How to Join the Team

What you need to know to register your student

You are probably hearing “Can I join the robotics team?”

What you should be hearing is “Can I join Team Resistance? It is part of FIRST.

Wait….. What?

What is FIRST? – FIRST is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students develop hard and soft skills for the 21st century. While building a robot it the obvious goal, team building, communications and creativity are just a few of the other skills that FIRST considers important. Find out more at

What is TEAM RESISTANCE ?- Team Resistance is a Jacksonville robotics team started more than 20 years ago by Todd and Lisa Lovelace to participate in the annual robot building challenge sponsored by FIRST. Until this year the group was located at their home; this year it will be located at Renaissance Jax.  Find out more at 

Renaissance Jax is a nonprofit that manages all of the FIRST events in Northeast Florida. This organization serves as the FIRST LEGO Jr. and FIRST LEGO League League Affiliate Partner, North Florida FIRST Tech Challenge League Management Team, and this year will be taking over Management for Team Resistance. Renaissance Jax is located at 2671 Gilmore St. 

Students meet one day a week from September to December  in supervised shop sessions to become familiar with skills they need to build a robot such as mill operation, lathe operation and working with hand tools. All shop sessions emphasize SAFETY and all operations are supervised by an adult mentor who is familiar with the equipment.

In January, the first Saturday after winter break, FIRST launches the robotics challenge with a video presentation that is viewed by the entire country at one time.  Team Resistance meets to view this as a group. This marks the beginning of build season which lasts 6 weeks. At this time most students will be asked to attend two sessions a week.

There is no cost associated with joining the team, but there are a few expenses usually totaling less than $100. If the team competes in a out of town competition, then expenses are more.

Team Resistance FAQ


What forms are required?

  • A media release form is required for competition.
  • Students will fill out a general information form called a ‘green card’ at the second meeting.

Are there other requirements?

  • We ask each student to provide drinks and snacks for one shop session in the fall and to provide at least one meal during the build season. The count for this is 20. In the past people have done everything from Publix sub trays to homemade lasagna. Your student is in charge of letting you know the date. Please include serving items. Dietary restrictions should be noted on the green card.


What is the time requirement?

  • From September to December students meet once a week  for four hours at Renaissance Jax to learn shop skills and get ready to program the robot. These meetings are Sunday afternoons.  During January and February (build season) students sign up for meetings twice a week as the team races to get the robot ready for competition. Sometime in March or April the team attends a single competition that usually  runs from a Thursday to Sunday.
  • During build season students can find balancing  the time requirement of robotics and schoolwork a challenge. We expect that students will put schoolwork first and parents are instrumental in making sure that happens. We have students who can tutor if the need arises.


What is competition like?

  • You kind of have to see it to believe it, but briefly 60+ teams enter a robot  in a TWO day competition that is staged on a court roughly the size of a basketball court.  There are six robots on the field playing at one time in two teams of three. Matches last three minutes. The goal of the game is new each year but might include scooping and tossing a ball, navigating an irregular playing surface or climbing a rope. The robots work in tandem with other robots in three minute sessions. A robot might participate in 5 matches  in pool play and scores are cumulative to determine which teams advance to final rounds. The atmosphere is akin to a sports competition with great highs, lows and lots of cheering. Team Resistance usually attends competition in Orlando, although we have traveled to Ft Lauderdale and Houston and St Louis in the past.
  • During the competition students are involved in several ways. Three students make up the drive team that is on the competition floor with the robot. Some students work in the pits where the robot is maintained between matches. These students have to be able to explain the robot to the judges who come around to interview students about the engineering process and what they know about how the robot works. Some students (the majority) scout the other robots by watching each competition and entering data into an app. This allows the team to select partners that mesh well with our robot if we are good enough to get into the finals. There are about 60 teams in a pool so we collect lots of data to sort through the field. Parents are welcome to attend the competitions and many do so.


How is the team financed?

