FIRST Robotics was started by Dean Kamen and Woodie Flowers in 1989 to encourage interest in engineering in a variety of students but especially minorities and young women. The very first competition took place in a gymnasium in New Hampshire and has since spread across the globe.
The two primary values in all of FIRST are Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition. Gracious Professionalism encourages respect among teams within the competition and discourages “trash talk” and other unprofessional behaviours. Coopertition encourages not only competition but cooperation within the competition. Often teams will help each other by fixing parts, programming, exchanging ideas, etc. This is encouraged by the FIRST organization.
There are four programs that encompass the FIRST program. These programs start in kindergarten with FIRST LEGO League Junior and end at the high school level with FIRST ROBOTICS Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge. But many who leave the program continue to mentor and coach teams through college and afterwards.
For more information on FIRST see the website firstinspires.org