Last summer, in an effort to raise the visibility of FIRST teams and better connect them with area mentors and supporters. we hosted an inaugural Meet & Greet event in Tampa. We did another event at the Orlando Science Center in December, and just this week hosted another event at the Microsoft Store in the Florida Mall in Orlando. What we’ve learned from these events is that mentors are as interested in support and networking as teams are, and so we’ve refined our Meet & Greet idea into a regular FIRST Mentors Meet Up group.
The Florida FIRST Mentors Meet Up Group currently alternates monthly meet ups between Tampa and Orlando. Other area meet ups will be added over the course of the year. The goal of the meet ups is to offer a platform for existing mentors and supporters to share experiences, ideas and best practices with each other and with others interested in mentoring FIRST teams. It also provides a way for potential sponsors of teams, events and programs to learn more about FIRST from area professionals, and to hear from teams, who will be invited to the meet ups to share their stories, and how their mentoring requests.
We hope the Florida FIRST Mentors Meet Up Group will build our FIRST support network in the communities that will benefit from our youth STEM programs the most: our business and technology communities that will be hiring and working with our students, and represent the fields in which our students will be eventually be running their own businesses and serving back to the communities that helped them.
The new Meet Up group will also serve to help FIRST teams “pitch” their teams and the needs that will help improve their team experience and success on the field and off. We hope this new platform for bringing together teams and the professional community will build our FIRST support network in a new and fulfilling way for both teams and businesses, and prove a rewarding experience for both!
We invite professionals and educators in technology fields – programmers, electrical engineers, computer science professionals, web designers, app developers, manufacturing and related industrial technologists, as well as general business leaders – who are interested in learning more about mentoring youth in our FIRST programs to please join us for upcoming events.
We lift as we rise, so join with us to raise our next generation of science and technology leaders together!