Last season, FIRST in Florida started a new program to recognize teams that do a lot of outreach. Florida FIRST Showcase Teams have to
1. Actively and professionally participate in a minimum of three outreach events organized in Florida by FIRST.
2. Document involvement in at least three additional outreach events in their community – science fairs, e-week, etc..
Showcase teams must:
- Exhibit Gracious Professionalism at all times
- Be student-driven
- Understand FIRST
- Understand and can speak to the importance of FIRST involvement in enhancing their academic and future workforce experiences.
Team Duct Tape is the first FIRST Tech Challenge recipient in the state, recognized for our active community engagement, in these FIRST in Florida organized outreach efforts:
- St Pete Science Festival – FIRST exhibit staffing
- Lockheed Martin Lakeland Charities of Choice event
- Barcamp Tampabay– presentations, demos and outreach
- Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire – FIRST Exhibit staffing
- FRC Orlando Regional Championship FTC exhibit area
And in our own organized efforts that included participation in a channel 8 Daytime TV Show episode, outreach to local chapters of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), as well as exhibiting at local homeschool groups and the library.
The Showcase Teams program is not an official judged component in FIRST competitions, but it’s a nice way to be publicly recognized for community outreach and service, and offers some nice talking points at events. Recognized teams receive letters of acknowledgement, certificates of appreciation and a blue ribbon icon to use on their websites (ours is in the top right corner!) and media material.
Teams can apply for FIRST Showcase Team recognition year round at FIRST in Florida. Join us and let’s make a big community of awesomeness!
TDT members went to work Saturday sharing prototypes and sketches, and discussing ideas for the new season build. With an all-new team, most fresh to the FIRST experience, just getting started is a big challenge. But team members gamely jumped in, seriously considering one another’s ideas and weighing in with some thoughtful insights.
TDT founding member, Chris Willingham, now a team mentor, introduced the group to CAD basics, and we learned we’re a few parts short of a basic build, so we’ve got some things on order. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a basic drive train underway at our next meeting, before we head out to visit the nearby Backyard Workshop, to learn about some cool machines and tools and see some CNC work underway for sponsor Learning is for Everyone’s TEDxYouth@TampaBay event.
reconnecting with the SME, whose long time academic and fiscal support of Team Duct Tape is deeply appreciated!
We also enjoyed having Barack and George, a visiting pair of tan and white sibling poodles, at our meeting. They set the gold standard for Gracious Professionalism in a way we can only hope the parties of their namesakes can rise to achieve. And they were pretty good role models for us, too!
TDT programmers enjoyed the hospitality of Middleton High School teams, Minotaur and Aionios Tyfonas (Eye-oh-Knee-Us Tie Fo Nus, they tell us!), who kindly shared their practice room so that we could better fine tune autonomous programs. In the
final analysis, their autonomous programs are still much better than ours, but the Middleton teams are great fun to spend time with and their coach and mentors were very kind and helpful to TDT students. They even stayed after their own practice time ended to encourage and cheer our programmers efforts to succeed on a particularly difficult program. (We didn’t succeed, but can honestly say we had fun trying with such a supportive crowd!)
Minotaur and Aionious Tyfonas are definitely Gracious Professionals, teams we know are fierce competitors on the field, and great friends in the pit.
Thank you very much, Minotaur and Ainios Tyfonas, for your warm hospitality, support and help. You’re two great teams we look forward to competing and allying with at the Florida FTC State Championship this Saturday! And also to eating pizza and going on tours of Embry Riddle with!
Here’s to the true spirit of FIRST, which we fully enjoyed and appreciated while working in the friendly company of those with whom we not only compete, but also share the common goal of helping create young, achievement oriented professionals of high integrity. In short – just the kind of able-minded, technically and scientifically skilled, respectful, and compassionate people we need for a better future. for all of us!