Greetings Florida FTC Teams, Volunteers, and Sponsors (Please distribute this email to your team members, parents, and mentors):

VELOCITY VORTEX is officially here.  I hope everyone is as excited about the game as I am. This game has several FTC firsts: (1) this is the first time that FTC has had reusable scoring elements (referees will have fun scoring this game), (2) this is the first time there is an opportunity to use features of your phone onboard the robot, and (3) this is the first time since 2010 since we have seen the need for a shooter.  The game manual, game animation, information about ordering field elements, and all information related to VELOCITY VORTEX can be found on the following FIRST webpage:

The following are the topics contained in this Florida FTC newsletter:

1.                  Kick-off Event Presentations Available

2.                  Florida 2016-17 Season League Structure

3.                  Update Your Core Control Modules (Repeat)

4.                  Florida Rockwell Collins Grants (Repeat)

5.                  ROBOTICON Tampa Bay (Repeat)

6.                  Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

Newsletter Details:

1.      Kick-off Event Presentations Available – All of the presentations from the Middleton High School Kick-off event have been posted on the website.  You can find them on the following webpage. 

2.      Florida 2016-17 Season League Structure – We are expecting to have seven leagues again this season.  However, we cannot finalize the league structure until we have a better understanding of how many teams we will have in each region.  I encourage all teams that will have an FTC team this season to complete the FIRST team registration process as soon as possible so that we can finalize our league structure.  The following are the planned seven leagues:

  • Northeast Florida League – Primarily consists of the counties around Jacksonville such as Duval, Clay, Saint Johns, Nassau, Putnam, Bradford, and Backer as well as all of the counties in the Florida panhandle.
  • ROBOT League – Primarily consists of the counties around Tampa such as Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk and it includes several norther counties such as Hernando, Citrus, and Marion.
  • Tesla League – Primarily consists of the counties around Orlando such as Orange, Lake, Osceola, and Sumter,
  • Space Coast League – Primarily consists of the counties east of Orlando such as Brevard, Seminole, Volusia, and Indian River.
  • Pinellas League – Primarily consists of the counties around Clearwater/St. Petersburg and the counties south of these cities such as Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte.
  • Palm Beach League – Primarily consist of counties around Boca Raton such as Palm Beach, Martin and Saint Lucie.
  • South Florida League – Primarily consists of the counties around Miami such as Broward and Miami-Dade.


3.      Update Your Core Control Modules – This is a repeat topic that was first released by FIRST in an email blast to all FTC teams on 6/22/2016. I encourage all teams to take advantage of the service available from Modern Robotics to upgrade you USB modules.  The feedback I have received is that it is taking about 2-3 weeks to receive your replacement modules from Modern Robotics. The following is the notice that was sent out about this topic by FIRST:

Update your Core Control Modules to the latest firmware. This upgrade applies to the Core Motor Controller, Core Servo Controller, Core Device Interface, and Core Legacy Module.

Modern Robotics will update and recertify your USB modules with the V2.0 firmware which was released in April of 2016. They will reprogram your modules, test all the ports and the functionality of each module to ensure it is operating correctly.  This upgrade will allow modules to be upgraded with future firmware releases from your MAC or PC.

For more information on how to have your modules upgraded, please visit the Modern Robotics site


4.      Florida Rockwell Collins Grants -- Rockwell Collins will again provide grants to Florida FTC teams this season. We will again be offering $500 veteran team grants and $750 rookie team grants on a first come first service bases.  On September 18, 2016, the Rockwell Collins grant applications will be sent to all teams that have completed the FIRST team registration process including having paid the FIRST registration fee.  The email will be distributed to team coach emails address that are added to the FIRST account system.

5.      ROBOTICON Tampa Bay – October 8 & 9

ROBOTICON is an annual FIRST Cross Program Showcase and FRC Off-Season event intended to provide teams opportunities for early season learning, robot build and practice.  The event is being held at the University of South Florida Sun Dome Arena Oct. 8 & 9.  There will be workshops, a STEAM Educators Conference, Innovation Fair and more.  

Tampa Bay ROBOT League Teams may participate in ROBOTICON at no cost, in appreciation for field use and volunteer support.  It’s $25 for teams outside of the local FTC league to enjoy build, scrimmage, workshops and training opportunities.  A full new season FIRST Tech Challenge field will be available.  

Register at

6.      Upcoming Outreach Opportunities -- Nobody tells the FIRST story better than FIRST teams! Join in any of these outreach opportunities to tell your story, connect with potential mentors and sponsors, and help build support and interest for new teams and programs, and hone our interview skills and rack up some outreach credentials at the same time.  The following are some outreach opportunity scheduled for the next several months:

Register to participate in any of these outreach events at

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