $500 funded through contributions made by the YPP Steering Committee.

To learn more about this award, or about the Youth Philanthropy Project, click here
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Alumni Updates
CONGRATS to FRC 2363 Triple Helix for winning the Alumni Data Contest! Their name was randomly drawn for the $250 prize. You gotta play to win!

Even though school just let out, things are starting to perk as I plan and prepare for the next season!!
  • Interested in helping plan an alumni event in your area? Please contact me today. 
  • Interested in joining the Alumni Student Organization at your University? Please contact me today for more information.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Julie Miller, FIRST Chesapeake/ VirginiaFIRST Alumni Coordinator  
FIRST Chesapeake/ VirginiaFIRST Warehouse Open to Teams This Summer
Interested in using the FRC or FTC competition fields over the summer? 

The Virginia FIRST warehouse will be open 9am- noon one Saturday a month, June-August 2016. (See events calendar below)

Please contact Glen Davis (804) 928-3506 or [email protected] for more information and to make reservations. No walk-ins!
Click here to register: rumbleintheroads.com/swapmeet

Hails and Farewells
- Congratulations to our very own China Genwright (D.C. VISTA) for being  recognized in June for her outstanding work as an AmeriCorp VISTA in Delaware and the District of Columbia! Read this extended article to learn more.
The Battle Against HIV/ AIDS
- Congratulations to Ashley Amundsen and Anaya Tripathi, of FRC Team 3941 TechBrick, for advancing to the finals of the  Mega Engineering  competition. Watch their impressive video submission! 

- Congratulations to Delilah Gilliam (Virginia VISTA) for being selected as May 2016 VISTA of the Month! This was said about Delilah's work, "Her ability to bring out the best in these young leaders while instilling a sense of personal responsibility and pride in their team exceeded all expectations."
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This month we say thank you and farewell to folks who have helped make FIRST a vital program for our teams.  
  • Janet Sodell is transitioning out of the former Volunteer Coordinator position. But not to fear- she will still be involved in local events! Be on the look-out for her signature flower crown and boundless energy. Thank you Janet for all the time and effort you devoted to VirginiaFIRST and FIRST Chesapeake.
  • China Genwright is ending her year as the D.C. VISTA. We've been fortunate to have her on our staff and she will be greatly missed! China has a degree in engineering physics and previously spent time as a Delaware VISTA. 
We also welcome some new faces to FIRST Chesapeake and VirginiaFIRST!
  • Denise Lewis has accepted the FIRST Chesapeake FRC East Program Director role. Denise has over 10 years of experience working with FIRST and supporting teams as a coach/mentor and most recently as the FIRST Regional Director for Washington, D.C.
  • Dee Tomczak has accepted the Director of Community Engagement position.  Dee has a long and exceptional history with  FIRST  on the team level, in event management and as the former Assistant Director of VirginiaFIRST .
  • Maureen Carley has accepted the  Virginia FIRST  FIRST  Tech Challenge Program Director role.  While new to  FIRST , Maureen has substantial program management experience in the higher education and information systems fields. 
  • Matt Glennon  who has served for several years as the Virginia FIRST  FTC Technical Director has offered and agreed to provide this same valued Technical support to  FIRST  Chesapeake FRC. Matt will work with the FTA and CSA roles to prepare and execute  FIRST  Chesapeake's upcoming second FRC competition season.
To see photos and read more more about these new and returning faces, please check out this blog post: https://www.firstchesapeake.org/news/first-family-blog/46-staffing-updates
  • Alison Palmer will be a Virginia VISTA.  Alison has been a part of the FIRST community since she was 8 years old. She was a member of FRC 1086 Blue Cheese for 6 years and served as Build Captain and Fundraising Lead. Alison is passionate about spreading FIRST and STEM throughout her community. She is excited to be a part of the FIRST community in a new way as a VISTA. After her year of service with FIRST, she will attend Olin College of Engineering to study mechanical engineering.
  • Andrew Caudell is our 2016 summer intern. He is  an upcoming VCU student majoring in computer science. He enjoys playing board games and video games with his friends and watching sports. Andrew has been with FIRST for four years with FRC Team 4286 and he's excited to be with FIRST for another summer.
Do YOU have news or information about people, teams or happenings near you? 
We are always in search of good stories and photos from all corners of our district to share with our  FIRST family. 

Please send your suggestions to:  [email protected] 

Off-Season and Upcoming Events Calendar
Here are some upcoming FIRST and STEM-related events. Click through the links  for more information. 
  • July 16- FIRST Chesapeake / VirginiaFIRST team use of FRC or FTC warehouse competition fields (VirginiaFIRST warehouse- Mechanicsville, VA). 9:00am - 12 noon.
    • Questions, or for more details call or email Glen Davis (804) 928-3506
  • Aug 20- FIRST Chesapeake / VirginiaFIRST team use of FRC or FTC warehouse competition fields (VirginiaFIRST warehouse- Mechanicsville, VA). 9:00am - 12 noon.
    • Questions, or for more details call or email Glen Davis (804) 928-3506
  • Sept 24- FRC Battle o' Baltimore (McDonough School, Owings Mills, MD)
    • Teams registering before Aug 1 receive $50 discount
    • $100 discount for pre-rookie teams!
  • Sept 24- FTC Workshops (Details TBA)
  • Oct 22- FRC IROC (Battlefield High School, Haymarket, VA)
    • Discounts possibly applicable- see registration form
  • Oct 22- FRC  Duel on the Delaware (Salem Community College- Carneys Point, NJ) 
    • Teams registering and sending payment before June 15 receive $50 discount
  • Oct 29- FTC Southwest Scrimmage (Bristol Public Library, Bristol, VA)
  • Nov 5- FRC Rumble in the Roads (Menchville HS, Newport News, VA)
    • Discounts possibly applicable

Learn more about volunteering with FIRST Chesapeake here.
Meeting Space and Training Opportunities for Teams  
Catylator Makerspace  ( http://www.catylator.com/#/today  ) offers space for high school Robotics Team Meetings and Robotics Team Tools Training. Catylator is a space for creation in design and technology - offering its resources through education workshops and co-creational space for teens and adults. All located right in the heart of downtown Silver Spring.

Contact:  Steve Morris
8121 Georgia Avenue Suite LL1
Silver Spring, MD  20910
301-588-8833   [email protected]

Fairfax County Neighborhood & Community Services -  The Clubhouse Network & Computer Learning Partnerships (CLCP)  offers meeting space for local robotics teams (six locations throughout Fairfax County).

Contact:  Robert B. O'Quinn, PHD RPCV
Cross Regional Technology Program Manager
Dept of Neighborhood and Community Services
Direct 703-324-5555   Mobile 703-347-3579   Robert.O'Quinn@fairfaxcounty.gov

Looking for current FIRST Chesapeake news, information and announcements? 

Check it out for the FRC District Model   encompassing Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

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Support FIRST Chesapeake / Virginia FIRST!

Fundraising that's easy! 

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. Let's make this huge!!

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