Dear FIRST Texas Community,
We hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits. We want to express our deepest gratitude for your unwavering support and dedication to the FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge programs across our great state. Over the years, we have witnessed countless young minds blossom, talents flourish, and dreams ignite, all thanks to the incredible efforts of students, mentors, coaches, and volunteers like you. We have returned to pre-pandemic participation numbers and produce more than 140 events across this great state each season. We have more than 30,000 young Texans in our programs supported by a group of more than 7,000 dedicated volunteers.
As we navigate through these challenging times, we understand that the past several years have been particularly trying for all of us. The pandemic brought unprecedented hardships and uncertainty to our lives, causing us to reimagine and adapt how we operate. In the face of adversity, you have shown remarkable resilience and creativity, finding innovative ways to continue participating in our transformative programs.
However, we must acknowledge the harsh reality that our operating costs have risen significantly due to record inflation in recent years in key industries such as services, food (8%), lodging (7.5%) and transportation (11%). The financial strain brought about by these unforeseen circumstances has forced us to reevaluate our fee structure for teams in Texas. We recognize that the timing of this announcement may not be ideal, but please understand that we have explored every other avenue and are left with no choice but to make this difficult decision as a last resort. Starting this season, we will raise the state fee for participation for FIRST LEGO League to $225 and the League Fee for FIRST Tech Challenge to $300. Rest assured, the decision to increase fees was not taken lightly. Our primary goal remains steadfast—to provide an inclusive, equitable, and diverse opportunity for all young Texans, regardless of their background or financial circumstances.
We want to emphasize that this adjustment in fees will allow us to continue delivering the high-quality experience you have come to expect from FIRST in Texas. By addressing our financial challenges, we can ensure the longevity and sustainability of our programs and our nonprofit organization.
We are very grateful to our many team grant sponsors, and remind everyone to apply for team grants. This is a great way to help fund your team with equipment and assistance with registration fees. To learn more about our robust grant program, please visit http://firstintexas.org/grants The application process is quick, simple and allows our team to match you with a possible gracious sponsor.
Your input matters to us, and we encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback. Our dedicated state-wide program managers are here to address any questions or concerns you may have.
[email protected] – FIRST LEGO League
[email protected] – FIRST Tech Challenge
Thank you for your time, your passion, and your unwavering dedication to the young minds of Texas.
Executive Director / President