From the FIRST VISTA Management Team:

Congratulations to our VISTA of the Month winner for the month of September:  Alison Palmer!

Aside from the jealous stares of all her VISTA peers and the great honor of this prestigious award, Alison will also be receiving:

A certificate of achievement, and the warm adoration of the VISTA Management team here at HQ!

Congratulations Alison, you had a great nomination and it is clear that you deserved this honor.

Here’s what people are saying about her:

"It's hard to check just one category for Alison. She has already proven herself to be an outstanding team member and an incredible asset to FIRST programs in Virginia. In just a few short months, her work has increased FIRST Chesapeake's capacity to serve its teams and helped lay the foundation for future self-sustainability in under-resourced middle and high school teams in the City of Richmond.... Alison has introduced FTC to 3 Title One middle schools and has been working to sustain veteran FIRST programs in 2 Title One City high schools. Alison's incredible work ethic, maturity, and ability to offer creative solutions exemplify the tenets of FIRST. It is an honor to work with such a cheerful and smart young woman this season. We all know that she is destined for great things!"

Are you a new, 2nd year or restructuring team?  Is your team one mentor and/or one faculty advisor away from folding? You are not alone!

Make plans now to participate in a 60-90 minute session covering best practices to recruit and retain mentors for your teams. Mentors provide help with administration, fundraising, community outreach, and other tasks. The availability of technical and non-technical mentors is the biggest issue impacting the sustainability of new/restructuring teams.

There will be five opportunities for rookie/restructuring teams to take advantage of this discussion during offseason events and workshops.

More details will be provided soon regarding specific room location and time of each session.

Southwest FTC Scrimmage

FIRST Appalachian Robotics FTC team 7090 cordially invites all FTC Teams to the Southwest FTC Scrimmage on Saturday Oct 29th, 10:00am- 4:00pm

Location:  J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room, Bristol Public Library- 701 Goode Street, Bristol, VA 24201

There will be a costume contest with prizes, and they can accommodate a total of 12 teams.

FIRST Appalachian Robotics is willing to help any teams that are coming in overnight to find a place to stay (there are currently no hotels down town), and to map out some of the many local restaurants for them.

Contact and to register:



FIRST Tech Challenge Meet the Field- Flint Hill

Saturday, November 19, 2016, 09:00am - 02:00pm

Flint Hill School- 3320 Jermantown Rd, Oakton, VA 22124  (Event will take place in the school commons area)

FTC Meet the Field is a chance for all interested FTC teams to test their designs and work on any issues they may have using the actual playing field. Don't forget to bring your robot, tools, laptop, and equipment to this event!

This is a FREE event, but registration is required:

For more information see:

Contact: Michael Snyder



FIRST Tech Challenge Meet the Field- Richmond

Saturday, November 19, 2016, 08:00am - 03:00pm

Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Engineering, 601 W Main St., Richmond, VA 23220

Registration is now open! This is a FREE event, but registration is required.

For more information, see:

Contact: Maureen Carley

Robotics Scrimmage and Open House

When: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: Tabb Library (Yorktown, VA)
What: Scrimmage for FIRST Tech Challenge teams and Open House. We are here to tell you all about FIRST Robot Programs, robotics for ages 6-18.
Host: FTC Team 6027 L.E.D. Empire
Why: Robots are awesome!

*Note to teams*- to register for this event, please email us at

Your FRC team is invited to attend the FIRST Robotics Competition Workshops to be held on Saturday November 19th, 2016 at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Engineering (Richmond, VA).

Cost is $7 per person, which includes breakfast and lunch.

The registration form is now posted:

To read more about the workshop please visit our webpage:

Hey FIRST Tech Challenge Teams!  Matt Glennon, your Lead FTA here with today’s guest blog post!

As the 2016-17 FIRST Tech Challenge season kicks off tomorrow and our workshops are just a few weeks away, I wanted to make you aware of a few things that may be important to you:

  • You need to know how to reach out and get tech help when you need it.  If you’re looking for assistance, please email . This address will send your request to the entire tech team, ensuring that your questions are answered as quickly as possible, and by the person that is most knowledgeable about the topic you’re struggling with.
  • I want to make Android Studio teams aware of a bug in the Master branch of the FTC SDK on Github. If you’re seeing errors in Android Studio related to android-support-v4.jar, please jump over to our write up about it and get that fixed pronto.
  • Also, I want to be sure you’re aware of our repository of all things VirginiaFIRST FTC-Tech related. We’re trying something new this year - we’re going to constantly maintain this site with all of the technical resources that we can think of that teams will need to be successful and solve issues they encounter.

