FIRST was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter. FIRST operates the FIRST Robotics Competition in which teams of high school students, sponsored and assisted by local companies and volunteers, design, assemble, and test a robot capable of performing a specified task in competition with other teams. FIRST also runs the FIRST LEGO League, for children 9-14 years old, and FIRST Place, an innovative science and technology center, including a hands-on children's science museum. (From www.usfirst.org)
Below is a list of the great programs which FIRST offers.
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC):
This competition is for the high school age groups involving a rigorous six week build season, where the students prototype, build, and program robots to compete in a specific challenge later in the year. This competition is interesting in the fact that winning isn't everything. It's the experience that counts; the knowledge taken out of the competition wether it be in teamwork, spirit, or engineering, all add up quickly. Most FRC teams don't just compete here, it is a year-long program. Teams will get involved with the community, help mentor other teams, or participate in countless other activities.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
This competition is similar to FRC, except that it is geared to both middle school and high school ages. Though these robots are smaller, the experience is the same. These teams are still active in the community, and much knowledge is drawn from this Challenge. Many FRC teams will use this competition to gear up for the upcoming FRC challenge.
FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST LEGO League Junior(FLLJ)
These two programs which FIRST offers are considered to be the Little League of FIRST. These competitions are geared for middle school and younger, using a kit based off of the LEGO Mindstorms system. This program is what most of the time encourages young kids into an engineering and teamwork mindset, and will hopefully encourage them to move on to FTC or FRC.
This Year's FRC Game: