My family and I arrived home last night from Atlanta. There is so much I want to share with our supporters, first off……Thank You. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your prayer support, cheering us on, supporting us financially and for taking such a strong interest in what we are trying to accomplish.
I have often heard about what an incredible opportunity it is to attend the World Festival, but let me tell you it is so much more!! As a Core Values team we went to the festival with a really good understanding of what FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is all about, but we left the festival with an even greater understanding. I think I can speak for the team and the parents when I say this opportunity changed us all for the better.
Throughout the Power Puzzle season I saw my team rise to deal with many, many challenges. I saw them grow in leaps and bounds, stretch themselves and then grow some more, with the biggest growth taking place since January. With FIRST the learning never ends. You would think that after spending so many months together working on the challenge that the learning curve would plateau, but not so. These kids never cease to amaze me. At the World Festival I saw things come even more together. The results may not have been apparent to those around us in terms of high scores and trophies, but I saw things that so beautifully illustrate what this whole adventure has been about. I saw excellent team work with quick thinking and improvisation on the playing field. I saw hugs of appreciation and respect between the two team members everyone would voted as “least likely to hug”. I saw the power of determination rise up. There were supporting pats on the back and words of encouragement, even to me! I saw a group of young people that are able to successfully balance multiple tasks while keeping stress to a minimum and enjoying themselves. I witnessed tears of joy with a job well done, and more tears at the closing of the festival because it was over. It was a defining experience.
I feel honoured to be a part of this organization because of what it strives to teach the kids, critical thinking, teamwork, time management and values. I have learned many valuable lessons from this group and enjoyed sharing what wisdom and experience I have gained in return. At the festival we had the privilege of hearing a number of extraordinary people reiterate why they value FIRST. For me personally, FIRST founder, Dean Kamen’s speech highlighted the I(Inspiration) in FIRST. What an incredible man!
The kids had great fun cheering on the other Canadian teams and developed stronger ties with two of the Ontario FRC teams (ages 15+). We were so thrilled for the Simbotics hard earned victory and the recognition they have been receiving from the media. We also formed friendships with many of the other FLL teams from around the globe (ages 9-14). What a multicultural experience!
The event itself was run exceptionally well, particularly when considering the impact the tornado had on the area just a few short weeks before. The staff and volunteers were exceptional! These people obviously care deeply for what FIRST represents and what the kids are doing.
The Saturday night finale was the cherry on the top of this whole season. I was in awe of how much respect the teams were shown. No expense was spared in acknowledging the effort these teams have put forth. The entertainment, the games, the dinner, and the exceptional fireworks said it all. These kids are the future and it is a future filled with potential.
Thank you for being part of our special journey.
Coach C. & the W.A.F.F.L.E.S.