August Team Update

The CENTERSTAGESM presented by RTX Season is almost here!  We will have four kickoff locations around the state (keep an eye on social media if you’re interested in the Lafayette kickoff), and would love for your team to attend one to see the field in person and get some freebies from our sponsors!  We will also be announcing the full season calendars for all of our programs on September 9 in conjunction with kickoff.

It is important to note that event preferencing will take place earlier this year to help our staff and volunteers plan for their events.  That means teams must be nationally registered with two coaches through YPP by October 1 in order to participate in qualifying tournaments.  Event preferencing will take place October 9-13.

This season I will be hosting a series of Coaches Corner calls to communicate important information, give season reminders and updates and give all of you an opportunity to give feedback and ask questions.  I hope you will join me for the first call of the season on Tuesday, August 29.

As a reminder, if you missed a team blast, all of our emails are posted on our blog at: blog/

If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to me anytime.  I can be reached via email at or you can schedule a call with me using this link.

All the best,


FTC Coaches Corners

New this season!  Calling all coaches and mentors! You’re invited to join us for the first of our monthly Coaches Corners. During these virtual meetings, we’ll share best practices for coaching a FIRST team, provide essential coaching resources, and discuss necessary administrative tasks. Every Coaches Corner will end with a Q&A session, so come prepared to ask your burning questions.

When:  Tuesday, August 29 at 7:00 pm.

Reminder:  FIRST Grant Policy

As you are registering your team, here is an important reminder regarding the FIRST HQ Grant Policy:

“FIRST receives grants from various Donors which are designated to FIRST Teams. These are restricted donations with designations imposed on FIRST by the Donor(s). Restricted grants help FIRST teams cover the cost of FIRST registration and associated materials available through the FIRST Dashboard and FIRST Tech Challenge Storefront. At the end of the season, any unused restricted grants funding remaining in FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge team accounts is returned to the Donor’s account for use at the Donor’s discretion.”

What this means:  If you are anticipating receiving grant funds, you can still register your team, but do not pay until those funds are available in your dashboard. Unused funds are returned to the donors at the end of the season.

Consent & Release Form

Good news!  FIRST HQ has modified their Consent & Release Form so that a separate Indiana Form is no longer necessary!  This means that all of the forms your team members’ parents need to fill out are in the FIRST dashboard, and you will only need to print that roster to bring to competition.

House Enrolled Act 1382

We did it! Thanks to your continued effort and dedication, there will now be an anticipated $3.5 million available from the state for competitive robotics for schools.

We know many of you are anxiously awaiting instructions on how to access this funding, and we expect to know more by the end of August.  FIN Staff will be hosting a series of virtual Town Halls when we get that information from the DOE to answer any questions you may have.  We will also send a team blast to update you when we have instructions on how to apply.    In our playbook we have a “course”  that outlines what we know at this point.  There is a toolkit of resources for you to use to be ready for the application.

State Championship and Advancement News

The State Championship is scheduled a little later this year; it will be held Saturday, March 9 at the University of Indianapolis.  It is important to note that the payment deadline for World Championship teams is March 21st, and that registration amount is $2500.

We expect to learn how many teams from Indiana will advance to Houston in late December.  There were 196 FIRST Tech Challenge teams at the 2023 FIRST ENERGIZE Championship, that number will increase to 224 for the 2024 FIRST IN SHOW Championship, and will further increase to 256 for the 2025 Championship.

Game Manual Part 1

FIRST® Tech Challenge released the Game Manual Part 1. Every team should read over and make sure to understand all of the rules outlined in Game Manual Part 1, which include robot build rules, competition rules, advancement rules, etc. For a quick reference of some of the changes for the upcoming season,  please check out this recent blog post.

NE Indiana Teams:  Grant Opportunity

Grant Details:
The FIRST®/BAE Systems Team Grant Application period is now open for FIRST Lego League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) teams. If you are located within 70 miles of Fort Wayne, you may be eligible.  Interested teams should apply via  this link.

FTC Application Deadline:  September 22, 2023

  • Important: FLL and FTC teams should not check out or pay for your season via FIRST until you have confirmed receipt of a BAE Systems grant.

For questions, please contact

For nearly 30 years, BAE Systems has supported national nonprofit FIRST® to inspire the next generation of innovators, creators and problem solvers. BAE Systems Electronic Systems (ES) sector is proud to continue its support as a national Strategic Partner for 2023-2024 as part of ES Community Investment’s Tech Power* Program. Tech Power maximizes our impact on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and improving the lives and wellbeing of Veterans and their families.

FIRST Mentor Network

Is your team in need of mentors?  Did you know that you can set up a FIRST Mentor Network profile in your dashboard and then your team will be visible to potential mentors in your area.

Visit the FIRST Mentor Network site –

After setting up your profile, start posting links to it on social media.  Create a one-pager and share with your local chamber of commerce.  Share it with your local sponsors to encourage mentorship.  Take a flyer with you to local outreach events and hand out to adults.  Create a poster with a QR code encouraging people to sign up to be mentors.  Use – canva to create your poster- printing is inexpensive.

New Storefront Items

AndyMark Game Set Orders:
We’d like to share some exciting news on the options for teams to purchase FIRST® Tech Challenge game sets for the 2023-2024 season.

FIRST Tech Challenge Storefront 

On Saturday, 9-September-2023 at 12:00pm eastern time, AndyMark game sets will be available for purchase through the FIRST Tech Challenge storefront. This means that teams will be able to use 2023-2024 season grant funding to purchase their game sets!

Robits Building System

Robits is a new AndyMark building system for FIRST Tech Challenge teams, designed with accessibility in mind. Robits encourages rapid iteration and promotes development of critical thinking and problem solving.

The Robits system is designed to reduce complexity and enable robust builds. Parts align to a common 1/2″ grid simplifying construction and allowing alignment of both structure and motion components. Optimized resolution of components simplifies the system while allowing teams to always have the parts they need to complete a build.

Robits is an excellent cross-program system utilizing many common features and components FIRST Robotics Competition teams have grown to prefer.

Andymark will also offer a Robits kit with instructions for inexperienced teams to build a standard robot that can perform the basic tasks required for CENTERSTAGE competition, and can be modified to be more competitive.

You can learn more here.

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