Hello! My name is Vivica Lewis. I am 14 years old and I live in Wisconsin. I have participated in FLL for one year and one year in FTC. In FLL, my team placed third place champions at the 2013-2014 World Championships and last year my team made it to Super Regionals. To some of you frequent readers, I may sound familiar because I wrote back in July. Robotics season will be in full swing soon, if it isn’t already for your team, so I found it appropriate to write a letter to the rookie and veteran ladies of each FIRST program. Welcome to FIRST and welcome back for another season ladies! I have three tips for the season that will help make the experience more enjoyable and offer more insight for anyone who it is their first season in a FIRST program.
1. Be open-minded to learning and trying new experiences
FIRST has so many different opportunities for students to experience. Part of the overall experience is trying new things. If you stay in your comfort zone, you will miss so many chances. Being a pro at something the first time is not the point, but learning and trying is the point. I can relate to this because when I joined in 7th grade, I didn’t have another friend join with me. I knew no one on the team, but wanted to understand what robotics was all about. I took every volunteer that came my way including several team bonding parties. By spending time with my teammates, I learned how much I had in common with them and some of them are still my closest friends that I go to when I’m struggling. If I would’ve stayed in my comfort zone and kept to myself, the season wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.
2. Be confident
Part of becoming a strong and fierce leader and valuable team member is being confident in your abilities. Everyone has unique skills, so find where you can help the team the most and be proud of your skills! Being confident in your skills is the first part, but confidence also comes into play when you have to make tough decisions. There will be times you have to be strong in your opinion or strong in sharing an idea with the whole group. The skills of being confident enough to stand up for your idea can be a goal for the season, but will definitely take time.
3. Core values is the foundation
One of my favorite quotes I have heard about FIRST is, “Robots and sometimes project are what you do, but core values is how you do it.” Setting goals, some rules, and expectations for the team at the beginning of the season makes for a stable season. The team can be very knowledgeable about how to build an amazing robot, build the best engineering notebook, and does more marketing than others, but if the team lacks a bond or consideration for each other than the team will not succeed in the long run. Without consistent and quality core values the team will leave and neglect team members. Examples of good core values to have include value learning over winning, gracious professionalism, and team cooperation. Having core values as the foundation can be the first step, but it is essential that every team member understands, values, and will be part of the goals and core values.
The three tips listed above are important and can be applied to any team, so I hope this is blog post is a good reminder for veteran teams and will help rookie teams get setup for a great season! Thank you to FIRST Ladies for giving me the honor to blog twice now! Good luck to all teams this season!
This blog post was written by Vivica Lewis of FTC Team 4106. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, click here to sign up on the schedule.
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