Q: What is FIRST and FRC?
A: FIRST stands for 'For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST exists 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. FIRST operates from 1st to 12th grade, starting with Legoes and moving up to full, filing-cabinet sized robots. Every year, each level of FIRST gets a new game that each robot must play in. FRC is FIRST Robotics Competition, for 9th-12th grades, focusing on real-life engineering as well as Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition.
Q: So, what exactly is Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition?
A: FIRST is based around these concepts. Dr. Woodie Flowers, a advisor for FIRST, coined Gracious Professionalism. 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. 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. Coopertition is based on the same notion - teams can and should help each other and teach other - competing always, but helping and learning whenever possible.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: FIRST's mission is not only to prepare students for real-world jobs, but to help them become better, more engaged people in the real world. 88% of students who participate in FIRST have more interest in school, 90% have more interest in taking a challenging math or science course, and 90% are more interested in attending college. But beyond the numbers, being a part of FIRST makes for a better person. Focusing on Gracious Professionalism moves students (and mentors) mindset from purely competition to competition with learning and fun and respect. FIRST adds more than a marketable skill set. It gives memories and a unique outlook on life.
Q: So... is it like Battlebots?
A: We wish! No, FIRST is about more than really awesome robot fights - it's about becoming a better person and becoming more prepared for the real world.
Q: I can't join any teams, but I would love to help! How can I?
A: Thank you so much! The best way to help is by donating to our program, we accept donations through our umbrella organization, Petoskey Robotics. Every little donation helps Petoskey Robotics fund it's three branches, ranging from third grade to twelfth grade. Next year, we are hoping to add e-commerce on this website, so that awesome supporters like you can buy our merchandise!
Q: How are you funded?
A: We are primarily funded by donations and our sponsors, but another large part of our funding is also collected through fundraising, parents, and Petoskey Schools. Here you can see our revenues broken down by category.