January 2022
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 a wet dog in a bridal shop.
Onward Ho!
FREIGHT FRENZY is going strong, RAPID REACT has been revealed, and FIRST Chesapeake is working to bring events and programming to the FIRST Family. As always there is important news to share- FTC Championship AnnouncementFRC Kickoff and Game RevealWomen in STEM Breakfast, Hails and Farewells, New YouTube Playlists, Calendar of Events, and more- whew!!

So grab your crinoline- and keep reading for these topics and more.

And please pass this newsletter on to teams, parents and students.
(To subscribe to the newsletter, just fill out this form.)

FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Announcement

We want to thank the FTC teams and mentors for your patience. Everyone within the FIRST Chesapeake family has been chasing a moving target for the past two seasons, so your support and understanding means more to us than you will ever know. 

Using past FIRST World Championships as a template, FIRST Chesapeake will offer double the excitement of a FIRST competition to our teams and volunteers this season! After evaluating all of the options available, FIRST Chesapeake has decided to host the FTC Championship at the Hampton Coliseum in tandem with the FRC District Championship Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding. The decision was based upon a number of factors including the hope that the timing and venue size will allow us to accommodate more team members and their families, consolidate costs and some volunteer roles, and provide all FTC teams the opportunity to compete using the same playing field. 

While we are still working out the details, but currently we are planning on two cohorts of 40 FTC teams. Each cohort will compete for one day - either April 8th or 9th. The three FTC teams selected for Worlds will be determined based upon the combined rankings from both cohorts. (This is the same advancement system used for our 2021 FTC Championship.)  NOTE: This is a tentative plan, so please be sure to join our next Town Hall on February 8th, for more information.

The FIRST Chesapeake FRC District Championship Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding will operate under the same "pre-COVID" format with approximately 60 teams competing over 2 1/2 days, April 7th-9th. Every traditional resource (practice field, live feed broadcast, in-person judging, machine shop, Technology Row, etc.) will be available to FRC teams at this event. If you are interested in booking hotel accommodations for your team, please visit the Hampton Convention and Visitors Bureau accommodations webpage

We understand that you will have a lot of questions, but we need to ask for your patience for a little longer. We will share more details regarding both Championships, such as scheduling, health and safety protocols, and venue capacity, at the FIRST Chesapeake Remote Town Hall at 7pm on Tuesday, February 8th. Until then, stay safe and healthy.

FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff and Game Reveal Sponsored by InSource Solutions
The 2022 FIRST Robotics Competition Game RAPID REACT looks to be an exciting challenge!

On Saturday, January 8th, five sites held kickoff events and/or Kit of Parts pick-up for 128 teams across the FIRST Chesapeake District. We are most grateful to the FIRST Chesapeake Kick Off Sponsor InSource Solutions for their continuing commitment to the children on Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC.

A big thanks goes out to host sites Virginia Commonwealth University, Woodrow Wilson High School, Battlefield High School, Capitol Technology University, and Peninsula STEM Gym Kickoff.

Students, coaches and mentors also gathered at their own local team events to watch the broadcast and then begin their strategizing.

Click here to see the RAPID REACT Game Animation showing the field of play and scoring.

FRC 2537 Team Space Raiders watching the game reveal.
frc 2377
FRC 2377 Team Company C watching the broadcast at the Maryland Science Center

Want to get reminders of FIRST Chesapeake workshops, event updates, weather alerts, and the like?

We have a new communications option- please fill out this form if you are interested in receiving text reminders and announcements from FIRST Chesapeake. 

2022 Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Breakfast Sponsored by Leidos- May 3rd
After careful consideration of current factors, FIRST Chesapeake has decided to postpone the Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Breakfast Sponsored by Leido to Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022. 

Please join us virtually in honoring Dr. Patricia Mead as our 2022 Reaching for the Stars: Outstanding Women in STEM Award recipient, and our four outstanding young women from FIRST Chesapeake teams who will be the recipients of the Dominion Energy Reaching for the Stars: Women in STEM Scholarships.

Be sure to mark your calendars for this celebration of our outstanding Women in STEM later this Spring. You are invited to watch the Interactive Live Feed Broadcast Sponsored by Canon from 9:00-10:00 am, but you must register in advance to receive your unique dial-in information.
FIRST Chesapeake Needs YOU to Volunteer for an Upcoming Event

The FIRST Tech Challenge season is still going strong, and we'd love for you to consider being an FTC judge this year. This remote role means you can volunteer at any event, regardless of location! Go here to learn what roles are available & how to register to volunteer with FIRST Chesapeake: https://www.firstchesapeake.org/volunteer

Do you have questions about volunteering this season with FIRST Chesapeake?
Reach out to us at volunteer@firstchesapeake.org.
Hails and Farewells
We welcome to the FIRST Chesapeake staff Debbie Friedman, our new Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement. Read the full announcement here.

We are sad to let you know that Frankie and Isabelle Marchand are moving to another country. For over 15 years the Marchands have served as FTC Mentor, and/or FLL, FTC, and FRC volunteers in southwest Virginia and have been invaluable resources. We will miss their enthusiasm, dedication, and wealth of FIRST knowledge, and we wish them the best in this next adventure.

Thank you to Sarah Gagnon for her time and exuberance as the Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement. We wish her the best.
~In Memoriam~
We lost some members of the FIRST Chesapeake Family last year. They are greatly missed, but their dedication and contributions to FIRST will be remembered.

Please contact Samantha Ellis if you feel we have left anyone out so they can be included in the next newsletter.
Upcoming Events Calendar
Here are some upcoming* FIRST and STEM-related events. Click through the links for more information or visit the FIRST Chesapeake Events Calendar for even more event listings.

*subject to change

Looking for current FIRST Chesapeake news, information and announcements?

Check our FIRST Family Blog at
New Addition to Our YouTube Channel
Just a reminder to the FIRST Family- our live broadcasts are recorded so they can be viewed later on our FIRST Chesapeake YouTube Channel. https://www.youtube.com/c/FIRSTChesapeake

But NEW this year- individual matches are also being uploaded to a FIRST Chesapeake YouTube playlist as soon as possible after the events.

The playlist can be found here https://bit.ly/3A5ClVv

It is also searchable on the main FIRST Chesapeake YouTube channel.

Shop at smile.amazon.com using this link and Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to FIRST Chesapeake—no fees, no extra cost.