For 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 international 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.
Dubbed a “varsity sport for the mind,” FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real world” engineering that a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18) get to:
- Learn from professional engineers.
- Build and compete with a robot of their own design.
- Learn and use sophisticated hardware and software.
- Be exposed to design, project management, programming, teamwork, strategic thinking and Coopertition™.
- Earn a place in the Championship.
- Qualify for nearly $15 million in college scholarships.
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