FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

FIRST Core Values

We are excited to announce a common set of FIRST Core Values that are shared by all the FIRST Programs!

May 24, 2018 Written by Frank Merrick




In prior years, when asked what FIRST Robotics Competition’s core values were, we would talk about Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition®. Other FIRST programs, though, expanded on these two concepts by having a distinct list of values they could reference.

Today, we are announcing a common set of Core Values for all FIRST Programs. These common values will help reinforce the idea that even though the programs have their differences, we still have the same DNA. This will also improve consistency as students work their way up through the programs.

Our Core Values are:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

You will start to see these common values referenced on and FIRST Robotics Competition-specific documentation, such as the upcoming game manual for the 2019 season*.

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of summer (Northern Hemisphere) or winter (Southern Hemisphere)! And for community members in the USA, I hope you have a safe and pleasant Memorial Day weekend!


*Which is already done**
** No, it’s not



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I think these are an okay start, but leave much to be desired. Personally, I find vague core values a little superficial, and I don't find myself gaining any perspective into the direction which FIRST wants to shape itself for the next few years. I was hoping for something much more substantial, especially when it comes to defining relationships between students and mentors and industry.

I am most disappointed with the details for the following:

Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.

I really wish impact and inclusion mentioned program accessibility and diversity. When I think of impact and inclusion, I don't think of just applying what we learn, I think of making sure we impact the kids and communities who need it the most. I'm surprised this isn't mentioned anywhere despite FIRST having hired a diversity and inclusion director, Shelley Henderson. Because let us be REALLY real for a bit - FRC, and for many communities even FTC, are not truly accessible programs due to the cost of participation. 

Frank, decent start, but I think the community of FIRST would benefit more from defining these a little better.

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