If your school or other organization has a FIRST® LEGO® League team already, approach the coach to see if there is room for another student, and if the deadline has passed.
If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.
How can I find a team to join?
Washington State has between 550 and 600 FIRST® LEGO® League teams each year. Teams are formed in schools, community organizations, and neighborhoods. They can be formed by any interested adult willing to facilitate team logistics for about four months.
Both nationwide and within Washington, about 77% (~460) of the FIRST® LEGO® League teams are formed through schools, so the first place to look for opportunities to join a team is with your child’s school. Generally, the school-based teams are open only to students attending that institution because interest often exceeds capacity. If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.
About 10% of the Washington teams are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Boys & Girls Clubs. Generally, this is only one of many activities that the organization facilitates for its members, but if your child is interested in one of these organizations overall, this might be an avenue to pursue in your local area.
The remaining teams in Washington are formed through homeschool groups, religious organizations or neighborhood groups of friends. While these groups are not specifically closed to other students, they do not usually engage in recruiting members.
Since finding an opportunity with an existing team may be difficult, many experienced coaches and parents advise families new to the program to start their own team. The benefits to your child and for those who have an opportunity to participate are well worth the effort. If you need additional resources or encouragement, contact us at FIRST® Washington.
Absolutely, the easiest way to join a FIRST® LEGO® League program is to start your own team. Ask your principal if your school has a team; if not, encourage your principal to identify a teacher who would be willing to start a team with your help as a team volunteer. Please let your principal know that FIRST® is a collaborative partnership with private industry professionals and educators to inspire young people towards STEM.
If a school-based team is not a possibility, you may find another youth-focused organization that can help. Scouts, 4-H, and other clubs may also support FIRST® teams.
What are the payment options?
Invoices for the FIRST® LEGO® season are emailed to the team lead coach or team administrator in October. You may pay by check, purchase order, or credit card. If you pay by credit card, please use the payment link on your emailed invoice.
What is the time commitment for coaches, volunteers, and team members?
In general, as a coach or volunteer, you should meet with your team two to three times per week during the build and competition season from September through January; April if you make the World Championship. Two hours per meeting is an adequate time commitment. An occasional Saturday or Sunday is often added before the tournament to finish projects and practice.
Many mature teams meet throughout the school year, and some compete in off-season events during the summer. You, your family, and your available free time can determine how much time you devote to the program.
As a youth team member, the same applies. Be prepared to meet once per week from mid-September through January; April if you make the World Championship. Like any sport or club, time you invest in helping your team will add to your team’s success.