FIRST Canada Strategic Plan:

The Path to 2020 – A National Vision

The Path to 2020, FIRST Robotics Canada’s strategic plan, was developed through an extensive process. Thorough research, extensive collaboration, and consultation with our community have resulted in the articulation of a strategic plan to guide FIRST Canada’s growth. Our mission, vision, and values create the foundations for this work.

Overview of our Strategic Plan

The core of our Strategic Plan is the continued development and access to exemplary learning opportunities in STEM for students and mentors. At all levels, the FIRST family of programs provide experiential learning that encompasses a diverse array of disciplines in STEM and the arts, and engenders building of “soft skills”. It is our goal to engage an increasing number of students in FIRST programs to enable clear understanding of the potential in STEM programs and careers. Mission, Vision, and Values The mission, vision, and values of FIRST Canada create the foundation of The Path to 2020. In turn, the Strategic Plan guides all decisions and actions.

The Mission of FIRST Canada: to inspire young Canadians to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting programs, supported by mentors, that build skills, inspire innovation, and foster self-confidence, teamwork, communication, and leadership.

The Vision of FIRST Canada: to transform Canada by creating a culture where science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming leaders in STEM fields.

The values of FIRST Canada are: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

Students and volunteers engaged in FIRST Canada programs will reflect inclusive diversity of contemporary Canadian society. Respect and equity are key to this experience. We encourage greater access and participation in our programs for women, First Nations, and the underserved.

Cooperation and Competition. Success in FIRST programs hinges on cooperation with both alliance and competing teams. We believe that by collaboratively supporting excellence for all teams raises the level of learning through blending cooperation and competition. We call this “coopetition”.

Transfer of Knowledge and Skills. We believe that much valuable learning takes place when students work side-by-side with adult mentors who take time from their professional careers to share their knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise. Life-long bonds are created and students are exposed to exciting career opportunities.

Gracious Professionalism. FIRST programs reward both on-field and off-field conduct that models the best values of professional respect and courtesy.

Strategic Directions:
1. Support program development, real world learning, and application of theory and skills.
2. Develop and support our Community.
3. Ensure sustainability.

Program Development, Real world Learning, and Application

We commit to grow student engagement in the FIRST Canada family of programs. We commit to support diverse, inclusive, and equitable access for students and mentors. We believe that FIRST programs introduce students to the richness of STEM and commit to showcase these opportunities.

Desired Outcomes for 2020:
• Support the application of STEM through FIRST Programs to a diverse youth population
• Support participation in age appropriate programs that are representative of real world issues or present real world challenges
• Support integration with school curriculum
• Provide a network of support for mentors
• Provide or support opportunities to showcase learning through tournaments, competitions, and outreach
• Develop connections to role models/mentors in STEM
• Implement and support networking to provide learning and integration

Develop and support our community

We commit to develop a connected community where students, mentors, alumni, sponsors, and supporters have access to communication to facilitate interaction. We commit to grow the number of FIRST teams across Canada while maintaining the high level of excellence for which we are known. FIRST has strong FLL and FRC programs in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta; rapid expansion in British Columbia is underway. As local resources and funding become available, additional provinces will be added; FIRST Canada will mentor local organizations until strong local leadership is established. FIRST Canada will remain the primary contact for FIRST Headquarters (based out of Manchester, NH).

Desired Outcomes for 2020:
• Develop a connected community through diverse and consistent communication streams
• Maintain a robust volunteer base
• Develop and maintain a robust Alumni community
• Further engage our Executive Advisory Board as a vibrant sounding board to support FIRST Canada
• Further develop and maintain diverse communication methods and tools
• Consolidate past growth, in the family of programs beyond currently engaged provinces, while maintaining high quality

Sustainability

We commit to ensure sustainability on all levels, including financial and governance.
We will continue to seek and use research to inform our practices.

Desired Outcomes for 2020:
• Secure funding to ensure continued financial stability through diversity of revenue streams
• Secure funding to ensure continued sustainable growth
• Develop a robust succession plan for all levels of leadership
• Develop and implement District Model to promote sustainable growth and costs
• Collect and analyze data to inform decision making, understand impact, and provide concrete evidence for future funding opportunities
• Continue to develop a robust and diverse network of supporters through marketing and broader awareness
• Review governance structures and revise as needed
• Seek representation on FIRST governance structure