Wednesday, February 14, 2018

FIRST Tech Challenge Community:

It's been a great season and it's not over yet.  Upcoming is our  FTC Oregon State Championship on February 25th at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.


  • All FIRST Tech Challenge Teams are eligible to submit  for the  Promote or Compass Award. 
  • Rules and Guidelines for the Promote and Compass Awards were released in Game Manual 1 in July 2017.  
  • Teams with videos  ready for submission should read the FTC Oregon Compass and Promote Award Submission Rules. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE GUIDELINES 
  • Deadline for submission is Sunday, February 18th at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time  
Congratulations to our Super-Qualfier Teams who competed this past weekend! Our thanks to our many volunteers to helped us with the events! And to our Sponsors for helping us make it happen with their financial support and volunteerism. 

Tech Challenge Oregon Championship 
Everyone is welcomed to attend our Championship event at Liberty High School, Hillsboro on Sunday, February 25. Qualifying Matches will be underway by 10:15 am. This will be an exciting two division event with 48 teams.

Mentors of teams who advanced to the FTC Championship will receive an email on 2/14/18 sent to:   
Mentors of Championship teams should check their email for Championship Information and the Registration Link. Confirmation forms must be returned by Friday, Feb 16 at 9:00 am

JumpStart YOUR 2018/2019 SEASON 

I've heard from several schools/organizations  that they wish to start more teams at their school or in their district or neighboring districts.  Getting a FIRST Tech Challenge JumpStart, may be the way to go! Here is a link to the JumpStart flyer with more information  Deadline to apply is March 30th

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

SQ Logistics: 
We have SQ updated information for you posted on the SQ page - Maps, Parking, etc.
  • For SQ: Pi@Benson - since we have a "soft opening" the Judge/Inspection Schedule is published. All teams should check the schedule for the earliest scheduled activity time (Judging or Inspection). 
  • First scheduled activity is 8:45 am.  
  • For Delta/Theta @Evergreen - Teams are expected to arrive starting at 7:45 am and no later than 8:15 am. 
  • VENUE FOOD AVAILABILITY: At this time we concessions will not be available, so pack a lunch, snacks, take-out, delivery are your options. 
Super-Qualifier Weekend and the FLU 
Mentors we are asking that students, coaches and mentors who are ill with the flu not come to the events.
  • This season the flu epidemic is particularly serious. If someone is contagious, they should not attend the event. 
  • Please use this week to make contingency plans to replace students in key roles like drivers, drive coaches, presentation leads. Have a back up programmer, and a robot repair person. Do some cross training. 
  • CONTACT: Cathy if your whole team is unable to attend.
  • CONTINGENCY VOLUNTEERS: And in anticipation that some volunteers may be ill and unable to volunteer, we'd like to start contingency lists of team parents who will be at the events and willing to step in for someone who is ill.  If needed we would find the team to find the willing parent on our list.   
SQ: Inspection  Information - from SQ Lead Inspector Bruce Schafer  Inspections at the Super Qualifiers will be more rigorous than earlier in the season. We assume that your team has corrected issues that were identified at previous tournaments.  Here are some things that your team should consider before this weekend's tournament:

(1) They should self inspect their robot using both the Robot Inspection and Field Inspection check lists and correct any problems.

(2) They should watch for things that you may have missed before like the requirement that each robot have one of the approved switches even if they are using a Core Power Distribution Module that includes a built-in switch.

(3) Make sure the pair of phones that you will be using meet all the requirements on the Field Inspection.  Examples include:

     (a) The version number of your Driver Station App should match the version of the SDK and/or Robot Controller application that you are using.  If you have upgraded your Driver Station to 3.6 and your Robot Controller app is on an older version, either upgrade your SDK or Robot Controller app to 3.6 or install the matching Driver Station app on your Driver Station.  If you arrive at the tournament without having done so, find a Lead Inspector and ask for help.

