September is here and it’s time for FLL, except …. who changed my Core Values?


With the busy summer vacations behind us, it’s an odd week of relative quiet brought about by a shortened Labor Day week and the start of school. That means only one thing for those in the know. It’s time to start ramping up for Into Orbit FIRST Lego League! For those returning FLL teams, there are lots of changes this season. So many in fact, that many things might seem quite oddly out of place. The 8 pillars of FLL as we have all so earnestly memorized and practiced are now, motto non grata (or depending upon the severity of your Jersey accent, “motto non grotto”)

• We are a team.
• We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
• We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
• We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
• What we discover is more important than what we win.
• We share our experiences with others.
• We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
• We have FUN!

How many times have you encountered situations in your lives and thought about which FLL Core Values applied? It has been the standard mantra for coaches and teams for over a decade now (or longer?). All gone! Well, it’s time for change!

Well not really all gone. It’s been reset, renewed, rebooted, refreshed, recast, repackaged, and re-purposed for a new generation of fearless STEM-ing young adults ready to make a difference in the world.

It really does make sense actually. In the intervening 10+ years that the “old” set of Core Values was done by FLL there’s been a massive transformation in the way we work, live, play, and communicate. We went from MySpace to Facebook to Instagram. YouTube didn’t exist in 2004. Now YouTube is watched more than TV. Among youth in 2004, the ratio of messaging app usage to email usage was 1:1. In 2018 that ratio is 10:1. Add in the physical changes in the world that seem to have accelerated in the last dozen years, melting ice caps, shrinking glaciers, record temperatures, and it is easy to see why change was needed.

It’s notable that the anchors of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition have remained. In a sense, it is simply “do the right thing”. That’s how it was in 2005 and that how it remains now, “do the right thing”. From the FIRST website:

We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • Impact:  We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

It’s different from what we knew so well before, but on closer examination, it is so very appropriate for 2018 and beyond. It’s more inspirational. Solve problems. Improve our world. Embrace differences. Enjoy & Celebrate. Work together.

Embrace the core values change and HAVE FUN in your FLL journey this season!

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