Team Rush National Advocacy Conference

Dear FRC Teams:

This summer Team RUSH is coordinating with FIRST and hosting our 2nd Annual National Advocacy Conference (NAC) in Washington, DC and YOUR team is invited! We will teach students how to lead meetings with their Senators and Members of Congress while gaining self confidence and presentation skills along the way. The conference will be June 14th, 15th, 16th, 2015. Space is limited and we are trying to get as many teams from different states as possible. Please let me know if you have any questions. We want to have a big impact in DC and make FIRST known! Last year, we had 150 participants and we are expecting more this year!

Please check out for more information and registration information.

Our experience at NAC 2014 was amazing. Between the preparation we did before the event and the seminars and role-playing we did at the conference, I felt more than ready to talk with our law makers and their staff members. Students advocating for their own educational opportunities sends a really powerful message and it felt great to be part of a national push to more fully support STEM in our schools.

This is by far one of the best experiences a team can have. You get great training in how to talk to your lawmakers. It is an excellent opportunity to effect change in our society in a complete different way.I highly recommend this conference to all FRC teams.

Attending the NAC was a very unique experience that showed us the inner workings of Washington like no other tour. Getting to speak with your representatives themselves feels like democracy at its finest. I personally enjoyed the ability to meet new people - as we were learning about STEM legislation and how to lobby, there were several activities that let us interact and get to know other teams. It really felt like we were at least raising awareness of STEM education issues among the legislators we spoke with. At the end, my friends and I were much more articulate speakers than when we arrived at the beginning of the conference. I strongly recommend both engineering and non-engineering students to attend, if only so that they may learn about why not every student has the ability, resources, knowledge or motivation to succeed, and what they can do to fix these problems.

The NAC was an experience unlike any other. Teams from across the country come together in a united cause. It’s refreshing meeting teams and getting to know teams outside of the hectic environment of competitions. Last year was my second time lobbying with Team 27. The experiences I’ve made have helped me in school and other aspects of my robotics team. By the end of the conference, everyone is comfortable and confident in their knowledge and the impact they can make on our representatives.

I couldn’t agree more to the above posts. The NAC really gave Team 1002 a great intro to Capitol Hill. I would highly recommend it to teams looking to boost their relations with public officials.

Since we have gone to the NAC, we have had our Congressman come visit our STEM program at our school. In addition, the First Lady of Georgia is coming to visit us tomorrow!

My favorite part about the NAC was seeing the enthusiasm and respect of almost every representative or assistant we talked to in DC. It was a fantastic feeling knowing that we were doing our part to make a difference to get more recognition and funding for STEM education. The conference also helped me to gain more communication skills and confidence from talking to numerous important adults.

The NAC was a great experience for our team, students, mentors, and teachers. We had been looking for a good introduction into getting more involved in FIRST Advocacy in our government, and the NAC was a great starting point. The training we received the first couple of days prepared us well to talk to our representatives. The students really learned a lot about what is currently going on in the government as it relates to STEM. They used that information to put together a great presentation for their representatives. As a result of our trip Congresswoman Louise Slaughter decided to support the STEM Gateways Act written by Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Kennedy.

Our team really enjoyed interfacing with all the teams at the conference and making new friends in FIRST.

I would highly recommend this conference to teams that are looking at getting involved in FIRST Advocacy and want some help taking that first step.

As a mentor that has participated with our team the last 2 years I can say that out of outreach activities, the NAC is an experience not to be missed. It provides immeasurable benefits across many different levels.
The first year we attended it was very eye opening for the students to learn about problems faced by different educational groups and exactly how the government works with give & take, why the process takes so much time. After that first year the students were re-energized with the knowledge that they could make a difference and directed even more effort to local legislative efforts. It was great to see students that historically had been in build or drivers become confident & composed speakers advocating for what they believe in and to adults in what can be perceived as intimidating positions of power. Socializing and bonding with other teams during the process away from the high paced arena of competition was invaluable as well. We made a lot of new friends and look forward to seeing them each year. Within our own team, interacting with different team members in a new way really helped the coach, mentors & students too. During the year I would work mostly with the programming and web students and didn’t have as much mentoring interaction with other students. During this trip we got to work together in a different aspect and learn more about our students’ skills. I cannot pick 1 favorite part, the entire experience is fun & rewarding.