New Year, renewed focus! And regardless of how or where you celebrate the new year, there is never a time of year that it isn't important to think about giving back
That means something different to different people. For some, it's giving back to their community: community service, donating time or money, and even volunteering. For others, it's spending time with family: building snowman, taking a hike along a beach, or even just staying home and playing board games.
There are thousands of ways to define giving back, and one of those ways within our FIRST® community, is Gracious Professionalism®.
Gracious Professionalism is "a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community." Our top teams and volunteers exhibit this quality on the competition field, at home in their communities, and even online.
This characteristic is strongly represented in our teams that become our Inspire Award Winners; teams which other FIRST® Tech Challenge teams go to for advice, help, and whom foster the next generation. When a team goes above and beyond to create a sense of belonging for all teams within their community and the competitions they attend, they are the pillars that we at FIRST seek out. Our Inspire Award winners from the past few World Championships are prime examples of our experts in the field whom have helped create and shape our resources thousands of other teams have used. These teams have given back to the FIRSTTech Challenge community many times over and are the basis for what we look for when we seek out help from teams in the future. They are still creating these inclusive communities in their backyard, even as they gear up and face the next challenge our Program presents them.
Our volunteers are no stranger to giving back. Most shy away from any form of recognition, saying, "I'm here to make a difference for those students who will be making a difference in the future." THAT is what is how FIRST Tech Challenge keeps growing; from an attitude of giving back, paying forward, and creating a culture where being the best isn't about who wins on the field, but how we can keep inspiring those who will be changing and defining our future. There is not enough thank you's in the universe that could adequately show the deep appreciation FIRST and our teams have for our volunteers.
Regardless of who you are, student, Mentor, Coach, or Volunteer, the Gracious Professionalism you exhibit is changing the culture one person at a time. Every individual you interact with – at a competition, in your workshop, or even online – are impacted by your actions. From all of us here at FIRST, thank you. Thank you for your passion, your drive, your commitment to learning, your commitment to each other...and most especially for your acts of Gracious Professionalism.
You are what defines FIRST Tech Challenge, and it is YOU who is changing the culture around us.