Home > Competitions / Scholarships, Enrichment > My experience with Destination Imagination

My experience with Destination Imagination

di_logoI’ve just returned from Knoxville, Tenn., where I attended the Global Finals of Destination Imagination (D.I.), an organization that encourages kids to solve open-ended challenges that require technical skill, artistic talent, interpersonal skills — or maybe all of that and more.

This year, I’ve managed a team of kids as they’ve learned new skills, foremost among them the ability to cooperate and work together as they navigate the creative process. This week, I’ve watched as kids from all around the world came together to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity of the work they’ve done this year.

What kids do in D.I. is hard to explain. Sometimes they create a performance. Sometimes they build a structure designed to hold hundreds of pounds. Sometimes they build vehicles that run a course to earn points. Sometimes they conceive and implement community service projects. The specific details of the challenges vary from year to year, but what is always true is that the kids use their own minds and hands to solve them. All the ideas must come from the kids, and they have to translate those ideas into a performance, a project, a structure, whatever their challenge requires, without interference from parents, teachers, or anyone outside the team.

I’ve watched this concept in action, and it works. It teaches the kids to be self-reliant and independent, and in the end, the teams have tremendous pride in knowing what they’ve achieved, on their own.

Here in Georgia, D.I. does not draw as many teams as a similar organization called Odyssey of the Mind, and in my opinion, that’s a shame. My team and I are refugees from the Odyssey program, and while Odyssey loyalists can disagree, my personal experience has been that D.I. is more supportive, more positive, and more fun than Odyssey ever was.

If you’re interested in creating a team at your school, in your neighborhood, with your Boy Scout troop, or anywhere, check out the Destination Imagination web site. Registration for new teams won’t open until August, but now is a great time to start planning. The Affiliate Director for Georgia, Dave Lohrmann, is a terrific resource who can answer questions and help you get started. Please tell him Dori sent you.



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