Volunteers are the backbone of any event, and include crowd control, registration, and merchandise selling at the entry-level, all the way up to Master of Ceremonies, Referees, and Volunteer Coordinator for those with many years of FIRST® experience. Every position is critical to the event’s success, ultimately creating a seamless and incredibly fun experience for the teams and spectators in attendance.
Official FIRST events, including FIRST® LEGO® League Explore Festivals, FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge Tournaments, FIRST® Tech Challenge Provincial Championships, and FIRST® Robotics Competition District Events, generally run from November to April each year and are held in cities across Ontario and beyond, including right here in Ottawa! Learn more about FIRST events in the area.
Important Note regarding COVID-19
All FIRST Robotics activities worldwide have been suspended for the time being, based on guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and local health officials, as well as the declaration of states of emergency across many jurisdictions. As of May 13th, 2020, the 2019-20 season has concluded, and all remaining Tournaments/Competitions have been cancelled. Efforts are now being made to prepare for the 2020-21 season, set to begin in August. Read the official statement from FIRST here: https://www.firstinspires.org/covid-19
Register to Volunteer
There are a few steps you’ll need to take to become an official FIRST Volunteer:
- Register for a FIRST account
- Complete your User Profile, as well as the Consent & Release Form
- Complete the Youth Protection Program screening
- Search for and Select an Event
- Submit your Application
Check out the full Step-by-Step Guide to Volunteer Registration for more detailed instructions. For more information regarding upcoming events, as well as the volunteer positions available, check out the programs listed below.
Youth Protection Program
To ensure the safety of all participants, mentors, volunteers and spectators, every volunteer must complete the Youth Protection Program. This includes a police background check every 4 years, as well as online training courses that cover topics like creating a safe environment, how to identify abuse, and the proper method to report code of conduct violations. For more information, please see the Canadian Section of the YPP Screening Guide, or the FIRST Resource Library.
Advice & Assistance
Our Executives have decades of combined FIRST experience, and they’re ready to provide advice and assistance to any new Volunteers! From registering, to choosing an Event, to finding the right role for you, our Executives can help walk you through the entire process. To get in touch with us, you can fill out our Contact Form, reach out to an Executive directly, or visit us in-person during our Office Hours.
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) District Events
There are currently 11 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) qualifying District Events held across Ontario, running from Late February to Early April, including:
- Durham College Event (Oshawa, ON) – Date TBD
- Georgian College Event (Barrie, ON) – Date TBD
- Humber College Event (Etobicoke, ON) – Date TBD
- Ryerson University t Event (Toronto, ON) – Date TBD
- Carleton University Event (Ottawa, ON) – Date TBD
- University of Waterloo Event (Waterloo, ON) – Date TBD
- York University Event (North York, ON) – Date TBD
- Windsor-Essex Great Lakes Event (Windsor, ON) – Date TBD
- North Bay District Event (North Bay, ON) – Date TBD
- University of Western Ontario – Western Engineering Event (London, ON) – Date TBD
- McMaster University Event (Hamilton, ON) – Date TBD
At the end of the regular season, top-ranked teams in the Ontario District are invited to attend the Ontario Provincial Championships at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga in mid-April. Teams that are successful at the Provincial Championship will then advance to the FIRST Championship in Detroit, Michigan at the end of April and represent Canada on the world stage.
With many Volunteering opportunities outside of Ottawa, local FIRST Alumni, Mentors and Volunteers like to get involved and attend other District Events across province. To help lower transportation costs, CU FIRST is organizing carpools to events across Ontario this season for all FIRST volunteers living in and around Ottawa. If you are interested in participating in our carpooling program, either as a Driver or as a Passenger, please send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Ontario Provincial Championship
In Ontario, FIRST Tech Challenge is currently running as a Pilot Program, with 36 teams registered across the province competing at a single Provincial Championship event.
The Ontario FTC Provincial Championship is hosted at Durham College in Oshawa, ON, and typically takes place in mid-January.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Tournaments
Dozens of Challenge-division Qualifying Tournaments are held across Ontario each year from November to January. The Tournaments closest to Ottawa are:
- Ottawa FLL Qualifying Tournament (Ottawa, ON) – Date TBD
- Kingston FLL Qualifying Tournament (Kingston, ON) – Date TBD
- North Bay FLL Qualifying Tournament (North Bay, ON) – Date TBD
- Durham FLL Qualifying Tournament (Whitby, ON) – Date TBD
The winners from these qualifying tournaments will advance to the East Ontario Provincial Championships, held in January/February:
- FLL Ontario Provincial Championship East (Oshawa, ON) – Date TBD
In addition, FLL Challenge teams are often invited to show off their robots at middle school and high school-level FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions across Ontario, which run from January to April
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Explore Festivals
Several FIRST LEGO League Explore-division Festivals are held across Ontario each year from November to January. The Festivals closest to Ottawa are:
- To be Determined
In addition, FLL Explore teams are often invited to show off their projects at middle school and high school-level FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions across Ontario, which run from January to April