Any pessimist who tells you otherwise should have their head

Monday, 16. December 2013

Perhaps His Greatest Invention

“Our Vision:. to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.” Dean Kamen, Founder.

Canada Goose Jackets I had never heard of FIRST before Dean Kamen mentioned it to me. There’s no doubt that his passion one man’s vision has created something very special. The more I’ve learned about it and seen the incredible canada goose outlet washington dc effects and transformations in the young people who are drawn to it; the more passionate I’ve become myself. It’s been an unbelievable experience for me to witness this great social and educational dynamic. Canada Goose Jackets

Now, this special thing that Kamen created is really special. There are things that are canada goose factory outlet toronto location special and there are canada goose outlet ontario things that are very special, like FIRST. Providing mind challenging and inspirational programs for kids age 6 to 18, FIRST is training wheels for young minds.

canada goose deals My own canada goose outlet orlando experience in writing this part of Kamen’s story was an emotional epiphany for me. I found myself welling up at several points when talking to FIRST kids or hearing of how far they’ve come. It felt so good for me to see just how good this old world of ours can still be in spite of all our trials and tribulations. Any pessimist who tells you otherwise should have their head examined or be promptly referred to get involved in FIRST. canada goose deals

cheap Canada Goose The results of a lifestyle, and a life like a kid being in FIRST are not just educational. Nor are they just career training, technology, software programming, AI (artificial intelligence), engineering, communications, leadership, management, sportsmanship, persistence, ethics, philosophy, business, relationships or family. but somehow, amazingly, it canada goose outlet sale is about all these canada goose jacket outlet toronto things simultaneously; and they’re all wrapped up into canada goose outlet an over arching cocoon of creating community. cheap Canada Goose

canada goose coats on sale Though FIRST sprang forth from Kamen’s fertile imagination initially to improve America’s educational canada goose outlet eu system and give US kids a path to follow forget America for a moment. Corny though it may sound to some, this is about society; the world. about the effect Kamen’s eye opener of a child imagination engagement canada goose victoria parka outlet system can have on human beings. This is crucially important: we have all been carping and canada goose outlet canada whining for decades now about how we need to fix our educational system and we do. I believe that FIRST is the cornerstone, the first building block for making education canada goose sale uk worldwide something to take off and really fly. canada goose coats on sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap And my heartwarming experience of it all started with a young person approaching somebody she didn’t know me but who apparently looked like someone she could convert to her cause: robotics and all that comes along with it. buy canada goose jacket cheap

The young lady didn’t wait very long before approaching me. “Can I answer any questions for you?” she said with a cheerful smile. She was wearing safety goggles which give anyone an alien like look but almost immediately I didn’t see the bulbous, plastic eye coverings anymore; this adolescent was that good at putting me, an adult presumably, at ease.

canada goose clearance sale I was at the cavernous but utterly electrified Jacob Javits Center in NYC and was reconnoitering the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science Technology) competitions in robotics and technology. canada goose clearance sale

canada goose black friday sale Emily Stern was a senior at Plainview Old Bethpage (POB) High School on Long Island and a girl totally and canada goose outlet black friday sale unwaveringly into robotics. She had been first indoctrinated by accident when she was five years old and went to canada goose outlet black friday pick up her older brother at his robotics competitions put on by FIRST, a non profit organization founded by Dean Kamen. canada goose black friday sale

Here’s a picture of Emily (“Miss Stern,” as I call her) when she was five years old and her little imagination was just starting to blossom (coincidentally on another of Kamen’s inventions, The Segway).

When she was very little, she told me, “I was completely obsessed with Legos. Our basement was filled with them and I would come right home from school, go down to the basement and spend hours playing with my Legos.” I wondered how much the Legos had to do with Emily’s subsequent interests in mechanical engineering and decided it was pivotal.

As her approach to enlighten me clearly proved, Stern has developed a heartfelt passion for helping people understand complex subjects particularly those younger than herself. “In my basement with my Legos, canada goose outlet store quebec I would explain my Legos to everyone,” she recalled as if she was sharing a secret.

“Then, I was just so excited to be canada goose coats uk going to my brother’s robotics competition,” Miss Stern told me later, “the older kids would show me around and help me understand all the canada goose outlet online reviews mechanics. If I was really lucky,” she gushed, “they would let me ride on the robot!”

