My daughter just had her kickoff meeting yesterday and learned what this year’s competition is about THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION. It is called Rapid React. I am super excited bout the new season.
At first glance these FIRST competitions just look like fun and games but there is a lot behind the scenes. This year they are being asked to reimagine the future of human travel, cargo deliveries and more.
FIRST is a powerful program. There is friendly competition, exciting discoveries and confidence building while everyone increases their scientific and technological understanding. It’s not all technical either. My daughter is a prime example of what this program can do.
I have seen her try to find her own in school, music, Girl Scouts and more. They were all beneficial for her in one way or another. However, the ONE program that truly helped her feel like she was with like minded individuals and gave her confidence is FIRST ROBOTICS.
She got into it very differently than other kids. Even though we, as parents, had already fallen in love with the program and she had seen many competitions, she refused to join Lego League which is the baby step into the program. She shun it at the middle school level until she was in 8th grade. There was a Girl Scout team and they were recruiting members and one of her leaders and a fellow scout was heavily involved in a team, so she reluctantly joined. It was a tough year as she was the least experienced and was stumbling around “in the dark”. After a year, though, she seemed to get her “robot legs”.
When she moved to her current team THE ROBODOGS is when I really saw her grow. There were several kids that were new and she was not the NOOB anymore. Plus, there were kids very much like her – anime loving, sarcastic tongued and wicked smart. We never have to push her to go to the meetings. Even though the meetings are long and time consuming, she goes to almost all of them. Only when she is sick or we have school obligations, does she miss any of it. She has also managed to keep an A/B honor roll in school at the same time.
Covid has of course made its mark by making last year’s season virtual. But this year, with the vaccines, the boosters, N95masks and everyone being very careful, they just might be able to meet in person. I’m sure they will limit the parental participation to just one and spectators will be discouraged. But I am hopeful this season will be a fun one.