A newsletter for FIRST Chesapeake volunteers
September 2020
Welcome FIRST Tech Challenge
DC and MD volunteers!
We are excited to have you as part of the FIRST Chesapeake family.
In this issue...
  • Volunteer Town Hall
  • Power of Volunteering
  • Vote for 2020-21 Logo
  • Volunteer Spotlight
  • FIRST Families
  • Notes from the Field
Save the date for the FIRST Volunteer Town Hall

We are still finalizing details and dates for the 2020-21 season and, as expected, things will be different from prior years.

We invite all FIRST program volunteers to join us for a Virtual FIRST Volunteer Town Hall on Sept 24th at 6:30pm to learn more.

Leadership from FLL Explore, FLL Challenge, FTC, and FRC will be present.

Do you have specific questions? You can submit queries beforehand- click here to submit.
  • 60% of hiring managers see the act of volunteerism as a valuable asset when making recruiting decisions according to a study by CareerBuilder.
  • During our 2019 fiscal year, FIRST Chesapeake volunteers donated 35,000 hours, valued at $993,000.
Vote for 2020-21 Volunteer Logo
This year we would like to use a special logo for the volunteer season and we need your input! This logo will appear on volunteer shirts. Please vote for your favorite choice by October 2nd.

All submissions will be entered into a random drawing for one of two Amazon gift cards! (One entry per person.)
Role: Judge
Ever wonder what it would be like to Judge at an event?

Judges interview and observe teams to select team award recipients. Must be 21 years old to apply in FTC. This role is a full day commitment. Team experience is helpful. No robot experience required!

Stay tuned for more information on how to sign up. For more information contact us at volunteer@firstchesapeake.org
"I like being a judge because it is a way to view and understand the impact of FIRST- I see students striving to show their leadership, innovation, and teamwork, I hear in teams the ideals of Gracious Professionalism, Coopertition, and Teamwork, and I see the dedication and enthusiasm of volunteers and other judges as they strive to make the events positive life experiences for the participants."
Robin- (far right) Judge since 2015
FIRST Families is a new feature for FIRST Chesapeake in which we highlight the contributions and accomplishments of multiple members of the same family. Do you know a FIRST Family that should be featured? Let us know.
The Gray Family
You probably know who Simon Gray is, even if you don’t know you know him. He’s the “guy with the hat”—the head referee on the field at many FIRST Chesapeake FTC Qualifiers, usually in a colorful sombrero that has become his signature.

But his flair for accessorizing isn’t the only reason why Simon is a notable member of the FIRST community. His work on behalf of FIRST robotics, especially in his adopted hometown of Orange, Virginia, is hugely important.
In March 2020, most of us were suddenly thrust into the new world of communication--mostly via a screen. During those first months of the pandemic, we suddenly had to learn the ins and outs of numerous new online platforms. Like many of you, I witnessed up close issues with audio connections, those who couldn’t find the mute button, watching (and hearing) people chew their lunches, bad lighting (one memorable session had lights shining beams down making the host seem like they were behind bars in jail), backgrounds including messy beds and videos of kitchens on fire, and adorable and loud pets and children.

As we head into a new event season for FIRST programs we know that volunteering is going to look different this year. For example, many of the positions you know (judging, refereeing, queuing) will still be there, but the position descriptions, including onboarding requirements, will be adapted for the remote environment. And while things may not be the same, the good news is that with these changes also comes the opportunity to refine certain workplace skills (and don't forget these volunteer experiences can also be used as resume builders).

Some of these workplace skills, including “soft” skills used during volunteering for FIRST include:
  • Presenting a professional appearance on a screen
  • Collaborating using online tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Team Meetings
  • Communicating, time management, problem-solving, and adaptability
  • Learning new training platforms

We are excited to begin the new season and engage volunteers as we all learn together!

--Jenny Beatty
Volunteer Manager-Maryland and Metro DC
Please pass this newsletter on to other people who might be interested in volunteering with FIRST Chesapeake. To subscribe to the newsletter, just fill out this form.
FIRST Chesapeake | volunteer@firstchesapeake.org