There's a lot of exciting things going on this summer throughout the FIRST community! Check out the list below to find something to do in the off season!
Learn the new FTC Control System! There's lots to learn with FTC going over to a different electronics platform this year. Luckily, FTC is providing teams with lots of resources to learn the new platform, and the Java programming that goes along with it. Click here to get more info on the new technology!
Go to an off-season event! Whether your competing or just watching, there are lots of great events happening this summer for FLL, FTC, and FRC teams! Below are a few events, but click here for a complete list.
Duel Down Under: FRC, June 25-27 in Sydney, Australia
MidKnight Mayhem: FRC, June 27 in Plainsboro, NJ
Asia Pacific Invitational: FLL and FTC, July 10-14 in Sydney, Australia
Indiana Robotics Invitational: FRC, July 17-18 in Indianapolis, Indiana
R20C: FRC, July 24-25 in Rockford, IL
Texas Robot Roundup: FRC, July 31 in Austin, TX
Gitchi Gummi Get Together: FRC, August 14-15 in Duluth, MN
Find new sponsorships! Summer is a great time to do demos and presentations for potential sponsors. By getting a jump start on your fundraising, your team won't have to scramble for money during the build season. Click here to get some ideas from the FIRST Fundraising Toolkit!
Do summer outreach! There are so many opportunities to do summer camps, library presentations, fair demos, all you have to do is look! Reach out to your community for chances to show off your robot, or contact other teams to see if there is a chance for coopertition!
Blog for FIRST Ladies! To sign up, click here to save your spot on the schedule.
All of the robotics teams that I have been on I helped found. Two all-girl teams and three co-ed teams. When I started the robotics club, which later turned into the BEST robotics team, I assumed that more guys than girls would show up. After the first meeting, I was surprised that I was the only girl that signed up. I just went with it because I got along great with the guys. Then the same thing happened with my FTC team and my VEX teams.
Because of my love for robotics and my personality, I never really cared that I was the only girl on the team. However, I did notice that there are many pros and cons of being the only girl on the team.
I personally did not mind being the only girl on the team, but there were some negative side-effects of this fact. When we first started out and none of us knew each other very well, I had to work harder than the guys to prove to them that I knew that I knew what I was doing and was able to contribute to the team. Before my coaches got to know me, they were hesitant to let me carry the robot or use the big power tools. I knew that they were doubting my abilities because I was a girl, and I found it annoying, so I simply proved to them that I knew what I was doing and I went from the girl on the team to team captain in a few weeks.
Then competition time came around. All of the guys knew that I knew what I was doing, and fully trusted that I would help lead the team to advancing to the next tournament, but the rest of the world didn’t. I would walk up to the field for a match and sometimes the opposite team would snicker thinking that they had an easy win because a girl was driving for them. Then they would get beaten and I quickly earned the reputation of being a really good driver.
Sometimes when I would be working in the pits, other teams would come to our pit and ask to speak to the driver or strategist or captain. Most of the time when I presented myself, the conversation that needed to happen happened no questions asked. Other times the other person would sneer or joke about how a girl was in charge or that a girl was working in the pits.
Despite there being annoying cons to being the only girl on the team, there are some pretty great pros as well. When we traveled, I got my own hotel room because girls and guys aren’t allowed to share hotel rooms. The stigma of a girl being on the team turned into awe. Whenever I spoke, they all stopped what they were doing and listened to me. Whenever guys from other teams would give me a hard time at competitions, my guys would always be there for me and would always have my back.
The greatest pro of being the only girl on the team is family. All of the guys went from strangers, to friends, to brothers. We turned into this weird, dysfunctional, geeky family and they were all practically brothers to me. They had my back and always were looking out for me and were all extremely protective of me.
Being the only girl on the team is a common thing. Being in robotics in general build community. Running into another robotics kid sparks an immediate bond between the two people and most of the time numbers are exchanged and friend requests are sent, and Twitter handles are saved. Then you get girls who do robotics and the bond is even stronger because there are less of us than the already smallish number of kids who do robotics.
This blog was written by Devynn Rizo of FRC Team 4335. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, sign up on the schedule.
A year ago tomorrow, FIRST Ladies was officially started by FTC team 5972, The Patronum Bots. My name is Rachel Hunter, one of the five girls on that team. When we started this community a year ago, we had no idea that it would become this big so quickly. We are so grateful for the tremendous response from the community and the support we have gotten. Thanks for a great year, here's to many more.
I wrote a letter to myself 3 years ago, when we were transitioning from FLL to FTC. I would never have been able to imagine how different my life would be, just like I have no idea what the next 3 will have in store.
