Since Sally-Ann Williams first invited me to volunteer with the Asia Pacific regionals of the First Robotics Competition (FRC) I’ve been able to find a few days out of my busy year to help, because although I generally live an exciting and inspiring life, the FRC Regionals are an excitement and inspiration highlight for me.
I get to meet and watch teams of young high school and collage-age people work together collaboratively to build sophisticated robots that compete in an indoor sports auditorium with all the lights, sound and spectacle of an NBA game.
I get to see young people from all over the Asia Pacific region overcome linguistic, cultural and educational barriers to form alliances of three teams to go up against other alliances.
I get to see them exhibit good sportsmanship, creativity, communication and leadership which would leave many senior business leaders in my industry gaping in awe and ashamed of their own low expectations.
I get to work alongside other volunteers from all works of life but particularly value the opportunity to network with some of the most experienced and respected engineers, scientists, educators and science communicators in Australia in a setting that allows us all to drop the trappings of hierarchy and just collaborate as peers.
It’s mind blowing that FRC is not a compulsory part of the Australian secondary education system but it’s gaining ground as something that schools from all areas and at all levels of public and private education participate.
The FRC Regionals are coming again this March and again we’re looking for volunteers. I can absolutely guarantee you will not have a more inspiring three days in 2018. Start here http://firstaustralia.org/volunteer/