    (b) Your Autonomous op mode(s) and your Teleop op mode should stop immediately whenever stop is pressed.  Your Autonomous op mode must stop when the 30-second timer expires if it has not already stopped.  (At the tournament the drivers should make sure that the count-down clock is on the Driver Station whenever an Autonomous op mode is being used.)
  • FIRST Tech Challenge West Super-Regional Championship - March 8 - 11, 2018 - Spokane Convention Center, Spokane, WA 
    • From the FTC Oregon STATE Championship on Feb 25, fourteen  FTC Oregon teams will advance to the FTC West Super-Regional  Championship.
      They will be part of a field of 72 teams from 12 states.
      Things you should know -
      • Flights in and out of Spokane are limited.
        • The organizers are expecting that most Oregon teams will drive to Spokane.
        • Flying might mean you'll need an extra day to fly out on Monday.
      • There is a block of Hotel/Motel rooms that are reserved for teams. - Check this link for more information 
      • There will be a teleconference meeting for mentors of Super-Regional Teams on February 28th - 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm.
        • The website says  "We will be hosting an informational web session for all the teams that will be advancing to Super-Regional.  Stay tuned for more details including how to join this briefing."
      • There is additional information about Tournament Fee ($500), registration and other details as they become available at the website. 
      • VOLUNTEERING at FTC West  is a great experience. Team parents traveling with teams are encouraged to volunteer. Our FTC Oregon volunteers not affiliated with teams are also encouraged to volunteer

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Archived team blast emails from the past week


Scouting for Alliances 
All Field Competition Results for all FTC Oregon League and Qualifying Tournaments are now posted on THE PURPLE ALLIANCE .
We have also submitted to the The Orange Alliance (aka #f57e25 Alliance, the official FTC posting site) but they are behind in posting results, so no idea when ours will be posted there.

 I see a high score match of 628 posted in Pennsylvania! WOWzer!  Is it on YouTube? 
Highest Match Score that I know of in Oregon is 454 scored at the TV/Rose City League Tournament last Saturday.

Payments for Super-Qualifier Weekend 
It's not automatic, but Jacie our payment tracker extraordinaire, updates this page Mon - Fri about twice a day. Let's turn Column-B ALL lime green by Monday, Feb 5 when SQ Payments are due. 
How to pay for SQ 
Check for SQ payments received 

SQ Host Leads:  Jennifer Gingerich (Delta), Terry Alexander (Theta) and Kristin Bride (Pi) are doing a great job recruiting volunteers and helping me prepare for our big SQ weekend next week.  Check the SQ Info Page for updated information as we add it.   
We'll be posting site maps, parking information, and other details sometime this weekend. 

 Is your team a DELTA ? a THETA? or a PI? 

Be sure to pay for your SQ by February 5th! thanks much

Cathy Swider
FIRST Tech Challenge, Affiliate Partner, Oregon
Dear FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Community:

Our thanks to our FTC Oregon Community for a great League Meet/League Tournament/Qualifying Tournaments for the  Relic Recovery Season. 

For the 104 teams who will not be competing at the Super-Qualifiers, we invite you to consider being part of the fun as a volunteer at our four remaining events. 

For our 94 teams Advancing to the FIRST Tech Challenge Super-Qualifier Weekend, last night  I sent an email to the primary mentors for each team. It was a test email to be sure you are receiving the information prior to the launch of SQ Venue Preference at 9:00 am 1/30.

Check your inbox for an email from .  Contact me if you did not receive an email last night, or if you are a primary mentor but are not listed as such in the official FIRST Team Registration system.

Event Results - Now that I have SQ sign-ups set to launch, I'll be working on posting event results over the next two days.

Take-away on the season: 
Improvements: We saw overall improved quality of engineering notebooks, over last season. We also saw a rise in the Control Award submissions. These are positive items. 

Places for  Improvements
?  Carefully reading needed of Game Manual 1 and Game Manual 2 and the Forum. Doing critical self-inspections of  Robot Inspection, Field Inspection and the Engineering Notebook. 

Looking forward to next season: Open applications for new League Hosts, new Qualifying Tournament Hosts, site search for new SQ sites. Workshops and a new ORTOP office with space for training, scrimmage and workshops! 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

 It's League Tournament and Non-League Qualifying Tournament Week #3

Last week to qualify for the Super-Qualifiers.
It's our biggest week with six events. Team Check-in at 7:45 am

  • Saturday, Jan 27 
    • Hood River Valley HS, Hood River – Mid-Columbia League Qualifying Tournament
    • Tigard HS, Tigard –  Rose City/Tualatin Valley League Qualifying Tournament
    • Chemawa Indian School, Salem – Capitol/Midwestern League Qualifying Tournament
    • Gresham HS, Gresham – Non-League Qualifying Tournament
    • Kelley Engineering Center, OSU, Corvallis – Non-League Qualifying Tournament
  • Sunday, Jan 28 
    • Kelley Engineering Center, OSU, Corvallis – Non-League Qualifying Tournament
Links to more information about the events and how to prepare for them  can be found here. 

Making Team Check-in a breeze! 

