[FRC Blog] We get what we celebrate!

Posted on the FRC Blog, 7/11/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-we-get-what-we-celebrate

We get what we celebrate!

2022 JUL 11 | Written by the FIRST Hall of Fame

As FIRST Robotics Competition teams wrap up the 2021-22 season and begin preparations for the new challenges ahead, summer provides an abundance of opportunities for team development, including skill building, recruitment, and community outreach.

Community outreach is a key pillar of how teams contribute to FIRST’s mission. It’s not enough for FIRST participants to simply understand and engage with the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts that power so much of what we do; we also strive to share our passion, ideas, and hard-learned lessons with our communities. By doing so, we can help more people see themselves in STEM careers, incorporate more knowledge and life experiences to better inform our own work, and take steps to build a more innovative, inclusive world where science and technology are celebrated.

Highlighting this impact that we have on our communities, transforming culture and inspiring the next generation of technology leaders, is what the FIRST Robotics Competition’s highest award has always focused on celebrating. Yet, our communities have changed in the last decades, and our attention is drawn to questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion. While this name-change was initiated because of the binary nature of the prior name, renaming the Chairman’s Award to the FIRST Impact Award, provides an opportunity to draw closer attention to what we value as a global FIRST community. The Chairman’s Award has served us well and the name will continue to be a part of our history; but this change makes it easier to effectively communicate the context and significance of the award to newcomers to FIRST, and is more translatable for our growing number of international teams.

Like most awards presented to teams, the FIRST Impact Award now more directly describes and highlights the actions that it’s trying to highlight, making it easier to understand and appreciate the work of the teams that earn it. In addition, changes to submission requirements, the judging processes, and documentation efforts that FIRST and the Hall of Fame have collaborated on in recent years, align with the new name, improving the award process to better recognize the incredible impact that teams are making year after year.

The impact we make as teams and individuals has ripple effects that can be felt around the world and over generations. The FIRST Impact Award is the driver for the culture of FIRST. It sets the tone for interconnectedness between teams and all levels of FIRST, building and maintaining relationships with sponsors, in our communities, with advocacy to our local, state and national governments, as well as inspiring our students to think outside the box and create amazing innovative approaches for lasting impacts to build the culture of the world into one that better appreciates all that FIRST represents with not only STEM, but also Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism.

The same submission process, definitions, and documentation form will apply to the FIRST Impact Award. You can find the full information and resources links at: Submitted Awards | FIRST

The FIRST Hall of Fame comprises the teams that have earned the highest honor since it was first awarded in 1992. This FIRST affiliate group is committed to preserving the mission, culture, and history of FIRST, as well as celebrating the efforts of FIRST Robotics Competition teams. ou can learn more about the FIRST Hall of Fame at firsthalloffame.org.

Please email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Thank you!

6 Likes

Of all the things this program could do to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion, I don’t think changing the naming of the Chairman’s award really matters much…

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I don’t think renaming the award is primarily an inclusion move nor is it a huge step, but I think it was well past time for the award to be renamed for a variety of reasons and if this is how they want to justify it, that’s fine with me.

It’s certainly more inclusive now than before.

Not at all disagreeing that there are big changes that can and should be made, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the little things, too.

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I find it hard to celebrate the “little things” when the organization refuses to do (or even speak about) the big things.

This feels performative.

12 Likes

No good dead goes unpunished.

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It just kinda feels like a hollow gesture when they’ve dropped the ball on so many other things. Was there really a huge outcry to change the name of the Chairman’s award to be gender inclusive this year? The FIRST board of directors even still lists the person in charge as a “chairman” despite this change. Was this an inclusion move, or was this something they were going to do anyway that they turned into an inclusion move?

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I’ve always presumed that this award, like the Woodie Flowers Award, was named for someone. It doesn’t bestow Chairmanship upon its winner; it just recognizes (at least in principle) that FIRST’s Chairman celebrates that team. Maybe I was mistaken.

In the interest of getting what we celebrate, maybe it’s time for them to rename the position on the board.

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The first Turkish team had a funny comment in 2009, when we were at Seattle together. My team, 360 won Chairman’s at that event, and my Turkish friends were like, well, what’s next? Tableman’s? It was really cute - but also, I like the change. This will also genuinely make it easier to explain the award to people, and that’s exciting for me, because I have to explain it to lots of people :slight_smile:

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Cute.

Now rename next year’s Championship venue to a location not in Texas.

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Considering when this was first announced back in February, it was announced alongside other ED&I changes, including the playlist updates regarding certain controversial songs, I think it’s a reasonable conclusion to make that this change was part of an effort by FIRST HQ along ED&I lines.

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I think the name change is overdue and I think that EDI is one of many elements that goes into that. I see how framing it as an EDI play can feel performative and tone-deaf to the more serious EDI concerns.

All I’m saying is celebrate a rightful name change, even if there are many, larger problems we would like to see solved.

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