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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-18-2005, 10:09 AM
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Josh Hambright Josh Hambright is offline
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

Well Ken I thank you for gracing us once again with your presence, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts, always one to point out what many have been thinking and always one to smack us upside the head when we all get out of hand sometimes and remind us of the big picture. Once again thank you for all that you have done for FIRST and for CD over the years, and i look forward to part 2.
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  #17   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 04-18-2005, 12:03 PM
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

Ken,

As always your voice is a very important one here. It seems as though we went through the build season in strong fashion, but once the regionals started it became easy to focus on the winning and losing. These thoughts and feelings understandably become magnified when you consider how hard we all work at FIRST activities.

All of the best teachers and coaches I've had in my life constantly stressed the importance of what we are doing beyond the "game" we play. I could list the names here, but the important thing is that ALL competitions, in the end, are really with yourself - striving to be better, raise the bar, play the "perfect" game, doing things the "right way" especially when no one else is looking...

Along this path are many pitfalls. We live in a society (well, those of us in the US anyway) where parents in many communities are forced to sign codes of conduct in order to attend their child's youth baseball games. It's sad, but it's true, that a significant portion (not the majority, but a significant percentage) of our adult population does not know how to behave in public, ESPECIALLY when it's to attend a child's event or competition. The only appropriate word here in my mind is "pathetic". The more people we involve in FIRST through growth, the more we will need to nuture people away from the unfortunate trends we see in society.

I've spent a big chunk of my adult life structuring organized athletic programs for young people. Although I've been competitive and stressed commitment to kids, I'd also like to think I've always thought about how much involvement was appropriate at certain age levels. I'd also like to think I keep the big picture in mind. Does T-Ball really need to begin at Age 6? Does a 9-year-old really need to play a 30 game traveling soccer schedule? If these activities are deemed appropriate and if we are going to spend all of this time, money, and effort in programs that are supposedly for the kids, who's going to keep the big picture in mind for these groups and prevent adults from getting angry with each other for stupid reasons? FIRST is not immune to any of this.

If the adults with all of this involvement and investment in these programs choose to act like jerks, we are in trouble. The basic message is this - Just because you spend a lot of time, money, and effort doing something, that doesn't give you the right to misbehave. In fact, you've got an obligation, because of your position, to provide a role model example for others to follow and you need to take that obligation seriously at all times.

If we (adults, mentors, coaches) aren't here to teach young people the right way to live life through these activities, the kids would be MUCH better off if they would organize their own ball games AND robot building in their own neighborhoods as far away from the adults as possible.

Fortunately, FIRST is filled with postive adult role models who are making a positive difference for the future. The rest of us just need to recognize that, be aware of it at all times, and consciously work at changing the culture instead of allowing the negative elements of popular culture to seep into FIRST.

I told myself that my post was going to be brief. Oops. Thanks Ken.
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Last edited by Rich Kressly : 04-18-2005 at 12:20 PM.
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Unread 04-18-2005, 06:41 PM
KenWittlief KenWittlief is offline
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

Come dance with the west wind
and touch all the mountain tops
sail over the canyons
and up to the stars

Reach for the heavens
hope for the future
all that we can be
not what we are

-J. Denver

This generation, the students reading CD today, will be part of humanitys first attempts to literally reach for the stars. We have the ability to start sending probes out to the nearest star systems, to survey the neighborhood

it will take 40 or fifty years for them to get there, and 4 or 5 years for their signals to come back and report what they find

but I honestly believe the day is not far off when we stop thinking of Mars and jupiter, and really reach for the stars.

FIRST is not a destination, its not the reward, its the slingshot that will launch you from where you are, to where you can be.

Last edited by KenWittlief : 04-18-2005 at 08:58 PM.
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Unread 04-19-2005, 08:36 PM
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

You da man Ken! I will have to forward this out to my whole team to read.

Thanks for being there for us all!

Ellery
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Unread 04-26-2005, 02:04 PM
Ken Leung's Avatar Unsung FIRST Hero
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

Thanks for the replies everyone. I want to respond to all your points, and I will, but I've been busy very busy lately trying to finish part II. Just a few more days of polishing and it will be done, so stayed tune!

P.S. This is perhaps the most difficult writing experience I've ever done, but it's tons of fun as well ;-).
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Unread 05-04-2005, 10:56 AM
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

Hi everyone. First of all thank you for those of you who spent the time reading my messages. I understand they are very long, usually longer than you expect to read in this forum, so if you find yourself skimming through it (or skipping entirely), I understand. This forum is already filled with tons and tons of messages everyday as the membership grew, so I don't blame you one bit. The fault is mine as I am still practicing the art of brevity. Some day some where I hope to be write shorter, but for now, just consider me an student learning to write all over again.

Believe it or not, there are points in these messages. It may not seem like it because they are buried in the paragraphs, but they are there. When I was writing Part I of "We aim for the stars", there were 3 primary points I was trying to make:

1. I see so many discussions happening around here of people questioning others about a. The way they participate in this program, b. the way they ran a certain event/made certain call on the field, and the way things are done by FIRST. Those discussions are ok as long as something constructive come out of it, but most of the time they are spent saying exactly that when they turned negative. It is as though the guiding light is missing.

It seems as though we are taking program for granted and forgot that these folks involved in FIRST didn't have to be here in the first place. And we forgot that the adults didn't have to volunteer at the teams at all when we question the way they act. And as soon as the discussions turned into another "you shouldn't be so ***" discussion it quickly goes down a downward spiral, with the merits of the discussion lost in the masses of posts, which could've benefited everyone if the discussion was conducted properly.

2. When we focus all our attentions at calls that were made, things that are done on various teams, or who have what more than we do, it is very easy to let these things take up all our time. Most of the high school students don't get so many years around FIRST. So I think it is very important for people to think about why they are in this program in the first place. Did we participate so we can argue with other people, or are we trying to do something bigger than that? What sort of messages are we sending to the students?

3. From time to time there are messages around here telling students as well as adults how they should act, what they should or shouldn't do. I know, because I've contributed my share to them. But after a while we forget that we can't just tell people how to think. We pretend by ordering them how and what to think, that that will naturally make everyone want to act nice. That's not to say that we shouldn't remind people how to conduct properly, but at the same time, we should remember that we better have ways to demonstrate why people should show respect to others and why they should have an opened mind, which is especially hard to show with the safety and comfort of anonymity on the internet. People are going to have to convince themselves, not us, because that's the only way that ever worked, just like the way you and I chose to respect each other.


I hope that even if you don't necessary agree with my points that at least you can understand where I am coming from. Time and time again I've learned that not only is it ok to be different and think different, but that these differences and the debates that come with them are often beneficial to our society and our way of thinking. "Being different is good", now that's something you don't see every day ;-).

I hoped you enjoyed these messages if you spent time reading them; they are my contribution to this community as I am unable to commit any time and energy to volunteer at actual events or working with teams.
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2009: Master of Ceremony @ Sac, CalGames
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  #22   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 05-04-2005, 12:01 PM
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Re: We aim for the stars (Part I)

Welcome back Ken!

For those of you that skipped over reading all that Ken had to say, go back and read it it is worth the time! He gets it!
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