The Fisherman’s Institute is a program based off of the saying by Aristotle, “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime”. Within the FIRST community, we have realised that to be sustainable, you have to have the three key elements - Students, Mentors and Funding. The Fisherman’s Institute is a combination of our two most successful programs - RoboCamps and Microbank.
The program gives out no interest loan robotics kits (the type varies depending on the accessibility to certain kits in the team’s community/area) to teams that are looking to keep the teams in their community sustainable. With these kits, the team is able to run RoboCamps which are workshops for students from age groups K-12 - this generates students and mentors as well as funding. With the funding the team makes from the RoboCamps, they pay back half of the money to The Fisherman’s Institute and keep the other half - this occurs until the debt is payed back.
This program is tightly linked to the Robots In The Outback program as we felt that after starting so many teams, they would only be successful if they were sustainable. We found that sustainability is a very large problem in the FIRST community as there are a lot of areas where teams aren’t sustainable because they lack the resources that they need.