Community Relations: Empowering the Next Generation

The brains are back! A few weeks from now, Shift4 will sponsor a group of Las Vegas middle schoolers as they travel across the nation to apply their engineering prowess to a series of challenges in the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) 2011 World Festival.

Shift4 is proud to again sponsor the Team 718 FLL Energizers in their quest for an international title. The Energizers already hold back-to-back Nevada state titles; but this event will pit them against the very best of the nearly 15,000 teams from 56 nations that compete in FLL – so competition will be fierce.

Quoting their Web site, FIRST LEGO league is “a robotics program for 9 to 16 year olds (9 to 14 in the US and Canada), which is designed to get children excited about science and technology -- and teach them valuable employment and life skills.”

This year, in addition to a LEGO robotics competition, the budding scientists will present findings from a self-directed research project that examined the prevention of brain injuries in baseball players. Their solution to young athletes injured by line drives, a safety device called the HeadLiner, has already been entered in a separate patent development competition.

As an employer of numerous engineers and computer scientists, we recognize that the problem solving, creative thinking, and teamwork that are stressed in these competitions are vital skills for future professionals, and engaging technical education programs are vital for the future of high-tech industries. It won’t be long before these young people enter college and decide on eventual career paths. Not long after that, some of them may be here at Shift4 interviewing for positions (We hope!). They will fair much better in those interviews if they have mastered the skills the FIRST LEGO league is designed to instill in them – skills like teamwork, friendly competition, gracious professionalism, and a sense of fun.

Giving back to the community – especially to help young people – is fulfilling. There is something inherently rewarding about providing opportunities to the youth and then watching them thrive. It is a joy and privilege for Shift4 to sponsor this ambitious and talented group of young people and we wish the Energizers the very best, both at the World Festival and beyond!


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