growingSTEMS > FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge

Our FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) program is designed for students in grades 6–9 to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming an 18 by 18 by 18 inch robot over the course of a 5 month regular season to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using Java, the MIT App Inventor, or other Android programming systems.

Teams, with the guidance of coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on innovative, sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. The ultimate goal of FTC is to reach more young people with a lower-cost, more accessible opportunity to discover the excitement and rewards of STEM.

Students in 6th through 9th grade are available to register for the FTC program. Enrollment for the FTC program is generally open from June to August of each year. 

2020-21 FTC Season Status

After much discussion and consultation with the ST. Mary’s County Health Department, we have made some decisions about the 2020-21 FIRST Season. Given the constantly changing nature of the Coronavirus Pandemic, we will continue to review these decisions as the situation in our area changes.

FTC will have a primarily virtual season. We do not yet know how competitions will work for this year. However, it will be necessary for small groups  to meet in person to accomplish some tasks. While we will not require students to meet in person, we realize that some may want to and we will need to take precautionary steps.

With this in mind, we worked with the St. Mary’s Health Department who provided us with guidelines to safely re-open the facility to limited groups of people. We added some of our own best practices to this and have created a set of guidelines which details our reopening plan. 

While we are not yet ready to welcome students back today, we look forward to doing so in a few weeks. Before we return to the shop we will have a virtual meeting for everyone to go over these guidelines. In the meantime we will be working to get things set up and ready for a different but great season.

Dues for the year are $350 per student that help cover the operating cost of the program. Payments can be processed through our website or in person via check or cash.

To reserve your spot on the team half of the programs registration fee is due within 14 calendar days of submitting registration with the remainder due by November 1st. 

Travel costs to competitions are not included in the above registration cost. 

Click Here for the FTC Team Student Application


Submitting this application does not guarantee a spot in our FTC program.


growingSTEMS currently hosts 2 FTC Teams as part of our Community Robotics Program.

FTC 389 – The Swarm

FTC 12888 – The Stingers

In addition to the two locally hosted teams, growingSTEMS also supports two FTC teams in Hardy County, West Virginia.

FTC 13515 – Nerdz

FTC 15116 – Nuclear Nerdz


Recent FTC News Posts —

FIRST 2020-21 Season Update – Coronavirus Edition

After much discussion and consultation with the ST. Mary\'s County Health Department, growingSTEMS has made some decisions about the 2020-2021 FIRST Season for our FRC, FTC, FLL ,and FLL Jr. programs. Given the constantly changing nature of the Coronavirus Pandemic, we will continue to review ...

PNC BANK – Returning Sponsor

growingSTEMS would like to offer our sincere thanks to the PNC Foundation for returning as a Gold Level sponsor for the 2019-2020 Competition Season! Without continued support from local organizations like the PNC Foundation, we could not continue to offer the programs and services that our ...

Open House / Enrollment

On June 3rd from 6-8:30PM growingSTEMS will open their doors to the public for a an evening of STEM exploration. Students and Mentors will be on site to answer any questions you may have about or organization / any of our 4 community robotics programs. In addition, we will be opening enrollment ...

growingSTEMS Offers Summer Camps!

Two Summer Camp opportunities - August 4th-9th ...

Want to see more? See all FTC related posts – FTC News Posts