Breaking the Three-Day Bias

So in thinking about the “FIRST-Geek bias”]( thread, it got me thinking into other biases involved in FIRST…

Have you ever encountered the bias that FIRST is just a three day event in the spring?

I’ve come across this in the past with people that I’m trying to fundraise to, and have yet to come up with a consistent way to effectively communicate to them that this is a year-round activity.

Have any of you run into this, and what have you done to counteract it?

I would argue that its about the inspiration, which lasts a lifetime for those students who are affected. The robot competition lasts for three days, but members spend hundreds of hours learning, brainstorming, designing, fabricating, building, testing, practicing, communicating.

Its not the event that matters - its the preparation for the event that matters!

my 2 cents,

Something that non FIRST persons may relate more to is to put it to them like a sport… say high school football… is it only a 1 day a week thing (Friday nights at the game)… or what about a class… is it only a few days a year thing on the days that your taking the test… of course the answer to all these is no. One of the most important things that I have found to stress is that its not just a robot competition… its a vehicle used to deliver education (and lots of fun), be it engineering, PR, Marketing or what have you… While you can learn alot at competition, most of the learning goes on during build and throughout the year.

As ken said its the preparation, what you do during the 362 days of the year that your not at competition that matters… analyzing forces, coding out bugs, learning new skills . First is a real world education on a small scale.

Nope… Most people I tell about FIRST don’t even know it exists and asks me if it is Battlebots, or some other competitive/destructive robotics competition.
(But that’s a whole other story)

Wow! :eek: I’ve never heard such a statement, and if I ever do, I’d give the person a stare like he or she’s never seen before and silently say, “No, this is no walk in the park, or cakewalk, or something along that line. This is a mission.” :cool:

OK, I’d really tell him or her the whole story. Pre and Post Build season, and Build season itself, the fundraising we do, the community service we do, the fun we have, the whole thing.

Warning, Shameless Plug Ahead

In 2001, Houston PBS gave three teams video cameras to document their build season. This footage, along with interviews and competition footage, was compiled to produce “Wit, Grit & Robot Games”

IMHO, it is a rather good chronicle of a build season for a FIRST team. Especially considering that it is only an hour long. I’m sure this is not the be-all end all fundraising tool, but it could be a good tool to have in reserve.

Wit, Grit & Robot Games Summary

Wit, Grit & Robot Games for sale

<shameless_plug>In 2003, NHPTV did a short segment on Team 134 from Pembroke Academy. I’ll see if I can dig it up…erg its not on the server anymore. I’ll see if I can’t find it again. If i can I’ll link it. That little segment aired about a week before Nationals, and we only went because of people seeing it. They realized that those kids calling them at 3pm every school day were actually trying to get money for a worthwhile cause.</shameless_plug>
<rant>I think the reason people think that FIRST is just some three-day event is because they don’t understand what actually goes on in those six weeks. I mean, yeah they see us come into school looking like zombies, and they know that some people start smelling like chain lube and such…but for the most part, they don’t realize that for a lot of us, there is a deep commitment to our team that we do a very large amount of work for that team.</rant> I’ll end this before I get more into babbling mode =D

I’ve tried to describe it to people, and they all usually seem to understand that it’s not just the three days at the competition, they do understand that lots of time goes into building the robots, but what they always miss is the fundraising and marketing.

Even while at big events, my town does a “Smithtown Day”, where main street is closed, and local vendors setup booths along it, my old team gets space to fundraiser. And everyone sees, “wow, a robot, that must’ve taken a while to build!” But they don’t understand why we’re there, why we’re trying to get out to the community, or why we’re trying to find local companies willing to donate a couple hundred dollars to our cause. You get the rare person who gets the whole thing, but not often enough.

On the plus side, they all usually seem to understand the gneral idea of the Chairmans Award, and as far as I can tell, that’s really the thing that the community should understand, because that’s the thing that will be affecting them the most, if at all.

What you can do is make up a sample “calendar/schedule” that a team would follow throughout the year.

Starting in August/September with first meetings of the school year where you talk about organizing the team into subsections … holding and attending workshops … pr … fundraising … mentoring FLL teams … deciding which events to attend … and off season events from the previous game … in this section (for those attending the Toronto Kickoff …) you can include your preparation for the BetaBot Challenge … or other challenges your kickoff site may hold.

Then go to January/February where you obviously have build season, but on top of that there is more fundraising and a lot of pr going on in preparation for the actual event.

Then the events all throughout March and April. and then Nationals. But here, you can also say how you use the events to showcase your robot to prospective sponsors.

Then the off season events through the summer and further fundraising and publicity …If you do workshops or anything else in the summer, that would fit in here …

Hope this helps.

– Shyra

Whenever I talk about FIRST or 639 to a interested person or a potential sponsor, I always make sure to talk about the 6 week build season and what incorporates. Ken Patton described it very well.

However, I believe that through making videos about FIRST or your local teams, we can give FIRST the exposure that lengthy speeches or sponsorship letters cannot.

Currently, I am working on documenting our 2005 season in video in hopes that we can get more support to what FIRST is, as well as breaking the “three-day” and “battlebots” biases.

Whenever I’m attempting to dispel any FIRST biases, I always shown them our 2003 animation entry. The 30-second clip does an effective job at showing (a) FIRST is not ‘battlebots’ (b) FIRST lasts a lifetime © You learn real life skills.

Those are typically the three messages I try to get across when I talk about FIRST. I’ve given a great many presentations since I’ve been involved with FIRST; what usually sticks with people the most is the six week time factor. I usually talk about that first before moving into the long-lasting positive effects of being involved in FIRST.

–Andrew Duch

Media is definately the way to go. For example, how often do you understand the game by watching the game video vrs. reading the game manual?

As for fundraising, we usually give them information packets about the team/first that has websites and stuff. After that, they kind of realize just how big it really is. That is kind of shocking though - I never even though about that :ahh: . Maybe if you put an added emphasis on just how big those “three day regionals” actually are, it might help :confused:

It’s hard enough getting people in FIRST to buy into what FIRST truly is.
It’s like religion. They pay lip service to it but do they really believe it?
Just because you say you’re all about Gracious Professionalism doesn’t mean it’s ingrained in you. Do you apply those behaviors to other aspects of your life outside of FIRST?
When Dean is telling people about Gracious Professionalism he’s not asking us to apply it January through April and only at the shops and the event sites with just other people who are involved in FIRST. He mean in your everyday life, to everyday people. He’s not looking for them to change. He’s looking for us to change first so we can change them.