  • CLICK HERE for super helpful information for PRINTING the official FIRST Team Roster required at Team Check-in.  
  • And if your team members are not in the system or parents/guardians have not electronically signed the FIRST Consent and Release Form - Click here to download the paper FIRST Consent & Release form. 
  • Have your engineering notebook ready to turn in at Team-Check-in. Be sure Team # and Team Name are clearly visible on the front cover. 

Event Results 

It's been a bit busy in the ORTOP office preparing for events so the event board is not up-to-date.  Soon!

Super-Qualfier Weekend 
SQ Hosts: ORTOP has extended invitations to 3 teams today.

Delta - SAT- 2/10 - Evergreen 7878, 9123Canby Robotics
Theta - SUN - 2/11 Evergreen 9776, 12000, 12216, 7333, 13727Hillsboro HS Robotics
Pi- SUN - 2/11 Benson HS 8610Tobor Tech, Lake Oswego Robotics 

For teams who do advance to Super-Qualfier Weekend
  • Registering a preference for a SQ event will be made by online form beginning at 9:00 am on 1/30/18. An email with the link will be sent to the primary coach listed in our database. 
  • Teams will need to register their preference by February 1 at 9:00 am. This is a 48 hour window. Teams who have not submitted an online preference will be assigned to an event by ORTOP with no option to change. 
  • Event choices
    • Saturday, Feb 10 - SQ:Delta - Evergreen MS, Hillsboro  (32 slots)
    • Sunday, Feb 11 - SQ: Theta - Evergreen MS, Hillsboro (32 slots)
    • Sunday, Feb 11 - SQ Pi - Benson HS, Portland (32 slots) 
Volunteering for Super-Qualfier Weekend 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It's FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon  League and Qualifying Tournament Week #2! 
SOAR! - Columbia Basin! - Silicon Forest! 

We had a great time at the Central Oregon League Tournament! An exciting day of action as we kicked off our tournament season. 

As with all first events of the season, we learned a bunch.  Here is a short list: 

  • Bring a hard copy of your Engineering Notebook ready to surrender at Team Check-in upon your arrival at the venue.  This means hand it in when you hand in the Team Roster/Consent Forms. 
  • You must have your Team # and Team Name on the front cover or else the judges have no obligation to read it. 
  • Work on your Engineering Notebooks to be sure they are in complete and in compliance. Your team's ability to win an award depends on it. 
  • Here is the long list for Tournament Prep 
  • Our thanks to all of the FIRST Tech Challenge Teams who volunteered at FIRST LEGO League Tournaments this season. You're willingness to share your FIRST experience with others and help make events happen is Gracious and Professional! 
  • Our own FTC Events - We are in need of volunteers for our own events! 
    • FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Volunteer Page 
    • Gresham QT - 1/27  and OSU - 1/27 &1/28 
      • Needs logistics volunteer (pit, door/field queuer, timekeepers - can be teens) 
      • Need Inspectors! Must be an adult 
      • any teams that want to be be Technical Assistants and help teams in the pit at Non-League Events, contact Cathy. 
      • If you have FTC Alum attending Oregon State University, let them know about the events on Jan27 & Jan 28. Encourage them to volunteer. We have Alumni patches for them. 
    • Please note: Judges and Referees cannot be associated with any FTC team currently competing in this season. Even if the team is not competing at the event the person wants to volunteer at. 
  • Applications to be a Super-Qualfier Host are being accepted until Jan 19. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Yahoo! It's Tournament Time!

Tomorrow is our first FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon League Tournament!  
Shout out to our Central Oregon League kicking off the tournament season. 
Tune in for the Live Stream on available @ 
Our thanks to Charlotte Van Valkenburg and Scot Brees, Co-League Managers. They also received a lot of help from FRC #5468 Chaos Theory, Summit High School to make the meets/tournament happen.

Saturday, January 13th
Opening Ceremonies 11:30
Qualification Matches 1-4 12:00
Qualification Matches 5-17 1:30
Alliance Selection 3:00
Elimination Matches 3:15-4:15
Final Match 4:15
Closing Ceremonies 4:30

Super-Qualifier Host Application Process now OPEN 
I hope teams have taken time (or will take time) to consider being a Super-Qualifier Host for our upcoming events in February. Information and live online application link is now available.  
Application Process is open from January 12 – Jan 19   CLICK HERE 

It was announced this week that this season will be the last for the FIRST Tech Challenge Super-Regional Championship. Read all about it in Ken Johnson's blog. 
I have assurances that going forward (starting with the 2018-2019 season) when we send teams from State to World Championship, the number of slots allocated to each region will be proportional to the number of teams in that region.  With 200 FTC Oregon teams, that will provide more advancement slots than most regions will receive.


