Frequently Asked Questions
What is Destination Imagination?
Our Mission is to inspire and equip youth to imagine and innovate through the creative process. Our Vision is to ignite the power of ALL youth to be the creative and collaborative innovators of tomorrow.
Destination Imagination, Inc. is an international nonprofit organization based in New Jersey that teaches life skills and expands imaginations through youth-centered, team-based creative problem-solving. DI is the world’s largest creativity and problem-solving program for youth of all ages, with thousands of participants across the U.S. and more than 30 countries, including Canada and countries in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa.
DI’s Challenge Experience program 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 and the arts (STEAM) 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.
MN DI is DI’s Minnesota Affiliate (state organization). 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. We offer the DI Challenge Experience for pre-K through college age students. MN DI is headquartered within Intermediate District 287.
Minnesota teams participate in three regions statewide. All regions participate in the Affiliate (state) Tournament. As team numbers rebound after the pandemic we will return to regional tournaments too. Traditionally, teams advance from Regional to the Affiliate Tournament, and finally, to Global Finals 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. Teams consist of two to seven members, and students are grouped by age or grade. Competitive teams range in age from third grade 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 Team Challenges. The team then presents their Team Challenge solution in an 8 minute performance and solves an Instant Challenge (on-the-spot creative challenge) at one of the Regional Tournaments held across Minnesota in February and March. Our Affiliate (state) Tournament is in March. The highest ranking teams advance to the Affiliate Tournament, and from there earn the opportunity to represent MN DI at the Global Finals Tournament in May. Most importantly, they have FUN while gaining life skills!
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. DI offers DI Learn, an online volunteer training system. Once enrolled, Team Managers can access videos that offer information on all aspects of being a TM. MN DI offers TM trainings in person and via Zoom throughout the season. Teams will have the opportunity to learn how to solve Instant Challenges by attending an Instant Challenge at our Creativity Carnival in February. We also offer comprehensive trainings in improv techniques, technical and engineering skill building. These interactive trainings may give teams a competitive edge. Details on training dates and fees are on our website Calendar and Trainings pages.
How often do teams meet?
Once a team is formed, its members decide when and how often they want to meet. Teams typically meet once a week, but as they approach their first 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. Teams can 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.) Team Managers 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!
In accordance with our Youth Protection Policy, all team managers must have a current background check.
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 at host school, district or community showcases.
Who evaluates teams at competition?
DI is a volunteer rich, 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 half day of training in February, via Zoom. Many of our MN appraisers also appraise at Global Finals. Appraiser training is provided by our Affiliate Challenge Masters.
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 $165 for a single team, including Rising Stars! primary teams.
- A background check. All team managers must pass a background check. A new background check is $25, and can be purchased through DI (click here for information on background checks). Background checks are performed through Sterling Volunteers. If a school district has background checks on their volunteers, they may use the group waiver form so they do not pay again.
- Minnesota DI tournament fees: MN DI teams perform at an Affiliate (state) tournament in March each season. Teams who amass the greatest points for their combined Team and Instant Challenge scores will be invited to represent MN DI at the Global Finals tournament in May.
- Tournament fees: This is a one-time fee that is paid when teams register for their tournament.
- Costs for Global Finals can be found on the DI website here.
- 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.
How do I join?
Recruit a team of between two and seven members as soon as possible (Rising Stars teams can have more then seven team members). Schools, neighborhoods, community programs, faith communities – anyone can do DI! Contact Affiliate Director Pamela Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or Start A Team here!
Once payment is received, you will be able to access the trademarked program materials online. Your team number(s) will be emailed to you. You can also check with Pamela to find them. You may pay for membership by credit card, purchase order, or by check through the mail.
MN DI tournament registration information is posted annually on our website under the Tournament Info tab. Registration is done through Register Your Team. All registrations are due by January 31.
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 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 for their Regional Tournament.
How to use the MN DI website!
- MN DI Season: You can find all the info you need about this year’s MN DI program under the drop down menu: our MN DI calendar; training and workshop information; information about where and when our tournaments will be held; where you should register for our Affiliate Tournament, along with the registration link; information about what you will need for your tournaments (Tournament Info); and information about our international and scholarship/ recognition opportunities for teams.
- What is DI? Check it out under What We Do – this is where you can see the Challenge previews.
- Get Involved! All the info you need to Start A Team, learn about being a University Level team, and how to volunteer. Please consider being a tournament appraiser – see the interactive sign up form to appraise under the Volunteer tab.
- Resources – a handy page full of info for team managers and teams!
- Don’t forget to check under Helpful Resources at the bottom of each page, especially the DI Blog and our social media! Be sure to join our Team Manager Facebook page, and check it and the MN DI Facebook page regularly!
Where can I find more information?
Pamela Schroeder, MN DI Affiliate Director
Lynn Montgomery, MN DI Co-Affiliate Director