#FIRSTwithAloha: Where a Culture of Aloha and the Ethos of FIRST® Meet
The word Aloha in the Hawaiian language is a widely known greeting, but also means “love” and “fellowship.” FIRST® Robotics Competition Team 2438 “‘Iobotics” from Honolulu, Hawaii is putting into action the collective meaning of Aloha while showcasing the FIRST ethos of Coopertition®.
While many people were excited for the opportunity to participate in-person during the 2021/2022 FIRST season, with the continuation of the pandemic, there were still challenges with travel. Being from Hawaii, ‘Iobotics is no stranger to traveling long distances for competitions and the various challenges that come with that in a “normal season.” Unfortunately, these challenges became even greater during the pandemic as a result of inflation and supply chain issues. Some teams opted to break down their robots to fit into students’ carry-on bags rather than shipping their bot in a crate. Because some teams decided to travel with their robots disassembled, this meant that teams from other areas of the world arriving in Hawaii for competition would need access to a machine shop to reassemble their robot to compete. Embracing the spirit of Aloha and the ethos of FIRST, the team members of ‘Iobotics sprang into action to support their peers.
To help the FIRST teams that needed space to work and reassemble their robots for competition, #FIRSTwithAloha was born. ‘Iobotics also reached out to other Hawaii FIRST teams to join them. Each Hawaii team was partnered with one of the five teams coming in from Japan for the Hawaii FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Event. When reaching out for help from other teams in Hawaii, the ‘Iobotics students stated, “if even one team cannot participate due to financial or geographic barriers to entry, no one wins.” With the spirit of Coopertition® in their hearts, all of the teams eagerly pledged their support.
When teams landed in Hawaii they had access to a machine shop, ways to procure batteries and access to practice field elements, but that’s not all. In addition, each team they worked with received a warm Aloha and a gift bag upon arrival to welcome them and help encourage future participation in FIRST Hawaii events. Each team truly experienced the meaning of Aloha and made lifelong friends because of it. Furthermore, students were able to ensure that all five teams from Japan could compete, and one team, “Yukikaze” from Hokkaido, even won the Rookie All-Star Award which qualified them for the 2022 FIRST Championship.
It is one thing to understand the ethos of Coopertition® and the meaning of Aloha, and another to seamlessly mend all three together and live it out. To ensure the #FIRSTwithAloha program sticks around for years to come, ‘Iobotics students have been hosting community events and more to raise awareness. For more information about #FIRSTwithAloha and how you can get involved, please visit the ‘Iobotics website here.