Return to Destination Imagination

Posted by Jason

March 24, 2013 Uncategorized  No comments

Yesterday I woke up early in the morning to drive for more than an hour to Monadnock Regional High School in Swanzey, NH.  I was heading there to be a Prep Area Appraiser for the Destination Imagination Challenge Roy G Biv.

I have a long and colorful history with New Hampshire Destination Imagination (NH-DI, which was formerly NHOM). In junior high school, I was on an Odyssey of the Mind team with several of my classmates from Spring Street. Dave, my best friend in high school, and I continued with the program in addition to other academic clubs and non-athletic activities. (Nobody would ever confuse us for jocks in high school.)

Our adventure as OMers included a trip to World Finals in our junior year. During this time, Tracy and I were both on the team, and working together on the team is how we grew so close. (Kiki and the Boo – you should be grateful for this, as your very existence is probably directly attributable to our involvement with the program). We traveled to exotic Ames, Iowa, and performed our 8-minute play about mastermind criminals operating in the Glassboro, N.J., dump. (I did later actually go to Glassboro and discovered sadly that they did not in fact have a dump.)

In college, I wanted to continue my experience, but it wasn’t to be.  The Dartmouth trimester system has a schedule that wasn’t conducive to forming a stable team, and with so much other stuff going on, a college team just wasn’t in the works.

After graduation, I ended up volunteering as a judge. I don’t remember all of the details, but I seem to remember Tracy telling me that one of her friends had a kid who was doing OM, and their team needed to supply a volunteer judge … and I said, “Why not?” I attended some training, and that year I judged at two different regionals and the state competition.

Within the next few years, I became a regional challenge master … then a state problem captain … and eventually took a seat on the NHOM board of directors.

I was involved with the discussions and decisions made when we left the Odyssey of the Mind program and went to Destination Imagination. And to this day I think it was a great decision for the program. I also went to Iowa to judge at the World Finals.

It’s a program that I firmly believe in – and I was thrilled to be a part of it. The fact that I was a participant gave me a unique perspective everyone respected and listened to.  There were a few alums involved with the state organization, and to the board’s credit, they were always interested in hearing our thoughts and gave our opinions a lot of weight.

There are a lot of things that I love about the program.  Here are  a few:

  • It’s extremely kid-centered.
  • Though it is competitive, the competition is not the focus.
  • It encourages kids to be independent and think for themselves.
  • The people involved with the program always put the kids first.

Anyway, for reasons beyond my control, I needed to leave the program. Things at work were getting crazy, and I ended up getting laid off.  I put most of my activities on hold while I tried to find another job, and when I did, it involved a two-hour daily commute that just squeezed a lot of things out of my life, including DI.

That was 10 years ago.

Earlier in the school year, my wife helped convince my daughter’s school to participate in the program. Although Kiki wasn’t going to be on a team, Tracy became the school coordinator. Once again, the school program needed an appraiser, and I was happy to step up.

I was thrilled when I went to training and saw that many of my old friends are still in the program, and they welcomed me with open arms. There were also some new faces … younger alums, parents and others to help provide support.

I don’t know if I’ll get back involved at the level that I was at before, but I do know that I was thrilled to help out yesterday, and I promised that I’d be back next year.


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