Dear DI Family,

I am truly sorry that this is not the Spring any of us expected. I know that you have spent many hours preparing to present and host creative, smart and innovative solutions to this season’s Destination Imagination Team Challenges. We are all deeply disappointed that due to the coronavirus pandemic, things have not turned out as we had hoped.

As parents of a college junior and a middle schooler, my husband and I also can sympathize with the mix of anxieties and fears that you and your families are feeling at this difficult time.

An important part of the DI experience is celebrating the traditions that bind our community together, creating vivid memories for the rest of your lives. This year you had to forego Regional and Affiliate Tournaments, as well as the in-person Global Finals experience.

I wish I knew when things will return to normal. The pandemic has been likened to a war, and no one can really know when it will end.

Yet along the way, I’ve heard stories of kindness and compassion among our DI communities around the world that are inspiring. Some of you are checking up on neighbors who may need some assistance. Some of you have organized efforts to assist community members with emergency childcare, or with buying or picking up groceries. And others are reaching out to help in countless other ways.

It affirms my conviction that not only will we get through this, but that the spirit of DI will grow even stronger as a result.

My father used to say that the most important quality that he wanted his children to have was resilience. I thought that he was not asking for much, but I have learned that it may be one of the most important qualities of all. The DI Challenge Experience is a test of resilience. Our kids must communicate, collaborate, think creatively and solve problems. Today, they are going to have to use those skills in new ways that will test their fortitude and character. I believe that with the support of parents, Team Managers and other engaged adults, they will meet that challenge and be better prepared to make a positive impact on the world.

Despite what clearly lies before us, I remain optimistic. The team at DIHQ, our Board of Trustees, our dedicated Affiliate and Regional Directors and volunteers are committed to ensuring that DI moves forward and stands ready to provide a forum for our children to display their work and grow through this unprecedented challenge. Our efforts will always respect the guidance of health experts and officials so that the public well-being is in no way compromised. Whatever happens, I pledge that we will do our very best to honor your faith in this organization.

I hope to see you all at our next Global Finals, be it virtually in 2020 or in 2021 in Kansas City. Look for me—I will be the bald lady wearing a crazy hat.

Stay healthy.  Stay creative.

Michele Tuck-Ponder
Executive Director
Destination Imagination, Inc.

 

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