FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), was started back in 1998 by Dean Kamen. He wanted a program for students to get interested in science, technology and engineering. The competition started and run by FIRST is the FRC or FIRST Robotics Competition. In 2011 it held 55 regional competitions around the globe, and one international competition in St. Louis, MO.
FIRST has many robotic programs for different age groups. They include Jr. FLL (Junior FIRST Lego League), FLL (FIRST Lego League) for younger students, and FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) and FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) for high school age.