Dear Younger Me,
Right now, it seems like you know everything - like there's nothing life could throw at you that you wouldn't know how to handle. But I can guarantee that the next 3 years will change that perspective. You'll finally learn that there really is a great big world outside this tiny town, and there are so many new people to meet, new things to learn, and new places to see. Knowledge is limitless - and you will never be done discovering new things.
You're about to begin another crazy year in FIRST - but this time it's going to be different. Forget everything you think you know about robots, because everything is about to get 10x better. FTC is going to be the biggest, most important part of your life for the next 3 years, so enjoy every second of it. A lot of changes are coming, but most of them are going to be for the better.
There are going to be a lot of late nights, and many sleepless ones. You're going to meet the greatest people in the whole world, and some of the people you see as role models right now are going to become your closest friends. Don't forget to learn at every single moment - you don't get a second chance to use a drill press for the first time.
Remember that you're in this with you're family. Don't forget to thank your parents - they're going to make a lot of sacrifices for you. People will say how sad it is that we gave up everything for the team, but never forget about what you gain. Don't lose sight of what's really important - because at the end of the day family always comes first. Your team will become your family too. The memories you make with them will last your whole life
You're going to win a whole bunch of awards, get a lot of recognition, but never forget why you started this in the first place. Memorize the faces of kids seeing a robot for the first time, their smiles when they press a button to make it move. Remember that when you don't get the award you wanted, and remember it when you do. You're going to read a book that remind you why you started FIRST when you need it most. Always remember: "You can do more good by being good than any other way." - John Wooden
Most importantly, know when to move on. There will be a time when you realize that your last tournament is just that, trust yourself. It will be sooner than everyone expects, but know that it's the right decision for you. It's not the end of your life, just this chapter. Amazing new things will be right around the corner. Don't be afraid to speak up when it's time to stop, everyone will understand.
Life is going to be different, but really good. Never give up on FIRST, or on yourself. Push through, even when it seems like the code will never work or the arm won't be built in time. Trust yourself, trust your family, and trust your team. Everything will work out, and you'll be living the life you've always wanted to. Never stop wanting to help people, because that's what it's all about. FIRST is going to give you so many chances, it's up to you to take them.
This blog was written by Rachel Hunter of FTC 5972 and FRC 3132. If you are interested in blogging for FIRST Ladies, sign up on the schedule.
Single-sex education is a common trend in many parts of the world and surely you have met at some point someone whose school is only girls or boys. Separating the two gender for better learning is beneficial for some and maybe not much for others. However, it is a fact that when there are teams that depend on these single-sex institutions, it is normal to follow the rules they have on gender restriction. Such is the case of my team, Panteras 2283.
Established in Mexico City, Panteras is part of the Universidad Panamericana’s High School, which has a campus for men and another for women in different locations of the city. For us, as for many participants of FIRST, a primary goal is to disseminate science and technology to transform the culture in which we live into a more inclusive one - especially for girls in STEM fields. Following this objective, in our first year we raised the question that you probably have as you read this article: how I can work to attract more ladies to FIRST and STEM being an all-male team?
We have seen some alternatives that have helped us achieve this goal effectively, and we would like to share them with you:
The first is getting close to your counterpart: a school for only girls. There are many institutions of this kind than you probably know about. It is a great way to bring science and technology to schools where there’s an atmosphere of equality among all students. In these new teams, girls have a better learning experience in the area they choose to endeavor at, since mentoring and working sessions are only with them. On the downside, they miss the experience of a coeducational team.
The second is by supporting other teams. There are plenty of FIRST teams and most of them are coeducational, you can send your audience to them if you see interest in joining a team. Usually a reference is all you need for a child to begin her journey in STEM. Remember that sometimes there are opportunities, but are not known. You can use your team’s open house, demos and expos to speak with girls about opportunities for them in teams and STEM fields nearby. Of course, if there’s no other team in your area that accepts female students, why not make one?
The third thing is to support remotely. Panteras has helped many teams, as the Space Stars, an all-
girls team established in Colombia, in a long-distance way. It's easier, not only due to travel, but also because of permissions and policies that some single-sex institutions have for accessing their facilities, such as use of a computer and digital media like Google Hangouts or email. A mentoring session, some advice or just a talk between teams can get back-on-track and even inspire students in another team to go further.
Finally, through the meet-and-greet events of FIRST Ladies, getting together all those interested in STEM fields so they can talk with each other, as well as with some other important female heroes and role models about the opportunities that exist for them and how to achieve their goals. If you are interested in conducting an event get in touch with FIRST Ladies! firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions? Feel free to shoot me an email to email@example.com!
This blog was written by Oscar Fonseca, the Communications Jr Mentor for FRC Team 2283, Panteras. If you are interested in writing a blog for FIRST Ladies, sign up on the schedule.
Be a guest
Do you want to be a guest blogger for FIRST Ladies? You can write about a topic of your choice! Please email us the completed blog and track your creation using this link: