The object of the game (and I know it sounds cheezy) is not to win, its to learn. When I was a student, the mentors let US do the programming, designing, etc. While the robot wasn't as good as the adviser-bots; when your in the pit and YOU'RE working on the robot...well I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world. You might not have a full practice field (hell I don't think we ever had the robot WORKING in time to practice anything!), but it really is fun no matter what place you finish in.
Now as an adviser, it drives me nuts when the students don't want to take the path I think is best. But FIRST is about experience, it shouldn't be a classroom where students sit down and watch engineers build things. Let the students make the mistakes (to an extent) and of course let them to ALL the work.
If your looking for good mentors, ask around the local college (if there is a engineering/technical minded college around your area). I know after I graduated from high school, I was eager to come back and work with the team as an mentor.