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Who are FIRST Mentors? Our team members say it best...

A Mentor...

Can be a person of any age, teaching others what they know. 
Brings either technical or non-technical expertise to the team.
Provides the opportunity for students to learn directly through experiences.

A Mentor…

Requires no special skills, but should have patience, dedication, and a willingness to learn alongside the Team.
Is any person who works with the Team in his or her area of expertise, for as little as one Team meeting or as many as all of them.
Helps provide valuable support and serves as a resource in his or her area of specialty.
Directs the process the Team follows to solve the yearly Game Challenge, without providing the solution him or herself.
Is a coach, teacher, motivator, and facilitator.

Anyone Can Be a Mentor

Teachers and Guidance Counselors can help with team building, conflict resolution, or college and career exploration and preparation.

High School and College Students can help teams work through programming or design challenges, share strategizing methods, and serve as role models.

Marketing Experts can teach students about promoting their team to others, including other teams, Sponsors, or the local community.

Graphic Artists can provide advice on team logos and T-shirts as well as website design, promotional materials, etc.

General Volunteers are valuable to help with scheduling meetings, providing transportation and snacks, assisting with fundraising, or providing carpentry assistance for Field construction.

Engineers can teach the team the necessary skills for the Robot's design, while demonstrating the engineering design process.

Programmers can teach the team about programming principles and help the teams to troubleshoot programs.

Getting Started

The Mentor as a Facilitator

As a Mentor, it is important to be involved, but it is equally important to make sure the process is directed and completed by students. Mentors differ in the amount of instruction they give their teams. Some give very little, and others give much more. While Mentors are often teachers, it is important that the role they play on a team be that of a facilitator. The difference is outlined below:

Teachers communicate knowledge they have learned on a given subject to one or more people,

Facilitators enable communication within a group so that everyone contributes knowledge and experience toward the solution.

Students will gain the most from the experience if they are the driving force behind the actual Robot planning, building, and programming. The team should design and build the Robot with only limited assistance from adult Mentors. This way, students may become complex problem solvers by finding solutions themselves and developing confidence in their ability to do so.

Gracious Professionalism® - "Doing your best work while treating others with respect and kindness - It's what makes FIRST, first."

12 Basic Guidelines for Mentors

1. Be a mixture of honest guide and cool teacher.

2. Avoid the temptation to do the work or to deprive Team members of the chance to discover the right answer on their own. Mentors should guide a Team without directing it. This creates the best learning and growth experiences for Team members.

3. A Mentor's behavior and attitude can and will influence how a Team chooses to respond to the environment around them throughout the season and at events. Demonstrate and encourage Gracious Professionalism® at all times.

4. Foster discussions between all Team members and groups. Discussions are critical for effective brainstorming and strategy development.

5. Patience is a necessity. Practice it, especially with the most trying of students.

6. Never use sarcasm while teaching or helping someone. A good Mentor never resorts to sarcasm and anger to hasten the process of learning.

7. Mentoring is a two-way street. It is as much a job for a teacher as it is for a learner. Practice both with equal humility.

8. Never let students indulge in fruitless activities during learning hours. Find something to teach in all activities and try to make every activity an educational experience.

9. Infuse enthusiasm in every activity and part of the Challenge. To spur creativity, mix humor and a passion for learning and discovery.

10. Get involved in technical and non-technical experiences. Be supportive to students in both regards.

11. Be the Team cheerleader, enthusiast, and leader. Happy Teams win accolades and learn the most.

12. Forging relationships and gaining friends are far more valuable experiences for Team members than participating on an unhappy Team and gaining meaningless trophies.

Job Descriptions

FIRST LEGO® League Jr.

Job Description:

Facilitates meetings and helps team to orchestrate the work
Help the team in following Challenge instructions and guidelines
Administrative responsibilities such as registering teams
Support the learning process, while allowing team members
to make critical decisions through the building and poster development processes
Desire to work with students 6-10 years of age

FIRST LEGO® League

Job Description:

Help the team set realistic goals
Facilitate meetings and help the team to coordinate the work
Administrative responsibilities such as tournament registration and communication
Relay all aspects of FIRST LEGO League guidelines and rules to the team, other Coaches, Volunteers and parents
Desire to work with children 9-16 years of age

FIRST Tech Challege & FIRST Robotics Competition

Non-Technical Mentors

Scholarship Mentor
Help students, mentors and parents, find scholarships available for FIRST students
Coordinates applications for student/Mentor nominations for awards
Marketing Mentor
Provides a basic overview of Marketing concepts
Help students with development and implementation of a Marketing Plan
Finance Mentor
Help the team in preparing a Business Plan, financial planning/budget for the season
Organize and Help with fundraising efforts

Technical Mentors

Robot Programming/Software Engineering Mentor
Help team members with writing code to control robot in C++, Java, Robot C or LabVIEW (depending on program)
Maintains process focus
Electrical Engineer Mentor
Help team with wiring the robot's power and signal system
Help and instruct the team members in the electrical and electronics systems on the robot
Mechanical Engineer Mentor
Help with the design and construction of the robot
Advise students on the safe use of tools and safety procedures


As a Mentor or Coach of a FIRST team, you are, through the kids, the key ingredient in the success of your team. Your contribution to the success of FIRST programs and ultimately to the success of FIRST is immeasurable.

If you'd like to join us as a sponsor, volunteer, or to bring FIRST ® to your school...

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