In y’alls opinion who has the greater advantage, a home team or a school team?
school is definitely!!!
School teams for sure. School teams have the chance to select team members from a much larger group of people.
It depends on a lot of different factors. I’ve seen some home school teams that have access to knowledgeable mentors while the regular schools maybe not so much. Schools sometimes have all kinds of rules about forming teams - guidelines on being uber politically correct, having drivers take turns, and things like that, dispersing knowledgeable students among lots of beginner teams instead of concentrating them to make a winning team, for example. Also, I’ve known of businesses that are happy to donate to local non-profit organizations like clubs but their own regulations prohibit them from donating to government organizations, which might include schools; so sometimes fund raising can be better if you’re outside a public school. Of course, some schools have a lot of equipment like fields, etc. but they also might be closed over the weekend or on snow days, holidays, etc., so there is always that to consider. I would say that if the school doesn’t have good mentorship and doesn’t have much equipment or maybe has all kinds of crazy rules about who can be on what teams, you might be better off forming something outside the school system.
I think the best might be a hybrid where the team is part of a school, but is allowed to make its own decisions without being overruled by the school’s administration (or forced to go through them in order to get anything done).
Benefits of being part of a school:
Being part of a school makes it a lot easier to get funding, whether directly from the school or through your fundraisers having a built-in audience. Also, any success you have will be good publicity for the school, which may encourage more people with a connection to the school to help you out when you’re in need.
If you’re an independent club, you have to try a lot harder to spread the word about your team if you want to get funding. (You could try asking other VEX teams, but they need funding for their own teams, too.)
Schools also provide a built-in supply of people who can join your team, without you needing to tell them about VEX’s existence yourself or convince them to join a team whose leaders they may not know anything about.
Benefits of being independent:
On the other hand, there are also many cases where being part of a school (especially a public school) can make it harder to get things done, because there are usually a lot of regulations you have to follow.
On the forum, I’ve seen several cases where schools weren’t able to order V5 at a reasonable time because their school had restrictions on the date range where they could make purchases.
There was also one case last year where a team signed up for Worlds, but had to drop out when someone at their school spent the money reserved for the trip on something else.
And the example of the team that became 99371:
OakPark.com article about this
VEX Forum thread (starting at this point, post 20)
I’m sure this type of thing doesn’t happen very often (except with international teams), but there was one case in Skyrise where a team won their middle school state championship, but wasn’t allowed to go to Worlds because the community organization funding their school’s team was committed to having the season end in March. (They had good reasons for ending the season then, but they forgot to tell the school about the decision until after States.)
They wouldn’t allow the team to go without the school’s endorsement, even though the team was willing to fund the trip themselves.
The team went independent the next year, and (unless I’m mistaken) they became 99371.
I feel like the best possible situation is a school/home hybrid. if its a school program you don’t have to worry about funding or budget and there are other people willing to do it, and if you can bring home your bot to work on it, making it hybrid, you get the best of both worlds. but again this all depends on the school system and how flexible they are.
To echo what others are saying, school teams can get funding pretty easily. But, then again, school teams have problems.
Sometimes, school teams aren’t allowed to meet if the official mentor can’t make it, and that really slows down the process. And then there’s the time constraints of not being able to work until 3 in the morning if you need to.
A hybrid team is probably the best option. Being able to take parts home to work is really a lifesaver.
Whether your independent or school based, one of the most important factors should be finding a good mentor where you can get it. Finding a good mentor or coach should probably be more heavily weighted than the location of your team. Reason being, you can change the physical restraints of your team, but replacing a good coach is much more difficult.
I’m part of a school-only team. I really wish I were allowed to take parts home. I have accidentally brought screws and shaft collars home on occasion though.
For IQ it’s the home teams. You can buy your own robot, field, extra parts, everything for under $1000 from nothing.
I’m on a school team and we are aloud to take parts and the robot home, I guess we are pretty unique.