Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Destination ImagiNation?

Our Mission: To teach students the creative process and empower them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world.

MN DI strives to provide a safe and culturally rich environment that promotes creative problem-solving, team-building and leadership skills by encouraging students to build on their natural strengths and discover skills they may not realize they possess. To achieve this goal, MN DI has selected the Destination Imagination program, for which it serves as the Minnesota Affiliate (state organization). MN DI is headquartered within Intermediate District 287.

Destination Imagination, Inc. is an international nonprofit organization based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that teaches life skills and expands imaginations through youth-centered, team-based creative problem-solving. Destination Imagination is the world’s largest creativity and problem-solving program for youth of all ages, with thousands of participants spread across 50 U.S. states and more than 30 countries, including Canada, China, and countries in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.

DI offers six competitive challenges annually, which are designed to stretch participants in many areas, and range in focus from Technical, Scientific, Fine Arts, Improvisational, and Engineering to Service Learning. We also offer the traditional DI experience to primary age students, age 6-9, through the non-competitive Rising Stars! Challenge. In addition, we offer our Pathways program, designed to prepare 3 to 6 year-olds with a jump start in literacy as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts, while promoting critical and creative thinking skills. These skills, combined with DI’s unique and proven style, aim to increase social, emotional, and educational outcomes for participants.

Minnesota teams participate in seven regions statewide, each with its own Regional Tournament.  Teams may advance from Regional to the State (Affiliate) Tournament, and finally, to Global Finals in Knoxville, TN where they compete with teams from around the world.

Who is eligible to join?

All students from preschool through college may participate on a team. Most teams consist of five to seven members, and students are grouped by age or grade. Competitive teams range in age from kindergarten through college, while non-competitive Rising Stars!® teams are for students from preschool through grade 2. Rising Stars!® teams may have more than seven team members.

What does a team do?

Students work together during the season to solve their choice of one of six competitive challenges. The team then presents their rehearsed or improvisational solution in a 5 to 8 minute performance and solves an Instant Challenge (on-the-spot problem) at one of the regional tournaments held across Minnesota in February and March. If a team advances, they compete at our Affiliate Tournament in mid-April.  The highest ranking teams earn the opportunity to travel to the Global Finals tournament held in Tennessee in May.  Most importantly, they have FUN!

A team can start working on a Team Challenge as soon as members are recruited.  We recommend that  the Team Manager (TM)  participate in a Team Manager training.  TM trainings are offered in most MN DI regions, and the MN DI office provides a day-long TM training in November.  Teams have the opportunity to learn how to solve Instant Challenges by attending an Instant Challenge workshop in December and January.  We also offer comprehensive trainings in improv, technical skill building and structure building.  Team fees for these workshops help offset workshop and program expenses.  These hands-on, interactive trainings may give teams a competitive edge. See our website for details on training dates and fees.

 How often do teams meet?

Once a team is formed, its members decide how competitive they want to be and how often they want to meet. Teams typically meet once a week, but as they approach their Regional Tournament date, they may meet two or more times a week. This is entirely dependent on a team’s work style, other activities that compete for students’ time, the goals the team sets, and the availability of the Team Manager. Some teams meet frequently for short periods, others get together less often but for longer periods, and other teams use a combination of these approaches.  Some teams elect to work singly, in pairs, or in small groups between team meetings.

 Who manages the teams?

Any adult 18 or older may manage a team. (Assistant team managers may be younger.) Generally speaking, TMs are often one or two team parents, but a teacher or other interested adult may also manage a team. The solutions that students come up with are their own, not a Team Manager’s or anyone else’s outside the team. As a result, Team Managers need no special talents or skills—simply an interest in young people, a sense of humor, and a willingness to help students stay focused. MN DI offers a number of training opportunities for Team Managers and teams, and provides many avenues of support!

Who evaluates teams at competition?

DI is a volunteer, team-based organization at every level. Appraiser teams are assembled from trained volunteers to score student teams at regional and state tournaments across Minnesota.  Appraisers commit to a one full day of training on a Saturday in February, and choose to appraise one or more full Saturdays at a regional tournament and Affiliate Tournament.  Many of our MN appraisers also appraise at Global Finals.  Training is provided by our Affiliate Challenge Masters.

Does my team have to perform at a tournament?

No. While the goal of DI is for teams to share their creative journeys with appraisers at our tournaments, to see how other teams have solved the same Challenges, and to enjoy the community of DI, they can also do DI in the classroom, and host school, district or community showcases.

 What costs are involved?

Costs fall into four areas: Team Number purchase, tournament fees, working materials fees, and training fees.

  • A team number. The team number gives a team access to a season’s Challenges and support materials, both online and via written materials. A team number may be purchased by a school, school district, parent/teacher organization or other civic organization, a home school organization, community group (like Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H), team, neighborhood, faith community – anyone can form teams. Team numbers are purchased from Destination Imagination, Inc. (click here).  A team number costs $105 for a single team, including Rising Stars!  primary teams. membership is $75, and $65 for digital download only.
  • Minnesota DI tournament fees: Regional tournament fees are $50 for Rising Stars! teams, and $150 for competitive teams. This is a one-time fee that is paid when teams register for their regional tournament.  Teams advancing to the Affiliate Tournament will pay $175 to register for that tournament. Costs for Global Finals can be found on the DI website.
  • Team managers may request that parents of team members contribute a working materials fee to cover the cost of items used to practice Instant Challenges and to solve the Team Challenge. Parents may also be asked to bring snacks to meetings, gather working materials, and help transport students and props to their regional tournament.
  • Team Manager and team training fees range between $15 per person and $60 per team.  See the MN DI website for a list of this season’s trainings and workshops.

 How do I join?

Recruit a team of between two and seven members as soon as possible. Start A Team here!

Once payment is received and verified, you will be able to access the program materials online.  If you purchased them, you will also receive printed program materials via mail. You may pay for membership by credit card, purchase order, or by check through the mail.

MN DI tournament registration forms are posted annually on our website.   The contact person for each membership will be emailed when the forms are available.  All registrations are due by January 12, 2018. 

Although the Tournament registration deadline isn’t until January, you will want to get your team started before then to take advantage of every training opportunity.   In addition, we offer free online DIMail newsletters and blog posts that provide tips, practice exercises and additional information throughout the program year.  Our website is updated regularly, with tips and information released as the season progresses.

Note: It is not necessary to select a Team Challenge before recruiting a team. Ideally, this selection is made by the team during one of its early meetings.

The team’s Challenge selection must be named before the team can print a copy of their Team Challenge. It will also be filled out on our form when the team registers in January for their Regional Tournament.

 Where can I find more information?

Contact:

Pamela Schroeder, MN DI Affiliate Director
Email: pfschroeder@district287.org
Phone: 763-550-7212

Angie Coffey, Appraiser Training Director
E-mail: amcoffey@district287.org
Phone: 763-550-7244

Amy Nylander, MN DI Communications Coordinator
E-mail: awnylander@district287.org
Phone: 952-237-2747

Kim Kallroos, Program Assistant
Email:  kkkallroos@district287.org
Phone:  763-550-7245
MN DI Fax:  763-550-7199

Web sites

MN DI: www.mndi.org

Destination ImagiNation, Inc.: www.destinationimagination.org

Click here to see our MN DIrectory listing all Regional Directors and Affiliate Challenge Masters.