Taking advantage of as many opportunities as we can has been one of our team’s biggest focuses over the past year and a half, and because of this we have gotten even more out of FIRST than we had before. When teams take advantage of one single opportunity, it can snowball, and teams can wind up with many chances to help and to learn from others. For example, here is a story that we told during our judging at Worlds. In the summer of 2014, we volunteered to give two “Gear Up with FTC” presentations for FIRST’s online conference. Because of one of those presentations, we were asked by National Instruments to help them with a “LabVIEW Quick Start Guide” for teams. As a result of that, we were asked to remotely host a teacher training on programming in Sydney, Australia. The other Gear Up with FTC presentation led to multiple collaborations with FIRST: we were asked to speak during an Ask An Expert call on electrostatic discharge about ways to minimize ESD through robot wiring. We were also asked to write large portions of FIRST’s robot wiring guide for teams. When we gave the two Gear Up with FTC presentations we had no idea how many amazing opportunities would come about as a result of them, or that they would become some of the most rewarding parts of our season.
However, it can be difficult know how to begin. There are a few things that helped our team to get the ball rolling. Paying attention to FIRST’s team email blasts was a great help. Opportunities are frequently mentioned in these emails, and they are a wonderful way to stay up-to-date. Following FIRST on social media is another helpful way to hear about opportunities and to stay involved. Maybe your team can get involved with some of the online communities surrounding FIRST. For example, FIRST Ladies has an option to volunteer to write a blog. In addition to FIRST Ladies, also check out FTC Tec Network and Mentors Without Borders.
This blog was written by Katie and Colleen from FTC Team 3595. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule.