Thank you Skip!  To those interested, here is a list of events and the link to volunteer (you will be prompted to sign into your FIRST Inspires account).  It really does take a *big* village to make the FIRST LEGO League magic happen!


Week 1

11/4 - Newport News Qualifier @ Crittenden Middle School

11/4 - Harrisonburg Qualifier @ James Madison University


Week 2

11/11 -  Alexandria 1 Qualifier @ Hayfield Secondary School

11/11 - Charlottesville Qualifier@ St Anne-Belfield School

11/11 - Martinsville Qualifier @ Martinsville Middle School

11/12 - Richmond Qualifier @ Maggie Walker Governors School

11/12 - Ashburn Qualifier @ Rose Lee Carter Elementary School

11/12 - Alexandria 2 Qualifier @ Hayfield Secondary School


Week 3

11/18 - Abingdon Qualifier @ Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center

11/18 - Blacksburg Qualifier @ Blacksburg Middle School

11/18 - Glen Allen Qualifier @ Deep Run High School

11/18 - Henrico Qualifier @ Godwin High School

11/18 - Manassas 1 Qualifier @Osbourn Park High School

11/18 - Washington, D.C. @ McKinley Tech High School

11/18 - Norfolk  Qualifier @ Norview High School

11/19 - Manassas 2 Qualifier @ Osbourn Park High School



Kaitlin Ilnitzki

Program Director




From: First Lego League in Virginia and DC <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Skip Morrow <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 9:36 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [VADCFLL-L] Tournament Volunteers

CAUTION: This email originated from outside of JMU. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.


Hello Coaches!

I know that you are all working hard with your teams, as I am too. In case you don't know me, I am a coach of the Norfolk Collegiate O.A.K.S. and also one of the Head Judges in the state (FLL likes to call us "Judge Advisors"). Because of my role as "Judge Advisor", I would like to extend an offer to you. And it really is an offer. But it does require some work on your part. In return, you will learn first hand what goes on in the judging rooms. And before you ask, no, I don't get to judge at the event where my team is competing!


Did you realize that your judging score is 75% of your overall championship score? I see that nearly 100% of the questions on the LISTSERV are about the robot game, and I get that. But I really hope that you are giving the judging session the amount of attention that it deserves. Truly understanding the judging process is PRICELESS when it comes to preparing your teams for this.


Here's what it takes. Here in VA-DC FLL we have regional tournaments on three weekends in November. This year that means the weekends of Nov 4th, 11th, and the 18th. If you live in an area where you can get to another tournament on one of the weekends where you aren't competing, then please consider volunteering at one of those events. In case you need a reminder about where the events are in the region, feel free to look over the list here:

2023 Tournament Assignments - VA-DC FIRST LEGO League (


Nine years ago I coached my first FLL team. In fact, it was the first time I had ever coached anything. It was rough, but I had a great time. We went to a tournament and while we didn't take home any plastic, I still learned a lot. But I definitely felt confused. The next year I had one year of experience under my belt, but I still struggled trying to prepare my team for the tournament. I thought I knew what was going to happen at all of the judging sessions, having already done it once, but I still didn't really get it. Then I saw an email from Karen Berger asking for volunteers, just like I am right now. There was an event a week or two before my team's event, so I volunteered. And then it all made sense! I really started to get it. I was able to take the knowledge that I picked up from that tournament back to my team and really explain to them what was going to happen in the judging room, why the judges would ask certain questions, and how the performance for each judged event would affect our tournament championship score. It just made sense.


If you are a coach looking to improve your team's performance, nothing prepares you better for an FLL tournament than volunteering at a tournament where you aren't competing. Yes, in return for you volunteering as a judge at one of our events, I promise you valuable insight to the judging process. Now don't get me wrong. There aren't any secrets about the judging. You won't learn something that you couldn't read about somewhere else. Sure, you can read all the rules online, and you can dial in to the coach's chats, but trust me, nothing will pull it all together better than actually judging at an event.


I've rambled here long enough. If you are serious about wanting to improve your team's performance (and I know a lot of you do because I see you posting questions about the robot game on the LISTSERV), then please consider judging at a local event. We can use your help, and your team will improve from your newfound knowledge. Don't worry, we will train you with everything you need to know. And you get a t-shirt and some questionable pizza. It is very rewarding work, and I never feel so proud and inspired as I do when I am at these tournaments. 


To volunteer for an event, please log into your firstinspires account and click on the "Volunteer" link at the top. Or feel free to email me and I with your questions.


Best wishes and best of luck to your wonderful teams!

And thank you so much for volunteering as a coach!


Very Respectfully,

Skip Morrow

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VADCFLL administrative announcements are sent via VADCFLL-ANNOUNCEMENTS-L. Visit to subscribe.