FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH USA, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
Renowned inventor and FIRST founder Dean Kamen's vision is"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.".
Currently there are 4 competitions administered by FIRST:
- FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), 1992-present
- FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), 2005-present
- FIRST LEGO League (FLL), 1998-present
- Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) 2004-present
In 1998, FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and the LEGO Group’s Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen joined forces to create FIRST LEGO League (FLL), a powerful program that engages children in playful and meaningful learning while helping them discover the fun in science and technology through the FIRST experience. Over 200,000 children in 60 countries are currently active in FLL.
Dean and Kjeld have a shared belief that FLL inspires teams to research, build, and experiment, and by doing so, they live the entire process of creating ideas, solving problems, and overcoming obstacles, while gaining confidence in their abilities to positively use technology.
The LEGO Group is the Founding Partner of FLL. Since its inception, the LEGO Group has supported the growth and success of FLL by contributing each year to the development, management, and funding of customized Challenge Kits, Robot Sets, marketing communications resources, volunteers, and more.
“FLL encourages children to design, construct, and program their own intelligent inventions. This allows them not only to understand technology, but to become masters of it.”
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen - Owner & Deputy Chairman, the LEGO Group
In 2009 Electronics Engineer Jason Kyle undertook the process of bringing FIRST to New Zealand beginning with FIRST LEGO League. The need for an annual thematic challenge based STEM program with genuine appeal across a wide cross section of students appeared to be missing and FLL filled this gap exceptionally well. Without generating interest in technology and engineering at an earlier age often students have formed future directions without having an opportunity to experience it first hand, even senior robotics is often devoid of potential participants. FLL is the foundation.
After 3 successful FLL seasons in New Zealand it became obvious some of the older students needed something bigger and cooler! Enter FIRST Tech Challenge, the next step in FIRST's progression of programs. Kiwi FIRST has been piloting FTC since 2012 and being a carefully designed follow-on to FLL we look forward to seeing FLL graduates moving up and taking on a new challenge with a genuine engineering experience.
See you at a FIRST event soon.
Jason Kyle - Kiwi FIRST founder