Click on FTC Team Resources at

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

FTC Oregon Teams,

I've been trying to send only one email a week, but we've hit serious tournament season.
Key items:
1. You can now access the QUICK GUIDE to League and Non-League Qualifying Tournament Preparation - CLICK HERE  . Please read it and share with your team members. It is in your best interest to do so.
2. As of last night the FIRST LEGO League Championships were needing to fill 70% of the logistics roles for the tournaments this weekend at Liberty HS in Hillsboro. Please help if you can. Not all roles are all day.  
  • This includes team check-in, judge door assistants, pit runners, Game Announcers.  All of these can be filled by FTC kids or adults.  
  • If your team or some team members can volunteer, please do so. 
  • We are letting you hit the easy button and send an email to Pat Schafer at  Send her a list of names of kids and what they can do. 
  • Printing a Team Roster showing the team member has a FIRST Consent form electronicatlly signed or attaching a paper one will do for check in.  
  • Also still needed are adults for Sunday Judges - Robot Design and Core Values. 
3. FIRST Tech Challenge Super-Qualifier Host  Application Process 

Let me preface this by saying, I can't pull off the Super-Qualifiers without the help of the FTC Oregon Community.  I'm a staff of one FTC person at ORTOP.  Please consider if your team(s) can step up to be a SQ Host. 
    • Application Process is open from January 12 - Jan 19.  Opening on Jan 12 to allow teams adequate time to discuss the opportunity prior to submitting an application.  SQ Hosts to be announced on January 22nd to allow them to get started on their planning process. 
    • ONLINE LINK TO APPLICATION WILL BE OPEN AT 10:00 AM ON JANUARY 12th  - CLICK HERE to PREVIEW THE QUESTIONS (but not submit responses). I really want teams to discuss and think about it before applying. This is a group decision, not one-person's decision to apply and then tell everyone else they are doing it if chosen. 
    PLEASE READ THE SQ-HOST DESCRIPTION BELOW PRIOR to reviewing the application questions.  
    • Accepting applications for 3 FTC teams to be SQ Hosts for the 3 SQ events on February 10 & 11 at Evergreen MS in Hillsboro and February 11 at Benson HS in Portland.
    • Successful execution of SQ Hosting, determined after an assessment post-event, will earn the team an automatic slot at the FTC Oregon State Championship. 
    • Eligibility 
      • Hosts can be a single team OR  multiple teams banded together from one school (Host Group) considered as one SQ Host for a single event but only one advancement slot to the championship can be extended. 
      • Teams that did not advance out of their league or non-league event are eligible to apply as SQ Hosts and would earn a slot at the championship with a successful post-event assessment. 
      • If a team has advanced from their league or non-league tournament, they must compete at a different SQ event than they are hosting and would earn a slot at the championship with a successful post-event assessment. In the event the team advances via merit to the Championship from the SQs, the Host invitation is not transferable to another team unless the team is part of a Host Group for the same SQ.  This is a hard and fast rule. 
    • Team Host Responsibilities 
      • Load-in/Load-out and set-up of venue/tear down of venue  - rounding up about 12  people for both load-in/load-out. Having transport vehicles are a bonus. Must be willing to come to ORTOP (Beaverton)  to pick-up tournament equipment/materials or come back to ORTOP (Beaverton)to bring back  tournament equipment/materials.  
      • Recruitment of logistics volunteers from their own team, other teams or the outside community (judge door assistants, pit runners, Pit Admin, time keepers, field queuers, emcees/game announcers etc. )
      • Judges, Referees, FTAs to be recruited by ORTOP Staff.  Help from SQ Hosts asked to recruit Inspectors. 
      • Complete planning, management and implementation of volunteer hospitality (partially catered volunteer food) for breakfast and lunch. Must name an adult willing to be the SQ Hospitality Manger for the event.  Budget and some guidance provided by ORTOP staff. 
      • Lead SQ Host Adult(s) must be willing to attend online weekly planning meetings. 
    • If chosen, understand the level of responsibility and commitment needed. Teams are encouraged to discuss the opportunity with team members, mentors, team parents and others that would be your core group of volunteers prior to applying.  It is acceptable to name a willing Team Parent (not a team mentor/coach) as your Lead Adult SQ point person. Team Members need to be  involved in age appropriate roles as it is their SQ Host Slot. 
Cathy Swider
FIRST Tech Challenge, Affiliate Partner, Oregon
Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program -
FIRST LEGO League Junior / FIRST LEGO League
FIRST Tech Challenge / FIRST Robotics Competition
503.486.7622 VM / 888-653-2552 fax