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The Value of Off-Season Events: Interview with Allen Gregory IV

Allen Gregory IV Texas Robot Invitational DirectorOff-season events are another great way to hone robotic skills while also extending the regular season. In order to understand the value off-season events have for the FIRST community, we asked Allen Gregory IV to answer a few questions. Allen is not only the Engineering Coach for the Spectrum FRC#3847 team, he is also the Texas Robotics Invitational (TRI) Director.

What inspired you to create the Texas Robot Invitational
We wanted to have another summer off-season in the state of Texas and one closer to our home as well for local teams to attend that may have trouble traveling to go to events. We also wanted to get prepared for District events; we know that eventually Texas would be transitioning to the new event structure and we wanted to have experience hosting events at our school.


Texas Robot Invitational TRIWhat have been some of your memorable moments at TRI?

Having multiple pre-rookie teams start their FRC careers at our event. Often using robots loaned to them from a veteran team and getting a feel for the competition before they even have a name or number. Knowing that we are helping to excite whole teams of students and mentors and hopefully better prepare them for the task to come in January.

As it is, robotics season is an all consuming endeavor for much of the year. What is it about FIRST that keeps teams, coaches, parents, volunteers coming back for more? 
It always comes back to the impact that FRC has on the students. Every event is a chance for a student to learn, build confidence, make new friends, and have more experiences that put them on a path to future success. Everyone in FRC understands that the more we do the better the world will be as we continue to inspire students to do more.

Any words of advice for someone who lives in an area without off-season events who may be interested in starting one of their own? 
Off-season events are a big endeavor. They take a lot of planning and logistics but most importantly you need to have the support of your community. The Texas Robotics Invitational would not exist without the support of our dedicated regional directors, our school administrators, our wonderful friends on other teams, and the hard work of students and parents on our team. If you can have all those pieces fall into place, you can put on a great event.

What can the FIRST in Texas community do to help support off-season events?
There are a few things our community can do. The biggest thing is to encourage teams to participate in off-season events. This year we have done a good job of particpation but we want to have as many teams competing and learning all year long. The next thing you can do is volunteer. These events take a lot of work and FRC volunteer community is wonderful but we always have room for more people who want to give their time to make these events even better. The last thing I would ask is for everyone to spread the word and get new people to come to these events and experience FRC. The off-season is a great time to show your community about FRC and introduce potential new teams, members, sponsors, etc to the awesomeness that is FRC.

To volunteer, attend or learn more about off-season events contact our volunteer coordinator team. All events are free and open to the public. So, be sure and make plans to see cool robotics action during the hot summer months.