News - Current Events, News, History

What Would You Pay?

San Diego, CA — What would you pay for an experience like this? Kids from all over the place have landed at the San Diego Sports Arena to do battle with robots. The FIRST Organization offers students a unique opportunity. Plenty of parents would pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for the chance that their children could participate in such a program. One of the beauties of FIRST is you do not have to be born with a silver spoon in mouth. Any child can participate. It’s not just for the elite. And, it gives you the chance to rise up and be the cream of the crop.

First of all, you get to build a robot. How many schools still have gymnastics teams? How many schools still offer driver education programs where the students actually get to drive? The fact is — fewer and fewer schools offer programs that are impacted by liability insurance. FIRST is a pleasant exception. Kids get to work in sophisticated machine shops, drilling aluminum, sawing steel, soldering, welding and riveting. At the same time, they are taught the importance of safety. That’s what makes it possible. That and the adult mentors that bring real-world experience into the schools. In fact, NASA has a mobile machine shop on site at the arena with their own crew of mentors. Wow!

Kids in the Pits Working on Robots

Kids in the Pits Working on Robots

That’s just the beginning. Here at the Western Regional competition in San Diego a student traveling from Pennsylvania is a fine example of some of the other possibilities FIRST has to offer. This particular student is part of the build team that works in the pits and with the machine shop. She also was an ambassador. Ambassadors are students that help promote the sport of robotics to people of all ages. They take elementary school visitors down into the pits for a close-up experience with the robots, as well as, taking adult VIPs on tours. An Admiral from the Navy, the Mayor of the city and CEO s from some of the largest corporations get to interact one-on-one with the ambassadors. How many kids get this kind of career exposure?

Who knows what other possibilities will present themselves at a FIRST event. Today, the student from Pennsylvania finished touring the VIPs and then was interviewed for fifteen minutes on the radio. TV stations were filming and writers were writing about her. How many kids get opportunities like this? How much would a parent pay for such a chance?

Should you get a chance to thank Dean Kamen, the sponsors, the mentors or the students, it would be worth your while. Just consider the wealth of their investment in our future?

Dean Kamen In San Diego, CA

Dean Kamen In San Diego, CA

Related Articles
About Dean Kamen
FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

Lunacy: Robots In Space
Robots Take Over the San Diego Sports Arena
Robots Drop Their Bolts & Go Nuts

One Response to “What Would You Pay?”