Canada Goose sale Back at the Javits Center, I threw a few questions at her which she handled deftly with the aplomb canada goose outlet paypal and wisdom of 40 year old. One canada goose outlet edmonton answer which surprised me was to my question, “Have you ever met Dean Kamen?” “No,” Miss Stern began somewhat dejectedly, “I haven’t but I canada goose outlet uk would absolutely love to. I canada goose outlet toronto don’t know, I might faint though. He’s such a great man.” I made an underscored mental note that Miss Stern should canada goose outlet uk fake meet Kamen because I wanted to see canada goose outlet location what her reaction would be. Canada Goose sale

canada goose store Stern canada goose outlet london uk was the president, lead mechanical engineer and ‘driver’ of the “FIRST Team 353, The canada goose outlet shop POBots” but partly due to her fascination with robotics and all the math and science involved, Emily will be going places this year. More about that later. canada goose store

Canada Goose Outlet Dean Kamen’s Visit to His NYC FIRST Kids Canada Goose Outlet

Canada Goose online As he sat in the VIP area at the Javits Center, Dean Kamen looked as comfortable as he could be. He talked about all the great developments at FIRST over the years since founding it in 1989. Canada Goose online

We look out over the Javits center crowd of parents and their kids from a second floor wall of glass windows, and it is readily apparent to me that FIRST is and has been canada goose premium outlet for a significant period of time, Kamen’s real passion and the focus of his insatiable inventing attention. His heart is not up there in the VIP room with the food, drink and quiet, high level conversations but down on the floor with those kids doing things with their robots. He would suggest canada goose outlet boston we go down there soon enough, I knew.

buy canada goose jacket “FIRST came into being because canada goose outlet store near me I think this country is in trouble,” Kamen said, a concerned look invading his face, “the education our children are getting is not what it needs to be. I don’t want to blame anybody; the educational system, the leadership or certainly not the teachers but my job is not to identify the problems, it’s to solve them” How intriguing, I thought to myself that this man sees it as his “job” to fix the educational system. by himself if necessary. We need more canada goose clothing uk people like this I quickly decide. buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose Parka Kamen’s original mission was a two pronged, patriotic and passionate one to first help improve America and her future by secondly, creating a newfangled, not for profit organization which would guide kids interest them in science, math and technology for their future fun and profit. Canada Goose Parka

canadian goose jacket During my first interview with Kamen, he listed his passions in order of their importance to him and his mind: “FIRST, Aviation and supplying clean water to the developing world.” There was no equivocation in his voice as his listed FIRST at the top of his passions. canadian goose jacket

canada goose clearance His early vision of FIRST before its beginnings was to get people involved in the FIRST mission. “I wanted to get companies involved to help me finance FIRST; I canada goose outlet mall wanted teachers canada goose factory outlet vancouver involved, deeply involved; I wanted the students involved; and I wanted parents involved,” Kamen told me with conviction. Now 23 years later, as you will read in this article, Kamen has fully engaged those groups of people. canada goose clearance

canada goose coats But he’s nowhere near done yet. canada goose coats

We’re talking about his alimentary, elementary creation for American children and his phone lights up with a call. “What area code is 702?” he asks me. “Las Vegas, Nevada,” I quickly respond. “Oh, this is Harry Reid, I must take it,” he says apologetically.

After a 20 minute conversation in a private corner, Kamen returns to me apologizing again. “Can you tell me what you were discussing with Senator Reid, or would you canada goose jacket outlet uk have to kill me?” I ask jokingly hoping he’ll tell me. “Sure,” Kamen says happily, “I wanted him to come to New York for this FIRST event and he was trying to get me to come to the FIRST event in Nevada. We couldn’t coordinate our schedules but the Senator is a big FIRST supporter.”

A Scientific Company Chairman Gets Involved in FIRST

An avuncular gent then walks up smiling; Kamen introduces John Abele who was a very early partner with Kamen and the Founding Chairman of a medical technology company called Boston Scientific.

Abele, a member of the Forbes’ “World’s Richest People List” at 258 in 2006 is listed as a “self made” fortune which it quickly occurred to me is a fundamental tenant of FIRST; making yourself.