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What is FIRST®?
FIRST Robotics

Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), established it in 1989 with the intention to inspire children from Kindergarten through Highschool to have an interest in science and technology. FIRST strives to provide interesting and easily accessible programs that aim to motivate young people to learn more about, and pursue a career in, subjects such as science, technology, math, and engineering. Throughout this process, FIRST additionally seeks to assist kids in building self-confidence and life skills, such as the ability to work with others and demonstrate gracious professionalism and cooperation.

What Is FIRST® ? What Is FRC? 

FIRST® stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" and "The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership."  FIRST®  seeks to introduce people to STEM through robotics competitions. They value cooperation and gracious professionalism, two key factors that influenced Christopher to create Napa County Robotics and form the OtterBots as a Community FRC Team.

FRC stands for "First Robotics Competition". FRC combines "the excitement of  sport with the rigours of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the mind."

"Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone in on teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded 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. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship."

Philosophies of FIRST

FIRST has two main philosophies that it seeks to teach kids; gracious professionalism and coopertition. 


While gracious professionals are strong competitors and eager learners, they always treat those around them with respect and kindness, and they are not rude or disrespectful to those whom they may have beaten or lost to in competition. They exhibit empathy and integrity on and off of the game field and additionally value high-quality work and community.


To be displaying Coopertition®, you must be respectful and kind to your competitors. It means that you should be helpful to those whom you are competing with, even in the depths of the competition, assisting them when you are able. Coopertition means teaching, learning from, your fellow teammates and the members of other teams.

FIRST Core Values

FIRST has five main core values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.

  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.

  • Impact:  We apply what we learn to improve our world.

  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences. 

  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.

  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

Levels of FIRST
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FIRST has a total of four different levels; FLL JR., FLL, FTC, and finally, FRC. These four different levels are tailored to the age range that they are intended for, varying in difficulty throughout the ages. Each challenge falls under the same theme, which changes yearly. 

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