FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.
FTC stands for FIRST Tech Challenge. FTC is designed for middle school and high school students who want to compete head-to-head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building and programming a robot to compete in an alliance format against other teams. Awards are given for competition as well as for outreach, design and other real-world accomplishments.