Hello, lovely followers! We’re excited to announce that we’re adding Saturdays posts to our schedule. These posts will be admins’ personal stories on both LGBTQ+ and FIRST related things! With Kickoff right around the corner, we are looking forward to new students joining and becoming active members in the FIRST community. Because of this, I wanted to share what drew me into the wonderful world of FIRST.
I’ve participated in a variety of activities in High School. From Math League to Speech to Knowledge Bowl to Prom Committee, I just hadn’t found a perfect fit for me. All of these extracurriculars were great but had the same problem. They all put me in a position where I was forced to compete against my friends, whether for the prom theme or a spot on the bus to sections. As a student with anxiety, it was a serious problem. Late into my sophomore year, a few students on the robotics team reached out to me and expressed their love for FIRST. I was intrigued, but it was far too late in the season for me to join. It also overlapped with several of my other commitments. I finished sophomore year curious about what would happen if I joined robotics.
At the beginning of my junior year, I was approached again. Students would sit next to me at lunch and tell me about what it is like on the team. It was the beginning of the team’s third year, and they were coming off a successful season where they qualified for Minnesota State Championships. I heard about the amazing opportunities, great friendships, and was told over and over how good FIRST looks on a college application. The coach of the team told me about the different skills I would learn, and how they would apply to a future career in STEM. I caved and attended the interest meeting, a decision that has changed my life. I was brought into an environment where a group of students truly worked as a team. My team became a second family for me, and I will be forever grateful for them. The first regional I attended was the first time our team took home a blue banner. Being regional winners earned us a spot in St Louis at the World Championship. Success and growth in a team-oriented environment is exactly what I need in an extracurricular. As my second and final season approaches, I now try to reach out to as many students as possible, telling them about how much I love the community in FIRST and the great opportunities they have on an FRC team. I do this with hopes that it’ll provide the same great experience for others as it has for me.
– Abby, MN FIRST
Kickoff is next month, and I’ve started planning everything that has to be done for the 2017 season. The one thing that has been circling my mind is what kind of senior I want to be. For the last four years, I’ve worked extremely hard to lead my team, take responsibility for new things, and make my team better. The majority of the things I’ve done, however, were completed with a lot of the work being my own. That was fine when I was an underclassman; I would still be around the next season to do it again. However, a year from now, I’ll be off at college and what I’m afraid of is that everything I worked so hard for will end with me, making my team weaker. If I were to leave now, my team would be without a scouting captain, the head of the Chairman’s team, and a documentation captain. They’d definitely build the same robot with or without me, but they’d struggle to put together a strong alliance, would have no shot at Chairman’s and would have nothing to show judges. If my senior year looks the way the past three years have looked, they’ll be in that situation next year anyway. Which leads me to an epiphany that I’ve found hard to accept: senior year is not a victory lap.
If you want your team to do well after you graduate, your focus needs to be less on you and your achievements and more on teaching underclassmen how to do your job. We all bring different skills to our respective teams, but particularly for those of us who bring unique abilities, it’s important to teach the next generation what they need to know. This is not a job that should fall on the mentors, but on the older students. This year, my team has as many new students as veterans, numbers which are frankly terrifying. Of those veterans, half are seniors. The future of my team depends on how well we train this year’s rookies. It’s not always easy or glamorous or fun, but it’s a necessity.
So here’s my message to all you seniors out there…
Embrace your underclassmen.
Teach them everything you know.
Work for what makes the team the strongest.
Enjoy your final year, but remember that the legacy you leave might be the determining factor in whether your team succeeds in the future.
Good luck with FIRST Steamworks. Stay GP.
-Tristan D. 107
Hello, fellow FIRSTers! All of the admin for LGBTQ+ of FIRST are very excited to be opening our Discord server to the public. It’s open to anyone, student or mentor, LGBTQ+ or ally, to come to for support, advice, and community. Here is the link! If you choose to join, please keep it GP (gracious and professional)!
For anyone who doesn’t know, the mission of the LGBTQ+ of FIRST group is to increase queer visibility in FIRST and the STEM community as a whole by providing resources, both online and offline, to help and educate LGBTQ+ people and their allies. We seek to increase acceptance and tolerance of all peoples and create a community that benefits not only LGBTQ+ people, but everyone.
If you have ideas for what you can do regionally to make FIRST more inclusive, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, hit us up on discord, or message this account. We’ll get you in touch with your nearest admin so collaboration can occur! If you’re interested in supporting us financially to help cover the costs of buttons, brochures, posters, and other promotional items to hand out at events, you can donate directly to us through our paypal (email@example.com).
Another huge thank you to everyone who supports us! This couldn’t happen without you!
Happy Pan Pride day! This is just a show presentation on a few Pan people in media.
Starting in two weeks, the Discord server that our staff has been using will be opened to the public. It’s open to anyone, student or mentor, LGBTQ+ or ally, to come to for support, advice, and community. We’re a pretty dynamic bunch, and here’s the ten things you need to know before entering our inner sanctum of insanity.
One final piece of business! We’re opening up admin applications for anyone who’s interested in helping us with this resource. Fill out this form to apply, and we’ll review your application and get back to you before the server opens. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
About LGBTQ+ of FIRST
LGBTQ+ of FIRST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants in FIRST Robotics. LGBTQ+ of FIRST was started to spread visibility of the LGBTQ+ community within FIRST and help teams become safe spaces for their members.