About FIRST

What is FIRST?

FIRST LogoFor students aged 6-18, it’s the hardest fun you’ll ever have. For team mentors, coaches, and volunteers, it’s the most rewarding adventure you’ll ever undertake. For sponsors, it’s the most enlightened investment you could ever make. FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. Founded over 20 years ago by inventor Dean Kamen, the 2009-2010 FIRST season attracted more than 210,000 youth and more than 90,000 mentors, coaches, and volunteers from 56 countries. The annual programs culminate in an inter national robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.

 

Mission

FIRST’s mission 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.

 

Vision

To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.–Dean Kamen, Founder

 

FIRST Values

Gracious ProfessionalismTM

Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.

Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term “Gracious Professionalism.”

 
CoopertitionTM

Coopertition produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.

Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.

 

FIRST’s impact on Team KAOS

FIRST has contributed immense amounts of opportunities, values, motivation, and inspiration to Team KAOS. Moreover, FIRST provides the team with core values that set a foundation where KAOS has been able to build upon from. From the first kickoff we ever attended, to our current standing; FIRST has helped chaos evolve into KAOS, and teach us that it is not about winning, but about the journey that was created along the way. Team KAOS can proudly declare that its mission has been fulfilled and even exceeded. Some of our students discovered that Herff Jones, the company that sells senior merchandise, had the FIRST logo available on class rings:

About FIRST
About FIRST