Start a FIRST Team
Do coaches need robotics/tech skills? All coaches need is to model a can-do attitude to encourage girls and role model girl-led and girl-empowered mentality about tackling tech challenges. Learning with your team is an excellent way to role-model that this is a skill-building program—that not knowing is the first step to learning how to do something!
Can men be coaches? Anyone of any gender identity can be a coach. If both coaches are men, a third background checked adult female volunteer must be present at every team meeting.
Can married/partnered/related people be co-coaches? Yes, if a related pair are serving as co-coaches, a 3rd background-checked adult must be present at every team meeting.
How are teams formed? Team formation is self-coordinated. Teams gather the minimum number of Girl Scouts and two adult co-coaches to form a team. Once they have formed a team, they may claim a team spot. If teams need help finding Girl Scouts or adults to complete their team, we recommend that they reach out to their service unit to find people to join your team. Teams may be composed of Girl Scouts from multiple troops, individually registered members (IRMS/Juliettes), etc. as long as they are registered Girl Scout members. If your team is struggling to meet the team minimum, our STEM program staff may be able to connect you with interested Girl Scouts in your area.
Can I coach more than one team? Yes, teams can share coaches, meet at the same time, and share insights. However, each team will need their own materials, robot, and will complete their own unique challenge projects. Depending on demand and to have equitable opportunities across all our regions, we may limit the number of teams per coach we can support financially. Check with the STEM Program Manager before planning multiple teams.
Can Girl Scouts of Western Washington find my team a coach? If you are in need of a second coach to complete your team, we recommend recruiting an adult you know and work well with. Coaches do not need to be technology or robotics experts (especially at FLL Jr. or FLL levels). Coaches serve primarily as adult supervision and support for the team. Learning robotics alongside your team is an excellent way to show the team how these skills can be learned and developed through the robotics program. We will provide coaches with a coaching handbook and other resources to help get them started.
Can non-Girl Scouts be on the team? Girl Scouts of Western Washington sponsored teams are comprised entirely of Girl Scouts. Team members do not need to be from the same troop (or in a troop at all), but all must have current Girl Scout membership. Team members are welcome to join Girl Scouts in order to join the team. Membership in Girl Scouts is $25 a year and financial assistance is available. Non-Girl Scouts can serve as team support, fans, or mentors, but they cannot be on the official team, appear on the team roster with FIRST, or participate in competitions. (We will take all the cheerleaders we can get!)
Can Girl Scouts of Western Washington place my Girl Scout(s) on a team? We will try and connect interested Girl Scouts with teams that have open spots in their area. However, teams rarely have open spots. We require a minimum number of members per team, but we do not require teams to accept members up to their capacity. Sign up for our Individual Interest List.
How Girl Scouts of Western Washington Supports FIRST Teams
- FIRST registration and competition fees
- Use of a laptop with software
- Use of robotics kit
- Challenge Kit (yearly challenge parts and field mat)
- Custom team t-shirts
- Reimbursement for materials, snacks, some travel expenses (max amount varies per level—additional team fundraising may be required if advancing to competitions)
- Coach support & handbook
- Network of Girl Scout Teams, experienced teams and coaches as well as access to FIRST mentors and experienced teams.