FIRST ("For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology") is a non-profit organization, founded in 1989
by Dean Kamen, President of DEKA Research and Development. Dean is an inventor, an entrepreneur and an advocate for science and technology. He holds over 100 patents and is also the recipient of numerous prestigious industry and technology awards.
Dean's vision includes the transformation of culture to increase the appreciation of science, engineering and technology. He founded FIRST to excite and inspire the next generation to want to learn about and seek experiences in these fields.
The FIRST Robotics Competition immerses high-school-aged young people in the world of engineering and technology by partnering them with industry and education mentors to design, build and compete with their sophisticated robots in an annual, technical, sport-like design competition.
Fourteen years ago, the Competition began with 28 teams at one event played in a New Hampshire high school gym. For 2005, nearly 1,000 teams from 49 states, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Israel, and Mexico will compete in 30 regional events, a pilot in Israel, and the FIRST Championship involving over 20,000 participants and getting great press coverage.
The program has experienced phenomenal growth in teams and events year-over-year, at the same time it has maintained almost a 90% team retention rate year-to-year. Over $4.7 million in college scholarships will be available to students participating in the 2005 Competition.
Over the past 14 years, FIRST programs have brought together a unique and powerful alliance of business executives, educators, community leaders, professional mentors, and volunteers to collaborate on motivating young people to pursue their nurtured interest and confidence in technology and science.
FIRST is an innovative organization supported by an incredible network of corporations, individuals, local businesses, government and professional agencies and associations, teachers, community members, and students. For comprehensive and current information about FIRST, visit www.usfirst.org.
Begun in 1998 to engage younger kids in engineering-based competition, the FIRST LEGO League program brings the learning and excitement of science and technology to 9-14 year-olds. In its 2004 season, FIRST LEGO League engaged over 48,000 children on over 5,800 teams in 20 countries.
FIRST Place, located in Manchester, NH, provides program development, educational support and evaluation services to FIRST programs. At the same time, the center initiates innovative programs to engage students, teachers and professional mentors in science, technology and discovery education.
Partners of '63 Role
FIRST is an existing third-party program, endorsed by Partners63 for individual support by Partners. (And as it happens, the current Vice Chairman of the FIRST organization is Jim Utaski, a Partner.)
There are many fun and interesting ways for individuals or businesses or community organizations to get involved with FIRST:
1. Have your company or other organization become a Sponsor. Sponsor companies or organizations contribute shop facilities, hands-on help from experienced engineers, and often financial support.
2. Be a Mentor and share an interesting and constructive learning with one or more FIRSTers and establish new "connections" in your community or profession.
3. Be a Funder. The cost of a group's participation in the FIRST Robotics Competition program is $6,000. This buys all the parts and motors each Team needs to get started. To support a FIRST LEGO League team, the cost is $300 for returning teams and $600 for new teams.
4. Volunteer to judge a competition or serve as a program advisor.
FIRST is expanding rapidly and has a very high repeat rate because it generates high enthusiasm among the young people and among the adults who get involved. It's fun and really works.
FIRST programs engage everyone because the challenges are very real and produce intensive commitment during the most important weeks of preparation and, at the end, the competitions bring a special energy, excitement, and celebration to everyone.
If you're getting to know FIRST, we welcome your interest. Please visit the FIRST website at www.usfirst.org. To those of you already involved with FIRST, you know the difference your involvement makes and how greatly we appreciate your support.
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