October 01, 2015
Written by Liz Lohrmann, DI alumna
Destination Imagination allows each and every one of its participants to have incredible experiences from which they can learn. Here are a few experiences that every DI alum and participant can relate to:
- You’ve worn a duct tape outfit. Don’t lie to yourself—we’ve all done it. Maybe you wore a single item like a pair of shoes or a bowtie. Or, maybe you and your team wore an entire group ensemble of the main Disney princesses with every single article of clothing made out of the stuff. If you’re a DI kid, you understand the magic that is duct tape.
- The employees at the home improvement store know you by name. Okay, maybe they don’t know you by name, but you feel like they should. You go in a minimum of once a month just to grab that last piece of PVC pipe and a can of “oops” paint.
- You’ve (at one point or another) destroyed some clothes because you just had to finish painting that backdrop. Imagine: it’s a week or two before Affiliate Tournament and you still have to add detail to the backdrops, finish sewing your costume, and practice, practice, practice. At this point, you’re a little stressed, but you know it will be worth it in the end. You can’t stop yourself from working on those last little intricacies the Appraisers will appreciate.
- You know that one man’s trash is another man’s backdrop (or costume or prop). Dumpster diving and begging family and friends for recycled and strange materials have become hobbies for you. That old refrigerator box? It’s going to become your time machine. A pile of old soda cans? You’ll make chainmail out of the pop tabs. You can take one person’s trash and–quite literally–turn it into treasure.
- You’re not afraid to put yourself out there. DI has taught you that it’s okay to share your wildest dreams. You’ve learned that speaking in public won’t hurt you; no one will make fun of you. In fact, the people watching you admire what you’ve done. Everyone wants to see what you can do, so you just show off! This is the courage of DI.
- You see inspiration in everything. As a DI kid, Pinterest isn’t your only source of inspiration. You’ve learned to make something out of nothing. Your favorite TV show, a flower on the side of the road, a joke you just heard, a cool and innovative material—all of these things and so much more can inspire a solution to your team challenge. The world is your oyster, and you’ve fully accepted that.
- You dream BIG. You and your team can accomplish anything when you put your minds to it. Someone blurts out at a team meeting that you should build a stage that every team member can stand on? Sure! You collectively decide to learn how to underwater basket weave? Awesome! You know the crazier and more creative the solution, the better.
- You know it’s okay to fail. You’ve had set pieces break and robots that gave up. You’ve seen your great ideas come to life and fail. But DI has taught you that failure is how you learn. So in essence, failure is good. If you didn’t fail at something occasionally, you’d never reach your full potential.
- You team meetings are your favorite time of the week. You love your team with all your heart and can’t wait to see them every week. They’re the kind of people you can be productive with but you can also goof off with all the time. In fact, your inside jokes have probably inspired a solution or two in years past. You know your team members will be friends for life.
- When one season ends, you’re counting down until next fall so you can start all over again. Destination Imagination is your life. You love everything about it, and can’t imagine a world without the yearly challenges and your teammates. Come May, after one season ends, you and your team celebrate your accomplishments….and then immediately start thinking of ideas for next fall.
- You groan when someone asks what exactly DI is because it’s hard to describe…but once you get going, you can’t stop talking or smiling out of pride. Let’s admit it—explaining what Destination Imagination is to someone who has never experienced it is a tricky task. It’s one of those things you just have to see to believe. But you have your spiel and it works because once you start talking, you can’t stop yourself. You have to tell the world about your experiences and share everything you can. You want each and every person to know the joy of DI because you’re proud of what you and thousands of other kids can do.
- You’ve done things and accomplished tasks you didn’t know were possible. You know that DI is more than just a fun competition. It has taught you the most basic skills of life. You know how to work in a team, communicate effectively, ask the right questions, and come up with the most outlandish (but effective) solutions to problems. But DI has not only taught you STEAM ideals, it’s taught you some pretty incredible and strange things too.
About the Author: Liz Lohrmann is on the Alumni Ambassadors Council and has been involved with Destination Imagination for 15 years, currently volunteering as a secretary and Regional Director for Destination Imagination Georgia. She is currently studying biology at Georgia College and State University.