Blackwater Robotics will again be hosting a strategy session and human game on Sunday morning the day after kickoff. Determining how you want to play the game early on is crucial to the robot design process. This is our fifth season hosting this event. Being able to interact with field elements and have six robots (humans) move around the field early in build season can give your team a great understanding of how DEEP SPACE can be played.

Blackwater Robotics FIRST Team 1610
Sunday, January 6, 2019
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Charles Street Gym
Directly beside JP King Middle School
501 Charles Street
Franklin, VA 23851
For those of you who haven't been to our build site, we work in an old gym and have the full 27' x 54' of carpet available.  We'll have at least half the field markings in place and will work to have enough field elements built quickly so that we can be ready to hit the ground running Sunday morning (see attached pictures).
We're inviting the entirety of Hampton Roads and a handful of other southeast Virginia teams.  You don't need to bring anything except the game piece you receive in your kit to ensure we'll have enough to play the game.  We'll start off with a discussion of rule changes from previous years, ways to score points, potential strategies, the ranking system, and of course simulating game-play in a full scale area.
We'll have soda/bottled water/snacks and coffee available.  Some visiting teams have brought donuts/muffins/other breakfast food in previous years and that was a great help. We will wrap up before lunch so you can get back to your afternoon meetings (and so we don't have to feed you!).
Please let me know if your team plans on attending and how many people you estimate will attend. Happy Kickoff!

The 2019 STEM Takes Flight NASA Research Experience for Virginia’s Community Colleges program is now accepting applications. Since 2015, community college sophomores throughout the state have had the opportunity to apply for paid NASA research experiences at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore. These research experiences take place over 10 weeks during the summer. More than 20 positions are available, and all projects are STEM oriented.

Qualified applicants are undergraduate community college STEM majors, who are at least a rising sophomore and not graduating prior to May of 2019. They must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a full- or part-time student taking a minimum of six credit hours.

The program is jointly funded by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the Virginia Community College System.

The application deadline is Feb. 26, 2019. Learn more and apply online at

Deadline Approaching! Mentor Recognition: All mentors must be registered before 11:59 P.M. ET on Friday, December 14 to receive this season’s recognition items during National Mentor Month in January 2019.
Your team’s Lead Coach/Mentor 1 or 2 can invite/remove mentors by logging in and selecting the “Contacts Options” button under the Team Contacts/Roster section on the Dashboard page, then “Manage Contacts.”
Complete your Roster for 2019 DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE presented by The Boeing Company: Make sure your roster is completed now, so you won’t have to worry during build or event season. Ask parents to register their students today! We can help you keep your parents and your team members “in the know” and make sure they don’t miss out on any of the news and valuable information coming from FIRST®.  
Why is this so important? By registering your youth team members, you: 
  • Allow us to keep in touch with students about scholarships, internships and career opportunities 
  • Help us contact parents in case of emergencies 
  • Make it easier to create a team roster needed for events  
  • Provide FIRST with demographic data to help improve and grow our programs* 
  • Provide your team members with the ability to apply for some team awards  
*FIRST uses youth information to understand who our programs are serving – ensuring that they are accessible to all. We also utilize aggregate information to meet sponsor requirements, such as the total number of team members and the percentage of boys and girls. Private information is not shared.  
Get started today and learn more about registering youth team members by visiting our Youth Registration System Overview page.


With the new advancement strategy for our 2018-2019 season, FIRST® Tech Challenge will be inviting teams to FIRST Championship as they qualify from their state and regional championship events. Once a team qualifies they will receive an email invitation from FIRST Tech Challenge Headquarters. This invite will include important next steps in the registration process as well as badging, hotel, and travel information.

A team will not be able to sign up for a hotel room until their championship event-host has sent their team information to FIRST Tech Challenge HQ, and they have accepted their email invitation from FIRSTTech Challenge. Once a team has confirmed that they will be attending FIRST Championship, they will be able to book their hotel room blocks. 


We strongly recommend booking your team’s hotel rooms through FIRST. When you book with FIRST, you will:

  • Stay close to all the event action
  • Receive guaranteed low rates at FIRST-reviewed and sanctioned hotels
  • Enjoy FIRST-only contracted amenities at most hotels including complimentary Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking
  • Earn rewards points
  • Build your STEM squad by connecting with other teams


2019 FIRST Championship housing and travel discounts are available mid-December. Receive notification when hotel blocks and discounts become available so you’re ready to book when you advance to Houston or Detroit.

Showbest Fixture Corporation has generously funded a limited number of grants for FRC teams in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia for the 2018-2019 competition season. All registered FRC teams are eligible to apply. Funds may be used to defray costs associated with registration, travel and lodging, and materials. Funds may also support FRC outreach to grow more teams throughout the FIRST Chesapeake District. Grants will be awarded based upon need and/or anticipated outcomes. 
Awards will not exceed $4,000 per team and will be selected by a committee comprised of FIRST Chesapeake staff, volunteers, and Showbest representatives. Applications must be submitted on-line by 4pm on January 14th, 2019.
Awards will be announced on January 18th, 2019, and checks will be issued to teams by February 1st, 2019.
The deadline for submissions for the Dean's List is the 15th of the month prior to the event where the student will be interviewed.  If you are planning on submitting nominations for the Dean's List for any of the following January Qualifiers, the deadline for the submission is December 15 at 11:59 pm EST:
  • 1/6 FTC Charlottesville Qualifier
  • 1/12 FTC SWCC Richlands Qualifier
  • 1/13 FTC Reston Qualifier
Who is Eligible? Any team member who is in 10th or 11th grade may be nominated for the Dean's List Award. However, each team may only submit two nominations. Students who are in 10th and 11th grade that mentor the team (and do not actively participate as members of the team) are not eligible.
Other important items to note:
  • A mentor of the team who is unrelated to the student being nominated should submit the nomination for the Dean's List Award.
  • It is required that the coach/mentor making the nomination choose an event within their own state/region AND an event where they will be competing for the Semi-finalist to be interviewed.
  • The second student nomination must be for the same event chosen for the first student nomination. If you choose to submit only one student to an event, you will not be able to go back and add another student to a later event once the deadline has passed.
Here is a link to the Dean's List Nomination Guide for instructions on how to submit your nomination(s):'s-list-nomination-guide-us.pdf

Through the generosity of the FTC Charlottesville Qualifier site host University of Virginia School of Engineering, lunches are being provided free of charge to all participating teams and two of their coaches/mentors.  

Please pre-register your team and two coaches/mentors so we can provide our host with a head count.

We'd like to give them a head count by January 2nd, 2019- thank you!

A generous person has offered to pay the registration for the FIRST 100 REGISTRANTS who are attending the December 8th FRC Pre-Season Workshop in Falls Church, VA.

Don't delay- sign up NOW! (People/teams still need to use the form and register to attend)