Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DI Daze

I wanted to write this post last night but my eyes were bleary and could not focus on the computer screen.  This Mama needed sleep.  At 8:00pm we had just returned home from 10 hours spent at DI (Destination Imagination) Practice for Lilah’s team.  
Luckily, DI is my favorite (and my girls’ favorite) activity we are involved in.  The commitment required for practices, training, and travel time requires that you love it.  Otherwise you could not invest the amount of time it takes for your child to see a concept to completion.  
“Destination ImagiNation, Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, we reach 125,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation, our core program, is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.”

Lilah’s team is working on a project that is community service oriented.  I am going to save the details for later, until the State Tournament in March is over.  I will say that her team has a fabulous project.  To meet the requirements they have to identify a need in their community.  They have to create a project to address the need.  They can and should contact community partners for help and information.  They must create a brochure to explain the need and how and why they are helping.  They must create a presentation to educate the Assessors about their project.  The final project is presented in 8 minutes or less to a large audience.  Should their team win, they will continue on to the Global Finals held every year in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This has been Lilah’s goal since joining the team.  She desperately wants to make it to Knoxville.  

Parents and Team Managers cannot provide solutions or even ideas to the team.  We can however, help them with the skills they need to implement their ideas.  Yesterday one of the Moms who is an expert in Information Technology, held a workshop on how to use the software program Pages.  We all have Mac kids, so they had their own version of a Mac Lab!

During class Mama K and I chillaxed in our friend’s home where we helped ourselves to tea, coffee, and hot cocoa.  We chatted for hours rarely interrupted by the siblings who were tucked away on the third floor deeply engaged in play.  It was blissful. 
The workshop began at 9:30 am.  There were short breaks for play and lunch but these kids worked until about 2:00!  Then they were so fired up that they immediately segued into working on the actual project.  Energy flowed as these children brainstormed ideas and made telephone calls to organizations without a script to read.  Emails were sent in rapid succession asking for assistance.   What should have been the end of our day turned into the beginning of a new adventure.
The team has a budget of $120 for any products used in the final presentation.  To create their project, many items are needed which called for a trip to the art store.  After a quick dinner at an organic pizza shoppe, 2 adults and 6 children entered the art store at 5:30 pm.  The siblings were tired.  They had a long day as well.  To keep the peace we found a quiet spot where we could download Sid the Science Kid on YouTube.  The team members shopped.  And shopped.  And shopped.

Our day ended when we pulled into our driveway at 7:45pm.  We had left the house at 9:00am.  Tired does not describe how I felt.  I told my girls I was done for the day.  I turned by heat blanket up to high, crawled into bed only to get up to give each of my girls a kiss goodnight.  Sleep was much deserved.  
Today we do it again.  Team practice from 12:00-3:00.  I am very curious to see how many hours they log on this project between now and the end of March.  When passion fuels the journey, the hours are like specks of sand.  They simply fall through your hands too quickly to count.  

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