Brief Overview (more details below):
- In 2008 we started Team 2905, bringing the FIRST Robotics Competition to Turkey for the first time.
- In 2015, We held our first Off-Season Tournament
- As of 2018 we began hosting official FIRST Robotics Competition tournaments in Turkey.
The above spreadsheet can be viewed fully through clicking here.
This list unfortunately does not contain every event the Foundation has attended/helped with, however it provides a good idea of the activities the Foundation is a part of.
From the beginning in 2015 the Foundation has been attending public events with a booth/table, and inviting teams to bring robots to show the program to the public – the largest among those kinds of events being Teknofest. These events help the Foundation present the program to new sections of the public, and attract the interest of schools and sponsors, accelerating growth of the program towards our mission of having a team in every High School in Turkey.
The Foundation has been running educations since the beginning, initially only at kickoffs, where we gather together, learn the game and rules for that Season/Off-Season, and hold educational workshops intended to help the teams participate in the program with more confidence and well-honed skills. As we’ve grown, and been able to acquire a suitable office space for it, we began assisting teams in educating each other, as well as holding our own education events from time to time. We provide sessions to help mentors through the process of guiding their teams, or train volunteers ahead of events, or to help teach students how to build a robot, or how to be a gracious professional. The Foundation tries to provide free-of-charge educations to improve all who are involved in the program. The Foundation also provides the second floor of it’s office free-of-charge to all teams who wish to hold education sessions to improve the FRC Turkey community. The education sessions held at our offices are presented by all manner of individuals or groups with knowledge on the topic, often our alumni and volunteers are leading sessions, other times it is industry professionals from sponsor and supporter companies providing education, and often times it is present team members and mentors, taking what they’ve learned and trying to convey that to their peers to make the whole community better off.
The Foundation’s main goal when we started working full-time in 2015 was to get a regional running in Turkey. In order to do that, we needed more teams. In order to get more teams involved, more people needed to see the program, and see the events in person. This program can be understood in five minutes by attending an event, or in many weeks by explaining it, without seeing it in action. In order to accomplish the goal of starting a regional therefor, we held Off-Seasons annually from 2015 to 2018. These Off-Seasons were meant to show potential schools, and potential supporters and sponsors what the FIRST Robotics Competition is all about. For the Off-Seasons, veteran teams used robot parts they had already accumulated, and the Foundation purchased kits for rookie teams, and provided it to those teams at about 10% of their actual cost. The 10% of that was required as a donation to register for the event was to ensure that teams would compete, and not just walk off with the parts and forget about the event. From 2015-2017 we brought in, and distributed 20 new rookie kits per year, and in 2018 we brought in and distributed 27 kits. The Off-Seasons grew from 27 teams in 2015 to 61+ a waiting list in 2018.
In 2018 the Foundation held its first official regional. This made Turkey the 7th country to hold official FIRST Robotics Competition events, and at the time opened the door to new teams in Turkey receiving far more grants from FIRST itself (which they have generously given to many Turkish teams) We’ve quickly grown to be the country with the 3rd most teams in the program in 2020 (after the U.S. and Canada). In 2019 due to rapid growth, we added a second regional in İstanbul, holding two back-to-back events, we continued this in 2020.
Retirement of Foundation Off-Seasons
In 2019, having achieved the aims of the Off-Seasons, the Foundation stopped holding its own Off-Seasons, and instead opened the option to the teams to hold Off-Seasons, with the advice, and field/elements from the Foundation, under a set of minimum requirements for an event. Three teams in 2019 held great Off-Season events across the country, marking the first time that full-scale events were seen in Ankara and Mersin. The reasons for ceasing the Foundation-run Off-Seasons were these:
1. Turkey now has official regionals, there is no longer a need for us to run Off-Seasons to show the program to the people.
2. Turkey had started gaining teams very quickly, we no longer saw a need to run a large, expensive event in order to spur team growth.
3. We could more efficiently support teams who need help to grow and sustain by directly providing them with grants, instead of paying for a large event.
4. It was at this point that teams had matured to the point that they could begin to handle the undertaking of large events such as Off-Seasons on their own, so our decision to stop holding them wouldn’t mean an end to Turkish Off-Seasons, it in fact allowed them to multiply!
The Foundation has been financially supporting teams in Turkey starting in 2008 with Team 2905, and running all the way up to the present times, in which the Foundation directly supported 54 FIRST Robotics Competition(FRC) teams and 10 FIRST Lego® League Teams in the 2020 FIRST Rise Season. The Foundation also indirectly supports many more FRC teams by helping them find opportunities for funding.