I learned my first year that the school calendar needs to be considered when scheduling Destination Imagination (DI) meetings. In our Boulder, Colorado school district, kids have off from school on a lot of Mondays and Fridays. Because of the long weekend, families often leave town on these long weekends, which can rule out many days for team meetings. Planning for that up front can save you a lot of time and frustration.
At the start of the Destination Imagination season, I go to my school district’s website and download the school calendar for the year. This is an excellent tool for planning out the best days for team meetings.
Here are a few guidelines I like to use when creating a DI team meeting calendar:
- Mark the tournament dates on the calendar. Many Regional Tournaments are in February or March. You should be able to get your tournament dates from your state DI website. If your state does not have a website, contact your Regional or Affiliate Director.
- Schedule several extra meetings right before the tournament. (Kids procrastinate, just like adults.) I found that a whole lot of work gets done in the week before the tournament, so scheduling for that in advance can be really helpful.
- Avoid meetings on holiday weekends and long school-day-off weekends unless you’re sure all team members can be present.
- When we start having long Sunday meetings, I space them out every other weekend to keep the kids (as well as the Team Manager) from burning out.
- A good start time for first-year teams is October to early November. This seems about the right amount of time to have the team make a good showing at the tournament. If you start later, that is absolutely fine. Note: What I didn’t realize my first year was that very, very few teams are going to present a polished presentation that meets all the Challenge requirements. If you don’t have 100% of the Challenge addressed, however, you can still do well at the tournament.
- If possible, schedule optional meetings during the week (Monday-Friday) when the kids have a day off from school and will most likely be in town. (When the kids will have a day off from school, I will take a vacation day from work when possible.)
For more tips this season, be sure to check out our Team Manager blog series here.