What is FIRST?

FIRST stands For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

FIRST was founded in 1989 with 28 New Hampshire high school teams competing in a basic robotics competition. Since then, it has grown to 2,300 teams and 58,000 students participating around the world. Founded by inventor and engineer Dean Kamen, FIRST inspires young people to participate and become leaders in science and technology through energizing mentor-based programs that build life-long skills in science, engineering, and technology; inspire life-long innovation; and encourage well-rounded life skills like teamwork, communication, acceptance, self-confidence, perseverance, trust, initiative, and leadership. 

FIRST's Mission Statement:
"Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, 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

FIRST has setup their robotics competitions into several different categories, each gained towards the whole  range of students from elementary school to high school. FIRST has also partnered up with LEGO in order bring a new competition towards young kids and students. Below is the competitions and their description:

FRC“The varsity sport for the mind,” FRC 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.
FTCFTC is designed for those who want to compete head-to-head, using a sports model. Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments.
FLLThe best way to summarize FIRST LEGO League is to say that it is a robotics program for 9 to 14 in the United States and Canada (9 to 16 in other countries), which is designed to get children excited about science and technology -- and teach them valuable employment and life skills. FLL can be used in a classroom setting but is not solely designed for this purpose. Teams, comprised of up to ten children with at least one adult coach, can also be associated with a pre-existing club or organization, home schooled, or just be a group of friends who wish to do something awesome. 

How FIRST has affected us:
FIRST has given us opportunities that we wouldn't have had on our own.  FIRST allows us to broaden our views of science, technology, and communication.  We have met a lot of people interested in the same things we are, and we have begun networking for our future.  We've gained technical skills in the fields that we're going to go into, and we're steps ahead of our peers.  FIRST has presented us with great opportunities, and we've had fun while doing it.