Sunday, January 08, 2012

FIRST Family

Welcome, to a FIRST Family Reunion

This is Kick-Off, the opening day of the new season for 2102 Team Paradox participating in the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition. Andrea, Eli, Tatiana, Maria, Alex, and all of FIRST 2102 Team Paradox invite you to see the first day of the new season of inspiring dedication to designing, manufacturing, building, wiring, and programming a robot, while organizing seventy students, finding sponsors, building community, leading outreach programs, mentoring FRC and FLL teams, marketing our own team, and promoting the mission and vision of FIRST.

F: For
I: Inspiration
R: and Recognition
S: of Science
T: and Technology

Igniting young minds. Nurturing Passions. Practicing Gracious Professionalism.™

Dean Kamen gave the teams his homework assignment:

We were up early; supportive of each other, and eager to see Dean Kamen reveal our homework and this year's game: Rebound Rumble!

Maria and Annie are accessorized and ready for 2102 in 2012!

Dean Kamen's homework: FIRST.
The man has a mission: he wants inspiration for science and technology to be more than just an idea or concept, a robotics event. Dean Kamen wants us to change the culture, to change what we value and promote and get excited about. He wants students, and corporations, celebrities, politicians, parents, young people, everyone, to value and recognize science and technology... to appreciate and understand the significance and power of invention, creativity, education, learning, passion, and inspiration. And so he is asking the robotics teams to unite under the FIRST banner. To represent FIRST, to promote FIRST. To say FIRST, often, out loud, in print, with pride.

Homework: Done!

FIRST 2102 Team Paradox has been at it since last season!
And in this Rebound Rumble year, they are ready to suit up their freshmen in yellow on top, red on the bottom, and Paradox splendor, with the FIRST logo emblazoned on the back alongside our illustrious sponsors!

In honor of our FIRST team parent Bobbie's birthday, all FRC teams were addressed by two former presidents, the always gracious and professional, Woody Flowers, the ever young and full of potential, Stephen Colbert, and many more who support and believe in FIRST. At least, that's how we saw it. Maybe FIRST 359, The Hawaiian Kids, and NASA Administrator, Charlie Bolden were inspiring all FRC teams in science and technology but we thought it was particularly inspiring to be celebrating Kick-Off with our own celebrities, too!

FIRST smiles in fresh, new FIRST 2102 Team Paradox shirts.

2102 is our team number... the two thousand one hundred and first robotics team to register as an FRC team. Paradox: noun. 1. a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd, but in reality expresses a possible truth, because what might seem "impossible" might actually be "probable." Parrot-Ox, because who doesn't like an epic and cool mascot!?

FIRST Alumni. Asa is an original. A founding member of Team Paradox robotics, now a team mentor.

FIRST Alumnus: Tom, Nicholas, Andy, Matt, Nick. They are all on break, from schools across the country. And they are here. Because they are awesome. Because robots are cool. Because they are inspired and passionate by, for, and about FIRST 2102 Team Paradox.

FIRST President, Elise. She keeps the team on the ball.

FIRST Parents. New recruits, and the tried and true. We are all touring around campus and checking out where we'll be hanging out for the next six weeks four months.

These guys. FIRST Guys.

FIRST Talk. Now we have the rule book and game manuals, it's time to break it down and talk it out. The team breaks up into groups to tackle the different aspects of the game, from the play rules, to the lay of the field, to the robot specs. Students take it all apart, and process it to share with the whole team. Veteran team members lead these discussions while involving new members. It's all about continuing to inspire, and grow as a team.

These Gals. FIRST Gals. They have marketing, outreach, and corporate wired.

FIRST Thinkers. Kick-Off is a great day. I'm sure Darrahl, Wayne, and Nathan agree. The room is alive and buzzing, great discussions are happening everywhere, as we discuss, debate, dissect, and delight in the newest challenge from FIRST.

FIRST Diagrams. Before you can design the robot, you have to know the parameters, understand the game, learn the rules. It helps to have the experience of the prior years, and it also simply takes time... to learn the new rules, to digest the material, to envision what is a Paradox, what is possible, what is probable, and what is not an option: no projectiles!

