Why do we participate in FIRST program offerings?
Because we believe in the vision of FIRST:
“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.”
– Dean Kamen, Founder
And we have seen its impact FIRST hand!
The mission of FIRST is “to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
Impact on our Team
Since our team’s started in the fall of 2005, ALL of our seniors have gone to college (including one young man who had given up on college before joining our team), ALL students have reported an increased interest in science, technology, engineering, and math, and many parents have reported positive changes in their children’s behavior. These changes included having a more positive attitude towards school, better performance in science and math classes, and more willingness to help others (in and out of school).
Impact on the FIRST Community
The impact has extended beyond our team. Since 2005, we have helped start and/or mentor over 10 FLL teams, 3 FTC teams, and 5 FRC teams. We have held scrimmages for FLL (3), FTC (2), and FRC (1) teams. We also volunteered at the FLL regionals and the inaugural Illinois FTC Championship started by our parent organization.
Impact on our Community
Beginning in 2005, we have presented (or helped run) robotics camps for middle and high school students. The camps all focused on teaching campers basic robotics skills and core FIRST values to students who usually had never heard of FIRST. The camps included having more experienced campers mentor the newer campers. At the end of the summer, we presented a public demonstration similar to a FIRST event to showcase the skills the campers developed and to increase public awareness about FLL, FTC, and FRC.
Our camps were so successful that in the summer of 2007, the Chicago Public Schools used our format as a model for Mayor Daley’s Keep Kids Learning Summer program in 22 schools.
Everywhere we go and share the FIRST story, people are motivated to either personally get involved or to involve someone else.