April 2nd, 2006

buzzed, B&W

Destination Imagination

So, yesterday was the Montana Destination Imagination affiliate finals, a.k.a, the state tournament. I've been involved with DI (and before that Odyssey of the Mind) since 1988. I competed for 13 years, and I've been volunteering for 9 years now.

Friday night I drove down to Manhattan to help set up for the tournament. I got there around 5, and by the time Heather and I had fixed a paperwork snafu, it was midnight. Saturday we left Heather's place around 6:35 AM, and I didn't leave till about 5:45 PM. I was surprised by how exhausted I was by the time the day was over, but I really shouldn't have been. I love the program (even if I hate the politics of it), and I get a charge out of talking with the teams, the appraisers, and even some of the parents.

I think the one reason I'm willing to put in the kind of hours I do for this program is that educationally, it's phenomenal. Youth learn to think on their feet, to problem solve, and unlike so many other programs, it's truly their product. Having an elementary student explain to you basic circuitry, and why they used a parallel circuit instead of putting the elements in series, or seeing a team of middle school girls pull together a technical solution that far surpasses the other teams . . . (not because girls can't be technical, but at that age aren't encouraged to be so). Even seeing the high school girls who went to Knoxville last year, who are volunteering this year to make a training video/DVD, and run around all day with a camera. The program hooks people, but it also asks a lot from the volunteers . . . not the most sustainable, and probably one of the reasons why it's seeing some decrease in participation . . .

I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to make it to Globals this year . . .