Duluth – Northern Lights Regional – 2023

Updated 2/4/2023

Our first regional competition of the year is Northern Lights in Duluth, MN, on March 1-4, 2023. This page covers the schedule, packing list, lodging, transportation, and more. Contact the team email with any questions.

In general, students will have a high degree of independence. We are staying in a hotel, and students will be 3 to 6 per room. Mentors/coaches will be in rooms nearby. Behavior expectations are high, and anyone not meeting our team’s code of conduct, or becomes ill, will need a parent to come to get them.

Students have already been asked to indicate if they plan to come if they are currently passing all of their classes, and who they would prefer or not prefer to room with.

All team members going to Duluth must complete these items by February 11th.

  • Parents complete the Medical Forms by February 11th.
  • Send in payment. The sliding scale recommended $250. Make checks out to GRS Foundation and hand them to Michael or use Paypal by February 11th
  • Submit grade check data by February 11th – either passing or a plan before Duluth.
  • Be on the bus at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, March 1st. The bus will leave with or without you!


Recommended amount is $250. As always, families should pay on a sliding scale. We do require some amount for EVERY student traveling with us. If you can pay extra – we thank you! If you should not pay that amount, pay what you can.

Make checks out to GRS Foundation, and hand them to Michael at practice or use PayPal to pay the fee. The fee covers about half the cost of the trip.

Grade Check Form – Due February 11th

Students are expected to be in good academic standing in order to miss school for a trip like this. That means having a C or better in every class and having no overdue projects. If students cannot meet those standards, we will work with them on a case-by-case to get them up to that level in time to take the trip. Along the way, students MUST complete each grade check each time.

  • Great River students provide Power School screenshots to verify their grades.
  • Avalon students provide a screenshot from Infinite Campus to verify their grades, plus send an email (copying the team) to their advisor to verify their projects and due dates.


We will be wrapping our team members in layers of protection as we go into this large event. We are serious about every layer of protection.

  • Vaccination. All team members are vaccinated/ boosted.
  • Masks. All team members are encouraged to make their own decisions about masks. There are no requirements from the venue and we don’t have masks to provide to the team. However, this will be a large public event in an enclosed space, so masking is welcomed.
  • Exclusion. Any team member who starts having COVID symptoms will be given a rapid test. Anyone who tests positive must go home – their parent must come to get them!
  • Pre-testing. Team members must have a recent negative test before leaving on the trip. Tests will be provided by the team.


Expectations are high for students on this trip. Students will sign up for jobs and shifts and will be expected to meet those responsibilities without much assistance. The event is loud and chaotic – and not for everyone. If students cannot follow the same basic guidelines as they would in school, they will need to be picked up from Duluth. Any behavior not appropriate to a school setting is not appropriate here.

  • Come to Robotics to do robotics
  • Meet your commitments – or let people know when you need to change them
  • Maintain good academic standing
  • Read team emails
  • Be Safe!
  • Practice gracious professionalism

Parent at Competition

Parents are always welcome to attend any of our competitions. They are all free and open to the public – you can come and go as often as you like without needing tickets. There may be additional single rooms open at The Suites at Waterfront, where we’re staying if you want to be nearby.

At competition – parents help cheer wildly for our team from the stands (which the kids say helps them compete better). You can also be available to help students if you wish.


The team will travel by charter bus to Duluth.

  • 4:00 pm, Wednesday, March 1st: Load bus at GRS. Depart at 4:30 pm sharp. We are sharing a bus with the Robettes, so they will be waiting on the bus for us, and we will be PROMPT this year.
  • 10 pm, Saturday, March 4th: Approximate arrival time back at GRS – Students should call with updated times as we get close to the cities.


The team will be staying at the The Suites hotel in Canal Park. The competition is at the nearby DECC, in easy walking distance. Students will be placed in rooms based on the people they are most comfortable with, not necessarily by gender.


There will be regular meals, snacks and water breaks. Students can bring snacks or other food from home if they wish – there are refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms.

Breakfasts: The hotel breakfast includes: eggs, meat, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal and more, including your choice of hot waffle flavors.

Lunches: Team members will pack pack bag lunches that team members can take outside to eat.

Dinners: Dinners will self-catered at the hotel

  • Wednesday: Sandwiches from Nelsons when we arrive at the hotel
  • Thursday: TBD either pasta bar, potato bar, or taco bar
  • Friday: TBD either pasta bar, potato bar, or taco bar
  • Saturday: Bring money for a stop for fast food on the way home. Students are welcome to pack extra food at lunch for dinner, but most prefer not to.

Stands/Home Base

Our team home base during the regional is in the stands. Our team will stake out a purple unicorn spot, where we’ll maintain a presence throughout the competition. We’ll be doing scouting, video, photos, resting, sharing information, and cheering. Parents are encouraged to join us in the stands. Team members are also encouraged to use the stands as the home base. Visit the pit, and work there as needed, but remember that it’s a tiny space!


Unlike a regular school trip, please bring your cell phone and charger – they are critical for communication during the competition.

Packing List


  • NoMythic t-shirt (bring extras if you have them)
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 3 pairs underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Indoor shoes + outdoor shoes
  • Outerwear in layers – we’ll be walking 1/2 mile to the DECC each day, regardless of the weather. The center may be hot or cold.
  • Pillow (optional, required if participating in hair dying)
  • Towel (required if participating in hair dye)


  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush/paste – please!
  • Medications
  • Other toiletries, as desired


  • Water bottle!!
  • Backpack to carry your things
  • Some sort of photo ID
  • Cash – Small amount of cash for snacks at the convention center  (if desired), plus $5-$10 for dinner on the way home.
  • Snacks – there will be some group snacks, but students may prefer to bring their own (cheaper than vending machines at the hotel or the concession stand)
  • Phone + charger, if you have one (see above)
  • Electronics – please leave laptops and gaming devices at home. They are distracting and encourage staying up too late.

***No late night anything allowed – there will be a lights-out time – we need our sleep!

Prescription Medications

Any medications that your student needs help with for this overnight trip must be listed on the medical form turned in for the FIRST Robotics trip.  Please enclose all necessary medications in original prescription containers in a sealed plastic bag labeled with your child’s name.  Bring medications to practice Tuesday, March 1st.