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Be An Advocate
for Northern California FLL
are fast-moving, exciting, and rewarding. One you will remember!
JOIN: Learn about all of our volunteer opportunities
Announcement only mailing list to learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international competition that develops critical skills in science and technology in a super-charged learning atmosphere. Small teams of 9 to 14 year olds design, build, program and test an autonomous LEGO Mindstorms robot along with a project developed as a solution to a real world problem developed with experts.
2014 Challenge "FLL World Class"
table last updated 2/3/2014, 8am
Peninsula FLL Championship
To volunteer, we are using the FIRST VIMS System. You will need to create an account and apply for a specific role.
The Championship tournaments are not listed yet as we need the date and locations before we can enter them.
Silicon Valley FLL Championship
Capital FLL Championship
Most tournament volunteer roles are needed all day (~7am to ~7pm) - some can be shared or split into shifts. For those volunteering more than 5 hours, we will feed you delicious food and give you an awesome volunteer tshirt!
NorCal FLL Volunteer Policies
FIRST Standards of Conduct for all Volunteers (pdf)
All volunteers must sign a release of liability waiver form at each event.
Anyone under 18 years old must have a parent or legal guardian sign the form
You will get a confirmation email - please come with a smile and positive outlook!
Help Recruit Volunteers!
HELP SPREAD THE MESSAGE: Recruitment Poster, sample letters and more
All Judges and Referees (aka Officials) must be adults (post high school and over 18 years old) that are not affliated with ANY 2014 FLL team - competing at that specific event or not.
Judge, Referee and other Key Role Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Form
We are seeking adult volunteers for all types of positions, but can also utilize high school students for most of the general volunteer positions.
For all volunteers, if you have questions : feel free send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Northern California
This 2014 FLL season, approximately 5,300 Nor Cal youth in teams of up to 10 members each will compete at 2 levels of tournaments. The 28 qualifiers will be on Nov 8 - 23. Also, there are 3 championship tournaments.
Dress Code is Casual - you will probably want to wear comfortable shoes. Judges will be sitting for part of the day and walking around talking / observing teams the rest of the day; Referees will be mostly standing and it is preferred that they not wear high heels (to protect the gym floor).
Sample Letters from 2011 that you can personalize (.txt) 1, 2, 3, 4
help recruit additional volunteers: Send emails out using one of the sample letters. Pass this URL along
to anyone you think may be interested in volunteering. FLL tournaments
are fast-moving, exciting, and rewarding. One you will remember!
.... But I don't know anything about Engineering or LEGO Robots!? and other misconceptions
Each event requires
many volunteers with a broad spectrum of talents to support teams, volunteers,
audience members and competition demands. We cannot hold the competitions
without volunteers. A variety of volunteer positions are available including both
technical and non-technical. Many positions are available for those with
no prior experience with robotics or even similar competitions. Training for judges and referees is available. In particular, the project and core values judges do not need to know anything about robots or LEGO Mindstorms or engineering. The best judges are those that are interested in supporting youth and asking questions. Judging is an interview and observation type of activity very much like at a science fair.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in partnership
with The LEGO Company developed this international robotics competition, now in its 12th year.
The competition involves students, teachers, mentors and coaches
- and this year, this means more than 20,000 teams in over 60 countries will
be inspired . Learn more at firstlegoleague.org and usfirst.org
Judges and Referees are the official decision making crew of a tournament, we require that they be adults that are not affiliated with any registered 2014 FLL team - this is why we need you! These positions do require a couple of hours of training beforehand (self-paced materials plus a short web / phone conference call); you will need to volunteer at the tournament all day through handing out the awards at the award ceremony - approximately 8 hours.
To help the tournament organizers plan these events, please sign up as soon as you can; on the other hand, last minute volunteers are always welcome. We'd also appreciate your help spreading the word to other potential volunteers.
Why Volunteer? It's Fun! It's Inspiring! and it does Make a Difference. FIRST Works!
“FLL enables us to be a player in the community. The kids enjoy it and our employees get a kick out of it as volunteers. The feeling is that we’re all in this together.” - Tom Pirelli, Chairman, ArialPhone Corporation
"BAE Systems’ involvement in FIRST LEGO League is an essential piece of the company’s commitment to the community and education. I believe it is BAE Systems’ role to help develop a passion for science, mathematics, research, and teamwork within students. They are tomorrow’s leaders, scientists, and engineers." - Mike Heffron, President Information Warfare, Electronics and Integrated Solutions
are needed to enable the over 5,000 Northern California FLL youth to compete at tournaments and demonstrate what they have achieved! .
Exact tournament times and total number of each volunteer role that is needed will depend on size of tournament.
To see a description of what the role involves, click on the link - this will bring you to a page of descriptions.
Like other judging activities such as science fairs, there is a set of criteria also called rubrics (2011 version) that are defined to help evaluate teams. Volunteering for FLL is a great way to get involved to help budding young scientists and engineers launch their careers, as well as to increase the supply of technical professionals that will be available to industry a few years from now. It’s also an easy and fun way to get involved in the community. Additionally, we love when companies step up to host an event, as that has an amazing impact not just on the youth but also on their parents and family.
Almost any adult can be a judge or referee. Among the common concerns or misconceptions:
- I’m not qualified. For the project and core values judging, most any adult would be able to evaluate the teams in these areas. In addition, judges work in teams and we try to pair experienced judges with rookies. Additionally, any adult with a degree in science, engineering or math should be able to judge teams for robot design. Experience with robotics, software, mechanics or LEGO robots is not required, but is helpful for judging robot design - it is about asking questions and having the team explain what they have done and their reasoning.
- It’s too hard to learn. As to judges, most tournaments already have a group of experienced judges to help newcomers learn - the FLL program is growing so fast that we always need more. We provide training materials as well as conference calls to answer questions. The referees' role is a bit more complicated - FLL has rules and missions and attention to detail during the fast paced nature of the game is important. There is good training available including both self-paced and conference calls. We recommend referees to try to attend one or more of the informal scrimmages that teams run (typically in October).
- It’s too big a committment. Tournaments need just a few hours of training ahead of the day, plus the one-time appearance of about 8 hours. While we have a great group of "serial volunteers" and would love to see you again, organizers understand if you can’t make it to multiple events or even every year due to personal committments, travel or work deadlines.
- It’s too far to go. Nearly all areas throughout California have a nearby tournament (as does Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego). Those who live in the major cities or nearby suburbs should be able to find an event no more than 20 miles away from their home or place of work.