We will do our best to publicize changes and additions as they are made, but prudent teams will make it a point to check out the folder on a periodic basis.

Last, I’d like to give a quick shout out to our awesome Alumni Coordinator, Julie Miller () and invite all of our rising seniors to join us at one of our Alumni Mingles happening over the coming months. I urge all students to register as an alumni and reap the benefits of a lifelong friendship with an amazing group of people - passionate about science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.  I’ll be attending the Richmond Mingle.

All students can register as alumni here.
You can sign up for the mingles here. (Seniors Only Please)

See you at the workshops, in the pits, and on the field. Good luck!

Matt Glennon
FIRST Chesapeake Lead FTA

Hello, FIRST Alumni,

I have an exciting mentorship opportunity to pass on to you. FIRST Chesapeake has a number of teams which are in need of mentors for the upcoming season. (Mentorships can be different things. Meeting via Skype or Google Hangout works for some teams while some would like to have mentors help with after school meetings during the season). If you are able to help, please contact me with your location, preference for FIRST Tech Challenge and/or FIRST Robotics Competition, and availability. I will work with the coaches to try to find the best match between mentor and team needs. Also, I will be delighted to sign off on volunteer hours if you are keeping track of those for your employer or school.

Another equally exciting announcement is that we are having FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Socials in the District of Colummbia, Maryland, and Virginia this fall, and you are invited! Here is a link to the FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Association registration form if you aren't already on our list.

Signing up as an alumni guarantees that you will receive invitations to local alumni events and at the District Championship, updates on competitions and volunteer opportunities in your area, and valuable internship and employment announcements from our sponsors.

Click here to see a listing of the 2016 fall alumni socials. Invitations will be emailed next week to all members of the Alumni Association. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Thank you for your interest and support. I look forward to seeing you at the socials in the next few weeks!

Julie Miller
FIRST Chesapeake Alumni Relations Coordinator

Raytheon Grants - FIRST Robotics Competition

Funding for a limited number of FIRST Robotics Competition teams in Hampton Roads will be available through a generous grant by Raytheon. The grant places a special emphasis on Peninsula and South Hampton Roads FRC teams seeking funding for the 2016-2017 competition season. Funding levels will not exceed $1,000 and must be used for expenses identified in the grant application. Applications for FRC teams requesting grant funding must submit their application by 5pm, September 30th.

For grant details and the on-line application, please go to

United Therapeutics Grants - FRC, FTC, FLL and FLL Jr.

United Therapeutics is excited to announce their third season as FIRST sponsors!  FIRST@United Therapeutics Grant Applications for the 2016-2017 season are now open! Please click the following link to apply:

Applications will be accepted from September 1, 2016, thru November 1, 2016.  All teams must register with FIRST and have an assigned team number (or temporary team number) to be considered for sponsorship.  Sponsorship awardees will be announced on November 10, 2016 (subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances).

PTC Grant - FRC and FTC

For the 2016-2017 FTC season, in addition to donating software and services to all FIRST teams, PTC is also providing team funding grants, and hosting both hands-on and online workshops for FIRST teams at any level. Application deadline September 23rd.

PTC will provide $1000 grants which can be used for travel expenses, general robot expenses, computer needs, etc. Your team must be completely registered and registration fee paid to be eligible for this grant. (Reimbursable grant)

For organizations/affiliations with multiple FTC teams, up to two teams per organization/affiliation are eligible for a PTC team grant. Each team will need to apply separately for a team grant.

Click here for application page:

Rockwell Collins Grants - FTC

This grant places special emphasis on rookie and 2nd year teams. Application available here. The first round of applications will be due by midnight, October 2nd.   We will be reviewing applications and making awards on a rolling basis beginning September 1.  If any grant funds remain after the first application cycle, they will become available for a second grant cycle and announced at a later date. Reimbursable grant.

FIRST Grants - FTC

Rookie and Veteran teams can also apply for grants to help offset the costs of registration through FIRST. Rookie teams may apply for additional funds to use in the FIRST product storefront. This is a needs based grant, and preference will be given to Title I schools. Not sure of your Title I status? Check the Virginia Department of Education website. Application available here.

Applications will be reviewed and funds awarded on a rolling basis until November 2nd or funds are exhausted, so don't wait to submit your application! Non-Reimbursable grant.


TechShop STEAM Scholarship Program

TechShop is offering scholarships for their Fall 2016 afterschool STEAM program which provides training for youth ages 8 to 17 (30 hours of hands-on training). Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For any additional questions, please .

To apply:

The registration form for the September 24th FIRST Tech Challenge Workshops at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond,VA) is now open.

The workshop classes are being finalized and the schedule will be available soon.

Thank you for your patience!