We call FIRST® Robotics Competition (for ages 14-18) a unique sport where every kid who plays can "turn pro." High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.”
Under strict rules and limited time and resources, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” and hone teamwork skills. Participants are eligible to apply for $80M+ in college scholarships.
Teams design, build, and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors.
Volunteer mentors lend their time and professional talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.
A team consists of students, ages 14–18, willing to put in time outside typical school hours and to do any job to help the team succeed (lots of jobs available for all skill levels and interests). A team also needs 2 or more adult mentors with both technical and non-technical expertise motivated to coach the team throughout the season (and beyond).
The official season begins in early January when the season’s Challenge is announced at a Kickoff ceremony. Teams must then create their robot in order to be ready for their competition events. District and regional competition events start in late February and continue through April. Teams that qualify are invited to FIRST Championship, typically held near the end of April.
Annual fees for team registration, a robot kit of parts, and competition event participation are $5000 - $6000. Additional costs for travel, food, team shirts, and other options items will vary. All costs for individual team members are assumed by the team as a group. FIRST offers many fundraising tools, as well as grants to teams who qualify.
Helping students understand that their future does not have to look like their present is extremely important to me as an educator. In our community, we have many talented and intelligent kids, who simply don’t understand the breadth of careers that are available, let alone aspire to attain success in those careers.
“...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