Based on the mission of a non-profit organization, Destination Imagination programs offer students the opportunity to solve open-ended “challenges” that incorporate STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), the arts, and service learning disciplines. Elementary, middle, and high school students form teams of up to seven members, and each team selects one of seven challenges to address. With the guidance of a teacher or parent, each team creates an action plan, and then the members work together for weeks, or sometimes months, to create a solution that solves the challenging problem. Each year, more than 1,200 teams from countries around the world – the U.S., China, Poland, Columbia, Brazil, and others – advance from local, regional, and national tournaments to earn a spot at the Destination Imagination global competition held in May at the University of Tennessee, where more than 15,000 attendees celebrate creativity.
This year, both of my sons’ teams competed at DI Global, and they came in 6th and 32nd in the world. Thanks to donations by fellow companies in awning and marine businesses, all the materials that we used to meet the challenge were recycled or scrap pieces. We gratefully acknowledge their donations, and invite readers to donate their leftover materials for DI program participants to recycle. Check with your local school system for details, or visit www.DestinationImagination.org for more information.