Houston families watched as students from elementary school through high school came together February 20th to show off their hard work in an organization called Destination Imagination (DI). Teams of 7 students or less worked for months without "interference" or input from adults or other students and showed off their hard work at local competitions.
The challenges demand problem solving skills. Each team selected a central challenge to "solve' and then present their challenge to a panel of 5 adults with a minimum of 2 hours of training. Each challenge has specific criteria of which the adults judge their achievement. The criteria usually includes the creation of a story and the acting of a skit.
Tragically, the focus of the organization is competition. Successful teams are judged by adults and ranked at the regional, state, national, then global levels. The teams ranking depends on the scores in each area of their challenge. Heavily weighted in every challenge is "ingenuity."
At a sporting event, achievement is based on the outcome of a game or other easily measurable criteria such as speed or distance. DI assumes that ingenuity can be measured and achieved in the same manor and offers recognition to teams perceived to have the best scores.
When students compete in sports, they have multiple opportunities to compete, adjust their performance and compete again. DI requires students to problem solve and work as a team for months and then many teams have only one opportunity to "compete."
This year, Destination Imagination included a non-competitive challenge. Yet teams who participated in the challenge called Project Outreach were still ranked on the impact they created in their local community.
Destination imagination began in NJ in 1999. It now includes students in over 30 countries.