This is a bit of a rant that may not flow perfectly, if you want it to flow perfectly I’ll send you some of my Fluids homework, it’s much prettier than this
NOTE: this cover a broad range of problems I am noticing as an Alumni of the program, not any single problem
I don’t get it, and maybe i never will.
I’ve been a member of FIRST since 2002, I have been active on CD since 2004 and still regularly attend regionals when given the opportunity. 9 years in the FIRST community! 7 years as a member of our CD Community… What happened to us?
As a whole I see the system failing to achieve it’s own goals. More and more teams are competing every year and every year we initiate thousands upon thousands of new students into our community. But at what cost? Many of these new teams are led by individuals who do not fully understand or recognize the true desire of FIRST as an organization, and see it only for the competition. These students are being sent out to a world that they do not fully understand or appreciate, which leaves them vulnerable to their own, or their mentors, misguidance and misinterpretation.
Before you read further, understand that I’m not saying growth is bad for the program, far from that in fact. I’m saying that the rate at which growth is occurring, and the way that expansion is achieved may very well be hurting these students more than helping. How many new teams were formed last year and still exist today? How many students were on those teams that were truly inspired by FIRST, yet lost the opportunity to compete due to inadequate funding? I understand that as a community we would like to see every student with some interest in science, technology, or engineering to have the opportunity to take part, but how realistic of a goal is that? Are we pushing expansion without looking at the consequences?
When I come back to these forums as a FIRST alumni, I see students with unclear understandings of the program complaining about something that has been a valuable aspect of FIRST for as long as I have been around. I have read posts by mentors who enter into FIRST with the wrong interpretation of the programs and the goals. Like any other competition and organization, FIRST has a reason behind every decision it makes. I’ll surely be one of those people to speak out when I believe they have made a mistake. And as far as recent events on CD are concerned, 217 & 469 for example, I will certainly protect the teams and individuals I have come to respect and admire when they are slandered on these forums.
Don’t get me wrong, I am disgusted with the amount of complaining and whining that takes place here. I am flabbergasted when I see some of the most important and respected members of our community have their posts (which are most likely civil and explain the situation from a more experienced point of view) ignored simply because an individual refuses to step back ad re-evaluate the situation. I do not like to see friends of mine discouraged when their hard work, and the hard work of their team, is defiled openly and in many cases cowardly.
I feel like this gap, this riff in our community is in dire need of a bridge. Mentors of newer teams, encourage your students to READ through the depths of CD, there is a lot of information, knowledge, and incite that they could never get from you hidden in the threads here. newer students, If I can encourage you to do one things while a member of our little CD community it would be this, when you feel like you’ve been wronged or you feel the need to post something controversial, PM one of these respected members of the community first. They will be more than willing to take the time out to either re-read your post and suggest less brash wording, or talk to you one-on-one in order to explain the situation. Mentors and students alike, If you have a problem with a team, the way it’s run, or the way you were treated by a team member, take the time to talk to them personally before you attempt to defile them openly. Misunderstandings and a lack of communication is our major problem here, and it is time we fixed it.