I’m starting my own independent team in Kentucky, and it’s proving to be difficult. I have the team members I need, but most of us lack building experience. We formed due to the disagreements I have with my school’s program director/coach. I have our school’s former director helping me to get a field and parts. The biggest issue I’m running into is finding sponsors/raising money and finding a coach/mentor. We have a document for potential sponsors that we’ve sent along with an email to some engineering firms and local small businesses, but we’ve had no luck in acquiring any sponsors. We have a notebook (a nice one at least) and that’s it. I don’t know where to look for a coach/mentor especially since we need them to be LGBTQ+ friendly and not sexist because we are a female dominated team with all queer and transgender members. I’m wary to try to find a teacher to be our coach because the school we go to has a robotics program, and we won’t be able to pay a teacher extra for helping us like they would be getting paid for working with the school’s teams. The one potential sponsor I have talked to will not take us seriously or give us anything without an adult. If you have any advice please give it to me because while I have experience with VRC, I don’t have experience running my own independent team.
Sorry to hear of struggles - first resource is find out who your RECF Team Engagement Manager for your area. They may be able to connect you with a mentor for your team.
As for holistically team needs/resources, VEX has teams.vex.com as a one stop for all the getting started considerations. There is another thread in the forum about resources for teams.
LGBTQ+ friendly can seem daunting - but I suspect you can find a good adult role model. I do not know where in KY you are located, Louisville easier than other… Dunno .
Again, do reach out to your ReCF TEM !
If the students are comfortable with the robotics side of a mentors responsibility could you just ask a parent of someone to be mentor from the legal side? I would hope you would have support from a parent to do this and feel they would treat members of the team right.
A lot of independent teams have parents sign off and go to events without being particularly involved in the day to day mentoring you might be used to from a HS coach.
Realistically you could get a parent of a team member to be your coach (I think legally your team contact needs to be an adult on the RE side). Honestly although they would not be able to provide as much assistance as an actual robotics coach (experienced one) would be able, it should satisfy your need for an adult/coach. I personally know of a few teams in my region that have their teams set up this way, and it seems to work out just fine for them.
Good luck this season, and I’ll definitely be rooting for y’all. I hope y’all do well, but above all else, have fun this season! Robotics can be stressful at times and don’t let these issues prevent y’all from having a rewarding season!