The FIRST Robotics Competition in Louisiana is run by FIRST Louisiana-Mississippi, I local non-profit based in Metairie, Louisiana. Each year, the Regional competition, called the Bayou Regional, is held in the Spring in Kenner, Louisiana at the Pontchartrain Center. In 2018, a total of 60 teams competed in the Bayou, including 38 teams from Louisiana, 21 teams from other US states and one team from Mexico! The Bayou Regional is the only official FIRST Robotics Competition in the state. However, we do have off-season events in the Summer, where teams can practice and get more experience for new and Veteran team members. All FIRST Events are free, family-friendly, and open to the public (please no open-toed shoes!). Find out more about FIRST in our frequently asked questions. Need more information? Contact the FIRST Regional Director for Louisiana, Carolyn Arthurs.
FIRST Robotics Competition FAQ’s
What is FIRST Robotics Competition?
Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”
Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. But FIRST is not just robots. Veteran teams are also challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand”, present in front of judges, and use 21st Century soft skills like project management, communication, and leadership. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
What if my students aren’t really interested in robots?
There’s something for everyone in FIRST. In fact, the robots are really the platform to engage students in many STEM, Business, and Design interests as well as to create an atmosphere where these interests are celebrated in the same way that sports and arts are celebrated in our schools. But don’t just take our word for it! Here is a team-produced video, with a 7 year old FIRST Lego League team member as narrator, to explain…
What is the demographic of FIRST participants in our region?LA MS FY17 Youth-Participants-Demographics-by-State-Summary-10-11-2017
Where are the existing teams in Louisiana?
We currently have 38 Louisiana teams as of the 2018 season! Check the list below to see if there is a team in your area. Can’t find one? Start a team!2018 LOUISIANA TEAMS
The Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Louisiana
The 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition Bayou Regional will be held March 21-23, 2019 at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana. Visit the Event Info page to learn more! Once its confirmed, the Bayou Regional public agenda can be found at this link.
How do I start a FIRST Robotics Competition team?
7 essential steps to starting a FIRST Robotics Competition team:
1. Find support resources
First, familiarize yourself with the FIRST Robotics Competition. Then locate your region’s Regional Director or FIRST Senior Mentor. These people know the FIRST teams, participating schools, and FIRST-friendly businesses in your area. He or she can help you form a plan for getting your team funded, organized, and in touch with other teams in the area.
2. Enlist Coaches & Mentors
Each team needs at least one adult Mentor with technical expertise willing and motivated to “coach” the team through the build and competition season (and beyond). Also highly recommended are two or more other adults to help with administration, fundraising, community outreach, and other tasks.
3. Register and Pay
Registering your team’s information makes you a part of the huge FIRST Robotics Competition community. You’ll begin receiving communications from FIRST, along with a temporary team number in preparation for event registration in the fall. Create a team roster link to submit with your registration. (Please note that completing this stage of the process does not commit you to becoming a team.)
Registering includes event registration and ordering the Kit of Parts. We’ve made it easy to pay your team’s fees with favorable terms, online payments, discounts for rookie teams, and more.
4. Build your team
Find and invite at least 10 students who want to be part of a robotics team (the easiest part!). Be sure to emphasize that no technical skills are required, just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Recruit all kinds of talents, not just engineering and electronics.
5. Raise funds
Your team will need a steady supply of funds. Recruit local businesses to sponsor you. Many of them may already have a relationship with FIRST. We also have many fundraising opportunities you can explore. Grants are available for both rookie and underserved teams.
6. Learn about safety
At FIRST, student safety is always paramount. Every adult must become familiar with our Youth Protection Program (YPP). Take the time to watch our videos and read our youth protection materials.
7. Time to Build Robots!
Part of the fun is designing and building your robot and FIRST provides a wealth of information in our Resource Library to help you. Find everything from technical guides, to fundraising ideas, or fun activities for your team.
Can I use this in my classroom? Can it be implemented into a school district?
Yes and Yes! We have FIRST Robotics elective course codes that can be implemented into most Louisiana pathways. We also have School District packages that are ideal for incorporating the progression of K-12 programs, including after-school enhancements, into your parish schools. To learn more, contact our FIRST Senior Mentor, Eric Smith, for details.
What if we are home school students or are not associated with a school at all?
With the right mentors and support, home school and community teams can be very successful in FIRST Programs! Contact the Louisiana Regional Director to learn what program is best for you and how to get started!
What programs do you have for younger aged students?
FIRST offers programming for K-12:
How do I contact someone in Louisiana for more information, to volunteer, or to start a team?
We’d love to hear from you! Please contact the FIRST Regional Director if you have any questions or if you would like to start a team!
FIRST programs are 99% volunteer-based! We rely on industry and community mentors to work side by side with students to give them the most rewarding experience in FIRST. Become a Mentor! Contact us today. Its the hardest fun you’ll ever have!