NorCal Volunteer Policies
All tournament volunteers must be in good standing with Playing At Learning and FIRST. In addition, all volunteers must abide by the FIRST “Standards of Conduct for Volunteers” and also be willing to undergo background screening (via VIMS) as defined by FIRST and all local/regional regulations dealing with volunteers. NorCal FLL tournament volunteers are expected to be in high school or older.
All tournament officials (which are all referees and the entire judge crew including the judge advisor) must be adults [post high school] that are NOT affiliated with any registered FLL team (for the specific season) in any way – ie parent, sibling, funder/sponsor, relative, current teacher, coach, mentor, etc or said another way,
No person who is affiliated with an FLL team in a season may be a judge or referee in any NorCal tournament in that season, regardless of where their team is competing, or even if their team isn’t competing at all.
This conflict of interest policy is in line with FIRST‘s conflict of interest policy but said more strictly than their published policy and has their blessing due to issues that we have had previously in NorCal. FIRST policy says that affiliated judges must not judge any team that they are affiliated with and excuse themselves from the deliberation process when their team is being discussed – with just 1 pair of judges at each qualifier for each of the 3 judging areas, it is not feasible to work around this at most of our tournaments and keeping track of this has led to confusion.
In addition, we had issues with people that are affiliated with teams (but not necessarily whose team was attending that specific tournament) misusing the judge training information along with misusing team interview notes to excessively (and not within the FLL core values) to “prep” their team for “award-winning” answers.
Finally, we had teams complain about perceived favoritism when judges were obviously aligned with one or more teams.
In order to not have this happen again, we have adopted a very strict conflict of interest policy.