At the close of the 2009 Virginia and D.C. FIRST LEGO League season, my family found an opportunity to volunteer at the state competition in Maryland. We used to live in Maryland, and had been involved in FIRST LEGO League there. So, we jumped at the chance to volunteer at the competition. My mother, father, and brother were all technical judges while I supervised practice tables.
If you have never volunteered at a competition, I highly recommend it. You can discover a lot about how judges judge. For example, the judges rely on documentation of the programs. The judges might know a lot about C++, but NXT-G is unknown to most of them. My brother was called in to interpret the program printouts for the technical judges. The moral of is that you really need to document your programs!
In addition, you can see lots of robots. You can find many good design features that you could use in your robot next season. Learning from others can save you time and money.
Since none of my family were project judges or referees, I can’t tell you that much about them. That’s why you need to volunteer!