  • The team receives some money from our sponsors: JEA, Johnson and Johnson Vision Care, Black and Beech and CITI Bank, but as with any non-profit, we can always use help.  We have students who are learning how to raise funds and can make a presentation to your or your business. We would like to earn money to help more schools set up junior robotics teams, and buy a lathe. If you (or your business) are interested in helping please contact Austin at  The total program costs in the past have been about 50K inclusive of travel costs.


Where are meetings held?

  • Meetings are held at Renaissance Jax,  a local non profit organization started by Mark McCombs, a Team Resistance alumnus,  and one of the team advisors. He is a UNF grad with a BS in mechanical engineering and started RJax to promote technology literacy for all ages in the Jacksonville area. The shop is located in a warehouse at 2671 Gilmore Street near the center of Jacksonville. Find out more at


What does the robot actually look like? How much does it cost?

  • The robot weighs about 120 pound and is built on a chassis that is about 2’ by 3’. Requirements change each year as the game changes, but robots in the past have been as short at 2 feet and as tall as 5 feet. Each team that pays the 5K entry fee is provided a kit of parts, the same for all teams, and some coupons for certain businesses that sponsor FIRST to buy additional gear. The team is also allowed to spend 4K for parts it wants locally. The money that can be spent on the robot is capped, but the money spent to support the robot is unlimited and there are teams that build robots in very nicely appointed shops.


Is it safe for my kid to be around all those machines?

  • Yes. Team Resistance is as concerned about safety as you are. We expect students to observe all shop safety rules. We expect all participants to listen to the adult mentors who provide safety briefing before each shop session.  The adult mentors are experienced machine shop veterans who volunteer their time to teach students how to use the machines safely. There are no exceptions to this and students who cannot comply will not be allowed in the shop. Team Resistance has a phenomenal safety record.
  • We require students to wear safety glasses in the shop. We provide these, but students can also bring their own if they are approved by a shop supervisor.  Students often bring their own out of preference. Students who wear glasses regularly may want to invest in a pair of subscription shop glasses. They are available at WALMART. Students are required to wear work boots, preferably with steel toes. Students may not wear long sleeves in the shop. Shirts must be 100% cotton and  tucked in. Jeans are required and must not sag. Jewelry such as bracelets and necklaces must be out of sight. Long hair must be tied back and braids or ponytails must be doubled up so they cannot fall into equipment.  


I have heard that FIRST Members are eligible for scholarships, is that true?

  • FIRST now sponsors $50 million dollars of scholarship money each year for students who are members of the FIRST program. So, yes, it is true.


What skills will my student develop in this program?

  • Each student chooses a specialty in the program and skills are dependent on that specialty. Some examples of ‘hard’ skills would be : operation of hand tools and power tools,  programming, video editing and photography, fund raising, marketing. Some examples of ‘soft’ skills would be cooperation, teamwork, leadership. FIRST has developed some of its own words and the most popular one is a hybrid of competition and cooperation, namely coopertition. It exemplifies the best of FIRST where a team will help another team get its robot going by loaning them a tool or giving them a part just moments before they will work to crush them on the game floor. The motto of FIRST is GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM and this spirit is pervasive in the event especially; they even  give awards to teams that demonstrate it during the competition.  


Why is our team number 86?

  • Teams that join FIRST today are given numbers in the thousands. Our team number shows that we were one of the first teams established and one of the few single or double digit teams in Florida still going after 20 years. This is due to the great leadership of Todd and Lisa Lovelace who gave countless hours of their time to keep the team going. They also recruited volunteer mentors who have been with the team through thick and thin. 

What is an OHMer?

  • Members of the team refer to themselves as OHM-ers. The Ohm is the SI derived unit of electrical resistance, named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Team Resistance, aka OHMers – get it?. It is the first of many eye-roll-inducing jokes/puns that are common in FIRST.  


Can you use volunteers?

  • YES!! We would love help in many portions of the program. We need help in many areas.
    1. Shop session volunteers
      • You don’t need to be an expert, just handy/safety conscious
    2. Promotional help
      • volunteering at showcases
    3. Chaperones
    4. Fundraising
      • provide contacts
      • contact businesses

Please contact us to get started volunteering.

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