FIRST Code of Conduct
The FIRST mission is to inspire a generation of science and technology leaders who are both gracious and professional. This FIRST Code of Conduct lists some of the basic behaviors mentors, coaches, volunteers, team members, affiliate partners, contractors, staff, and other participants should adhere to while participating in FIRST activities.
- Exhibit Gracious Professionalism® at all times. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions.
- Ensure the safety of all participants in FIRST activities.
- Not engage in any form of bullying, harassment, use of profane or insulting language, or any actual or threatened violence.
- Adhere to all FIRST Youth Protection Program (YPP) policies.
- Report any unsafe behavior to event or local FIRST leadership.
Persons who do not comply with this Code of Conduct may be barred from participating in FIRST activities.
Activities and Videos
Adults (Coaches / Mentors)
The following video provides some guidance to adults working with youth in FIRST programs.
Activities for Students Ages 6-10
For our youngest participants, FIRST has created the following activities for teaching them about Team Safety.
Video for Students Ages 11-14 (Middle School)
Video for Students Ages 14-18 (High School)
Forms and Files
Be sure to follow the form policies for your organizations, and use these forms as needed. The Incident Report forms should be used as provided to report issues to FIRST.
- New Coach / Mentor Application: This form allows Lead Coaches for a team to request information from adults wanting to join the team to help.
- Tracking Status of Coaches: This form allows the lead coach to keep track of the screening status for their adults on their team.
- Team Travel Consent Form: This form should be used if the organization or school does not have one available, and is used to request parent consent for team travel.
- Notification of Guidelines to Parents: This form should be used to notify parents of the YPP rules and policies.
- Incident Report Forms (Medical / Non Medical): This form should be used to report both medical and non-medical incidents to FIRST. At CVR events, Pit Admin has these forms available if incidents arise.
- US Screening Guide: This document details the screening process for the 2017-2018 season.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to be screened? How do I get screened?
FIRST’s Youth Protection Program requires all FIRST teams to have two screened Lead Coaches/Mentors for the entire season and all volunteers screened for official events. Background screening is integrated into all program Registration Systems and the Volunteer Information Management System (VIMS). Please see the screenshots available on the Youth Protection Program site for additional guidance on the screening process.
No screening is required for Team Purchasers. Purchasers may register and pay for teams during the registration period. Purchasers are also able to invite one or both Lead Coaches/Mentors.
If the Purchaser is, in addition, also one of the Lead Coaches/Mentors they may invite the second Lead Coach/Mentor.
2. Do I need to be screened every year?
Screening is valid for three years. However, if you were previously screened in the past two years, you will need to log into your FIRST Account or VIMS account and agree to this season’s Terms and Conditions, Consent and Release Form and the Youth Protection Program Policies. Once these three items have been checked, your screening status will be updated and displayed in your account.
3. Do Non-Lead Coaches/Mentors on my team need to be screened?
FIRST recommends if an individual participates in 30% or more of the team’s activities, he/she is regularly involved with the team. It is a matter of the Lead Coaches’/Mentors’ judgment whether these individuals need to complete a background screening. Additional Non-Lead Coaches/Mentors may be invited by the Lead Coaches/Mentors in the registration system as a team contact and may request that individual complete the screening process from their FIRST account.
Background screening is integrated into each program’s national registration system. Please see the screenshots available here for more information.
4. How long will it take to get the Screening Report back? How will I know when it is complete?
Most background check reports will be available within 8-16 business hours. Screenings that require additional work or clarification will be available within 24-36 business hours. Occasionally a report may take longer due to response time from individual courts. You will receive an email when you have successfully placed your background check order and another when the report is complete. The email will contain a link to the screening agency to enable you to view a copy of your report.
5. Who sees my Background Screening Report?
Only the Youth Protection Department staff and you see a copy of your Screening Report. The Youth Protection Department will not share that report or any of its contents with anyone unless required by a court of law.
6. The Disclosure to Obtain Consumer Reports for Volunteer Assignment Purposes includes credit reports why is it necessary to share financial information?
The Federal Trade Commission defines Background Reports as a Consumer Report. The Consumer Report referred to in the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Disclosure is a Criminal Record Report. FIRST does not obtain credit or financial reports.
7. The Code of Conduct states that “individuals who fail to adhere to the YPP Code of Conduct may be expelled. How is “adherence” measured, and what is the procedure for enforcement?
We ask adults working with teams to monitor each other as well as the team members. To recognized that abuse does not happen suddenly, but can be the end result of multiple behaviors leading up to the causing of harm. If an adult sees/hears another adult inviting a student to go out to his/her car to see something really cool… that observing adult should tell the offending adult that what they are suggesting is against the team rules and explain that crossing behavioral boundaries will not be tolerated. If the behavior stops and limits are respected, there is no problem. If the offending adult re-offends then the non-offending adult/s on the team need be prepared to tell that person that their services will no longer be needed on the team.
8. I want to volunteer for an event. Do I need to be screened?
Per FIRST’s Youth Protection Program Event Volunteers, who are 18 years of age or older, are required to obtain Youth Protection Clearance For the purposes of this requirement, “Event Volunteers” are defined as the individuals who are assigned specific roles by the event’s Volunteer Coordinator and will be interacting routinely with youth participants. These roles are listed on the FIRST website and vary from program to program. Examples of these roles are: Judges, Referees, Robot Inspectors, Pit Coordinators, etc. Any volunteer who does not receive Youth Protection Clearance will be considered a walk-on volunteer (see information below). Background screening is integrated into Volunteer Information and Matching System (VIMS). Additional instructions on VIMS registration and the Volunteer screening process can found on the VIMS Login page.
9. How are walk-on volunteers handled?
Walk on volunteers will be assigned to work with a screened volunteer and not assigned to work alone with students.
10. Do vendors or performers need to be screened in order to attend events?
No. FIRST does not require that they be screened. However, some event venues may require screening for everyone.
11. Is there an outline by program of level of emergency and security personnel required?
Emergency service should be what the venue requires and what, event managers deem as adequate. This will vary from event to event, by program and distance to local hospitals, fire departments, etc. Security personnel are not required by FIRST, but are recommended. However, some venues may require them.