Team Aberdeen Proving Ground partners with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and 'For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,' known as FIRST, will host the 2014 FIRST Lego League robotics competition for students age 9-14, Saturday, January 24 at the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command headquarters building on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Founded in 1989, FIRST is devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through a forum that allows for fun, project-based learning, competition and team building among students.

"This event is truly a great experience for young minds," said Christina Bryant, ATEC Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM, outreach coordinator. "The activities are interactive; students are taught FIRST core values of teamwork; being effective and efficient; the joy of being inspired; the value of discovery; having team spirit; and being inclusive, respectful and cooperative when working with others."

FIRST founder Dean Kamen, describes the event's purpose by emphasizing that "it's [FLL] not about building robots; it's about robots building people."

During the event, student teams are given Lego Mindstorm robotics kits and asked are asked to design, build and program robots; apply real-world math and science concepts; research challenges facing today's scientists; learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills; and participate in tournament s and celebrations.

There are five competitive competitions based on age which include the FIRST Place for ages six to adult; the Junior FIRST Lego League for students from six to nine years of age; FIRST Lego League for students nine to 14 years old; the FIRST Tech Challenge for high school students; and the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students.

Team APG is looking for 55 volunteers to participate in this year's program scheduled for January 24. Volunteer roles may include anything from providing transportation, clean-up, gate check-in, score and time keepers, team runners, referees, judges, registration, among other roles.

"This was a great event last year," said Chris Doolittle from CECOM-LRC who volunteers at last year's event as the Emcee. "The day was rewarding and you get to meet a lot of kids who are excited about STEM. If you like controlled chaos, come out this year and join us!"

Those interested in volunteering should call 443-861-9901. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.mdfirst.org.