Frank Answers Fridays: July 7, 2014
Today’s good question comes from Calvin Panho, from FRC Team 383, The Brazilian Machine, out of Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil:
Hello Mr. Frank,
I'm Calvin Panho, mentor and coach for FRC team #383, The Brazilian Machine, from Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
First of all, I’m sorry for my English, I'm not the best with English grammar...
My question for you is:
It's possible to arrange close distance regionals in sequential weeks?
In our first years at FRC, it was very easy for us to program our trip to USA, but now with district events taking place over regionals it's getting very hard to adjust our time in US...
For a team in Brazil it's almost impossible to compete at the first week events (last year team 1772 had to send their robot before stop day), as well as staying for longer than 2 weeks, because of the prices our students need to pay for hotel, etc. So we got 2 options: compete in just 1 regional, and that is bad for us, or choosing between very restrict options...
Can YOU help us with that???
Thanks a lot,
Calvin, thanks for the question. I think your English grammar is fine. Much better than my Portuguese would be!
Determining when to have our Regionals is a big puzzle for us, with many competing factors that must be considered. Some of our events have traditionally been held in certain venues on certain weeks, and those weeks work well for those communities. For others, especially for events in new venues, we need to work around other activities that have already been scheduled at those locations, and often our first choices are just not available. We also need to take into account volunteer availability. Some events share a common volunteer base, so we can’t schedule them on the same weekend or we could face volunteer shortages. We also have equipment and support resources to consider. As an example, we don’t want to schedule 30 events on a single weekend because we have a limited number of staff on call for technical support – and you can imagine that it would be hard to provide proper service if several events had issues at the same time, the chance of which increases as the number of events on a given weekend increases.
As I said, this is a puzzle. We do prioritize the needs of the nearby teams and our volunteers when selecting dates, and unfortunately that can sometimes make things less convenient for teams travelling a great distance. I’m sorry about that, but I don’t know a better way to make things easier for the greater number of teams.