We are very excited about a tool we created in 2011 to help support new FRC teams. We remember from our rookie season how daunting it can be establishing a new FIRST team. Although retention of FRC teams has been improving, close to half of the FRC teams that left since 2009 were 3 years or younger.

We designed an interactive web and blog site, Rookie FIRSTs, to provide a database of tips, advice and support for younger teams. We have gathered input from over 20 FRC teams and organizations regarding business, media, hardware, software, and electronics. Since its launch on 1/1/12, this rapidly-growing resource has gained over 16,000 followers and 3,000 hits from 10 different countries. The site was spotlighted as a top educational blog on Tumblr and as a helpful link of Chief Delphi, spreading the words of the site to even more viewers.

The website helps rookie FIRST Robotics Competition teams quickly find answers to common problems and challenges. While FRC teams use Chief Delphi as an excellent source of specific information, we think the FIRST community will also benefit from a simple, easy to use site geared toward rookie teams.

Rookie FIRSTs has an overview of each section of a typical FRC team, including Electronics, Programming, Hardware, Media, and Sponsorship. In each of those sections, the site offers advice to rookie teams and links to basic FIRST-specific tutorials to get them started on the right path.

Rookie FIRSTs offers a list of veteran team lessons learned based on past mistakes. The blog portion of the website contains additional tips and suggestions shared by veteran teams.

Thanks to a number of generous FRC teams, we created this website in our 2011 fall pre-season. A big shout-out to the teams who have shared valuable advice to use for the site.  If you would like to contribute to Rookie FIRSTs please write to us as at <rookieFIRSTs@gmail.com>.

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