October 2019
A quarterly 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 fun than drinking straight from the outside spigot.  

Memories of Summer Fun

Did you have fun this summer? Students are back in school, and FIRST Chesapeake is in the midst of preparing for the 2019-2020 season, adding exciting changes and updates to our programs.  There is always important news to share- Town Hall Meetings, New Staff, Sponsor Highlight, FRC Workshops, Conflict Resolution Workshop, Events Calendar,  and more- whew !!

So hold on to your floatie-  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.

It is with great sadness that we are sharing the news of the sudden passing of  Dr. Woodie Flowers. If you would like to send your condolences to Woodie's family or know more about the Woodie Flowers Memorial Fund, please see this message from FIRST Headquarters here.

Introducing Katarina Spears, Director of Development
FIRST Chesapeake is pleased to announce that Katarina Spears has joined our staff as Director of Development. "Kat" will work to build and sustain relationships that advance FIRST Chesapeake's mission and support organizational growth.

Kat has over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector in DC, Northern Virginia, and Richmond. She holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland and an M.A. from American University in Washington, DC. Throughout her career, Kat has worked to advance standards and best practices in the non-profit organizations she has served, specializing in grant-writing, financial management, educational programs, and events.

Though she was born and lived abroad for much of her childhood, DC is the closest thing she has to a hometown. Kat is also a critically-acclaimed, award-winning author with three novels published by Macmillan and a fourth title to be released in 2020.

We are pleased to have Kat join our staff. It is the experience that individuals like Kat bring to the FIRST Chesapeake family that help us do what we do best - build tomorrow's technology leaders.
FIRST Chesapeake and Newport News Shipbuilding - An Investment in Our Future
Every year, Newport News Shipbuilding places an appeal for FIRST Chesapeake Robotics volunteers, and each year more and more employees have answered the call. Volunteers, ranging from craftsman to engineers to planners and everything in-between willingly sacrifice countless hours to mentor and coach some of the best and brightest young high school students in the region. They are employees, but they also represent so much more. They are the embodiment of Newport News Shipbuilding's commitment to the future for our children. Newport News Shipbuilding has been synonymous with helping the community for over a century. Of the many opportunities for outreach, Newport News Shipbuilding's sponsorship of the FIRST Chesapeake Robotics program perfectly aligns with the company's vision to inspire young minds by investing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. For more than a decade, with steadily increasing numbers, Newport News employees have volunteered and mentored every facet of FIRST Chesapeake Robotics efforts, from the initial concept to a functioning competition robot.
Prior to Newport News Shipbuilding's sponsorship in 2016, FIRST Chesapeake's FRC regional level competitions were typically held at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. This locale made active participation difficult for many Newport News Shipbuilding volunteers and mentors. During the 2016 season, FIRST Chesapeake changed to localized district competitions. This change made it possible to host in a competition in Hampton Roads, providing access and visibility to more local crews while leveraging the immense talent of Newport News Shipbuilding employees. Tom Cosgrove, Newport News Shipbuilding Manager, Corporate Citizenship and Government Relations explains, "The FIRST Robotics challenge is a great opportunity for the shipyard to combine our philanthropy with our volunteerism. These students are excited about the robots they build and they are using a lot of the skills that we look for in our employees. They are the people who are our future engineers, craftsman, and Apprentice School applicants. This partnership is a win for both the shipyard and the students."
Newport News Shipbuilding is extremely proud of its sponsorship of the FIRST Chesapeake program. Much of the purpose of FIRST Robotics is about connecting students with professional mentors to help them tap into their greater potential. But first and foremost, the partnership between Newport News Shipbuilding and FIRST Chesapeake provides a fertile breeding ground for the next generation of shipbuilders. Newport News Shipbuilding's investment in these bright and eager young minds is a sound investment in the future for all of us.

We appreciate Newport News Shipbuilding's longtime support of FIRST Chesapeake and dedication to our shared values. They are the title sponsor of the FIRST Chesapeake District Championship Event Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding, to be held April 2-5, 2020 in Hampton, VA.
Town Hall Meetings

Since August  FIRST Chesapeake has been holding Town Hall meetings for teams and volunteers in our District to share information, answer any questions that you may have, and hear your thoughts about how we can do better. 

Here is the remaining scheduled date and place:
Click this link to answer a short survey, to sign up to attend the meeting, and to submit some questions you'd like to get answered.  Please do not submit questions or topics for Town Halls that you will not be attending.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions during the Town Hall, both in-person and via real-time messaging, and all Town Halls videos and materials will be archived at    http://bit.ly/2NGnlqU.

FIRST Team Communications
FIRST Chesapeake was asked if they could help facilitate communications between teams in the DC, Maryland, Virginia areas. 

Since we cannot share team contact information that has been provided through FIRST Headquarters, we proposed that interested teams create a basic team gmail address that can be posted under a team info tab on our website. Teams would be listed by geographic location, as well as program. (Other information such as website and social media will also be included). It is our hope that this directory will encourage teams to connect with each other on a local level. 

If you are interested in registering your team, please complete this form. https://bit.ly/2lrDqVF
Mentoring and Conflict Resolution Workshop
You asked and we listened.....The Team Advisory Committee suggested that mentors, volunteers, and staff could benefit from a workshop focusing upon mentoring and conflict resolution this season

FIRST Chesapeake and Virginia Mentoring Partnership have joined to offer workshops in 2 locations this season. The first will be held in Richmond from 9am-noon, on Saturday, November 16th. This workshop is free to all that are interested, but space is limited so registration is required. A similar workshop is also being planned for the DC Metro area later this season. 

Please keep an eye out for more information and sign up details in the near future.

Upcoming Events Calendar
Here are some upcoming FIRST and STEM-related events. Click through the links  for more information or visit the   for even more event listings.
Learn more about volunteering with FIRST Chesapeake here.
Volunteering Opportunities Are Now Open On VMS!
Jeff Meyers
Jim Anderson

We are happy to report most FTC and FRC events are now listed on VMS and ready for you to register ! Just log in or register in the upper right-hand corner.

We appreciate all the people who volunteered for the 2018-2019 season. THANK YOU to FIRST Chesapeake's more than 1,250 volunteers who gave more than 35,000 hours!

And finally we'd like to once again give kudos to our Volunteer of the Year Award Winners for 2018-2019 Season.
      • Jim Anderson (pictured above left)
      • Jeff Meyers (pictured above right)
We look forward to working with  YOU during the 2019-2020 season!

Questions about individual volunteering or corporate community engagement with FIRST Chesapeake? Email us at volunteer@firstchesapeake.org
Changes to FRC Workshops for 2019-20 Season
  • We will be utilizing RingCentral as an online format so teams from throughout the district can participate regardless of their physical location. 
  • Workshops will be more in-depth than in the past-  30-60 minutes in length, with a different subject for each scheduled date. 
  • The schedule is being finalized, and dates/times will be published soon.
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