FIRST Notes. Like any good music conductor, a FIRST team needs to bring everyone and everything together, harmoniously. And this is a team with a lot of notes, a lot of points of view, talents, ideas, approaches, so it's a challenge... a worthwhile challenge, to give everyone a chance, a voice, an opportunity to play for and with the team. Sometimes I have heard people say they 'couldn't be on a robotics team, because they lack _________ ': some skill they perceive as necessary for being Paradox. The truth is FIRST 2102 Team Paradox is an open robotics club with very many opportunities to share skills and especially to learn skills. It's about being passionate... passionate to try new things. It's about curiosity, and spirit, and a willingness to step into the mix.

Yeah, robotics is a whole lot of fun.

FIRST Team Work. Ideas, strategy, understanding, sharing... everyone has something to contribute.

Victoria and Gabe, breaking down the manual, getting ready to play Rebound Rumble.

FIRST History. Where the team is going is important, but it has to launch from a good foundation. Alumni and mentor, Andrea is talking to new alumni and mentor, Willie, about the history of the FIRST Team Paradox executive branch. Andrea is documenting who the leaders have been, and what their contributions were. Understanding the team's story, appreciating the vision and inspiration that has been building over the years keeps the team together, inspired.

FIRST Lunch! Working (some since six in the morning) all day, a team gets hungry, and there was a collective and resounding cheer for Jess and Linda when they arrived with lunch for everyone.

And there was an equally grateful second round of cheers when Myron and Sandy came in with pizzas, too.

Yes, we feed the team, every day of the six week build. And on the road, and between FRC events, and at FRC events, and while building parade floats, and when doing marketing projects, in the metal shop... so much food! That's why we are gratefully accepting contributions from all of our families and the community. Please, help our team stay nourished and healthy, so they can build robots!

Thumbs up for FIRST families, for friends, for playing and laughing, and sharing. Thumbs up for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Music.

FIRST Friends. If you are with FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, after a little time you'll find that team members become friends, and friends become family.

FIRST Celebration. Families celebrate together.

Happy Birthday, Bobbie!

And a great shout and spirited cheer for 2102 in 2012!

We've got spirit, yes we do!
We've got spirit!
How 'bout you?

This is going to be another beautiful FIRST year for Team Paradox.


judy in ky said...

This is SO COOL, Natalie! I watched the video with amazement; what an accomplishment this will be! I had to laugh out loud when the blue robot fell off and said "uh-oh"!
I love the encouragement of intelligence, creativity, technology and science. It's good to see it in action.
Also, I love Alex's fez and Maria's bare feet!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I love these peeks into your world. It's so different from mine, and I like that (not that I don't like my own life, it's lovely too). Feels almost as though I am reading somebody's storybook life!

CarrieMarie said...

so awesome!

also, i would like to thank you for opening my eyes to the world of robotics these years i have been reading your blog. through my company, i have the opportunity to be involved in a FIRST competition later this month. i'm hoping the timing will work out for me, because it looks like a lot of fun! but, if it weren't for your blog & the information you provide, i wouldn't even know or be interested in anything involving robotics. so, THANK YOU! :)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Judy and Sara, dear women, thank you for sharing your support, for not forsaking me when I rally for the robo-season.
And CarMar76! How cool is your news? I hope too, that the timing works out, because I know you will love the energy and inspiration you can pick up from a FIRST event. Thank you for letting me know about this, because it makes me feel effective and good knowing that I've influenced enthusiasm and support for FIRST, for students, for all of us.
The three of you have given me a much appreciated boost. ((hugs)) of gratitude to you.

kevinbrice said...

WHAT A POST!!!!!!! I wish I could have been there sooooooo much!!!! I am mostly certain now that I will be at the Madera regional. HOW OLD DID ASA LOOK!!!!!!!! and willie sassy looking as ever.

thanks for the documenting natalie!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Hey, Kevin!
This is a nice treat.
We missed you, and it's cool that Madera is in your future.
Have you seen the line-up for the teams playing there?
It will be intense!