As FIRST in Texas has matured in its mission and scope, something special has been happening in our state that brings the word power to mind: an expansive, continuous growth in STEM involvement among our youth.
If you’re a Spider-Man fan, you’ll know the phrase,”With great power comes great responsibility.”
Anyone who has been involved in FIRST programs and events knows that, in recent years, we’ve seen exciting growth. There’s some serious STEM power coming to Texas, and it’s coming in the form of young people who have that fire of excitement in their eyes–kids who see the life-changing potential of STEM studies and want to pursue rewarding careers long-term that are tied to their experiences with FIRST in Texas.
Thanks to the help of partners and legions of mentors and volunteers, we’re seeing an increase in robotic teams and events across the state.
But with great STEM power comes great responsibility, and if we’re going to be wise stewards of this growth, Texas will need to step up in big ways. That, of course, means more volunteers. It means more volunteers who understand the power they wield to change the lives of children and the future of our communities across Texas.
There is a high demand for volunteers in Texas, and it’s the perfect opportunity to make a lasting difference in your community.
With our continuous increase in robotics teams, it means we must add more events. This can’t be done without you. We need people with a heart for STEM and, most importantly, a desire to see kids across the socioeconomic spectrum in Texas discover paths into successful careers. What do volunteers do? Volunteer roles vary from the technical to non-technical which includes:
- Event set-up and break-down
- Refereeing for robotics competitions
- Team mentoring
Those are just a few general categories. The fact is that FIRST programs are run by volunteers. It doesn’t have to be intensive. It can be as little as one weekend to help, and it can non-technical or technical expertise. Frankly, whatever skills or experience you have, a role can be found for you. All you need is the willingness to dive in and help change the lives of kids with the exciting world of STEM.
For one thing, few volunteer opportunities combine such unique elements. With FIRST in Texas, you will:
- Play an important role changing the futures of kids who may someday lead their respective industries related to STEM
- Be surrounded by the fun of LEGO® bricks, robots and other interesting technology and topics
- Experience the rare excitement of a robot competition. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. (You might say it’s a combination of a sporting event, a robot parade, and a dance party with family and friends. It’s certainly something that the young scientist and superhero Peter Parker would love.)
There are few volunteer opportunities that combine all of these elements into one experience. It’s a rare and exciting opportunity to be the superhero in a student’s life. That may sound like hyperbole, but these kids genuinely look up to the adults who run these events because you’re opening a door for them into an exciting new world.
And if you’re a parent who is already attending an event that includes your child, you might as well join the fun and volunteer to make sure your child, and all of their team members, experience the best possible event.
To give you a sense of the wide range of opportunities available, here are a few links to help:
The varsity Sport for the MindTM, FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team.
Peter Parker considered himself a “friendly neighborhood” superhero, and when you get involved in opportunities like this, in a certain way you become a friendly neighborhood superhero for your own community.
The Power of Teamwork
When you volunteer, you’re not alone in transforming your community for the better. Some of the most significant companies in Texas are diving in to save the day too. For example Texas Instruments
and BAE Systems
each have thriving volunteer pools. Students are getting the chance to meet accomplished STEM professionals who are doing big things in their industries. It creates an exciting atmosphere for the teams and at robotics events.
Don’t take our word for it, here are some social media posts of some pumped volunteers from Texas Instruments and BAE Systems:
Many other companies are involved too. It’s a unique and inspiring team effort between local community members like yourself and companies who strengthen the economy and communities of our state.
How Will You Change the Future of Texas?
When you consider how important STEM is in our tech-centered world, you begin to see how even a small amount of effort in STEM volunteerism can change the life of a student and eventually transform an entire state.
Within FIRST®there are over 255,000 volunteers who support teams and events nationwide. Closer to home in Texas we have over 12,000 volunteers and 6,000 mentors supporting teams and events across all four programs. This means with even more events happening during the 2019-2020 FIRST RISE season the need for volunteers will continue to grow.
What is boils down to is this, big things are happening in Texas. FIRST programs are quickly spreading into every corner of the state. To manage this rapid team and event growth, and to succeed in the broader mission of bringing these opportunities to every student in Texas (no matter their socioeconomic background), we need superheroes like you to make it happen.
Discover how you can support the next generation of leaders and innovators in your community