About Destination Imagination (DI) Colorado

Destination Imagination (DI) prepares Colorado’s kids to be the innovators of the future by combining the arts, sciences, and technology with creativity, teamwork, and problem solving. Destination Imagination is a non-profit organization primarily run by volunteers.


Destination Imagination Colorado (DICO) provides students with the DI Educational Experience: ultimate learner ownership, learning through clarifying questions, resource awareness, rapid ideation and implementation, and authentic self-expression. Our goal is to create a different type of learner: a learner who asks questions, a learner who is in control of their learning, a lifelong learner.


State-wide academic tournaments provide teams the opportunity to present their solutions to trained DI Appraisers. Students have fun and gain confidence in their ability to solve any challenge. In working to solve DI Challenges, team members learn 21st century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship, and courage; they step outside of their comfort zones to pursue ideas and make presentations; and, they learn to build upon their individual strengths.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is DI?

Let us share with you from alumni, team members and volunteers from around the world.

2. How Does DI Work?

School-aged children work in teams from 2 to 7 members to solve long-term Challenges and practice Instant Challenges. The most important thing to remember is that this program is student-driven! There is absolutely no outside help allowed. Team Managers are there to supervise, provide resources and teach skills, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. The Team Members generate the ideas, execute the ideas, and plan a performance showcasing their ideas.

3. What Types of Challenges?

  • Technical
  • Scientific
  • Fine Arts
  • Improvisational
  • Engineering
  • Service Learning
  • Early Learning, our non-competitive early learning Challenge for students in K-2
  • Instant Challenge

4. How Much Time Does DI Require?

The DI season begins on September 1, with the release of that season’s Challenges, and ends with the Regional Tournament in the spring. Most Team Managers start in the late fall, but some don’t begin until January. The average Team Manager meets once a week for 2 to 3 hours, and as the tournament approaches the team may decide to add additional practice time. The time requirement may vary by age, challenge chosen, and the competitive ambitions of the team.


Teams placing at their Regional Tournament will advance to the State Tournament in April and teams placing at State will advance to Global Finals at the end of May.

5. How Much Does DI Cost?

Team Membership
Type of Membership Price
   Challenge Materials $110 National Registration + $45 Affiliate Fee =$155
 Background Check $0-25 Team Manager background check; check with your Regional Director for exact pricing.


Practice and Challenge Materials/Supplies

Average of $250, DI emphasizes using inexpensive materials.


Regional Tournament Registration

$50 to $100 (Depending on Region)


Regional T-shirts and Pins

$15-20/ T-shirt

Approximately $4 per pin



$100 per team member for a team of 7, $140 for a team of 5.  (State and Global Tournaments not included.)


Compare that to:
  • Scouting: $100.00 per year, plus camp costs, and the selling of cookies or popcorn to finance troop.
  • Piano lessons: $30 for ½ hour: 16 hours for $960.00
  • Girls on the Run: $195.00 per person
  • School sponsored after school enrichment: $25 an hour.
  • Hockey: $975 per player per year, plus tournament fees.
  • Field Hockey: $300 per player per year, plus tournament fees.
  • Soccer:  $125 per player per year (non-competitive) (uniform not included) plus tournament fees.
  • CHSAA Fees per school: ranges from  $850 to a high of $3,500.

6. How Do I Involve My Child In DI?

DI relies on volunteers to establish teams in their neighborhood or school.


Many schools and school districts support DI through school coordinators who assist in the formation of teams. DI works differently than most after-school programs; instead of signing up your child through a centralized location, parents interested in DI must form a team and recruit a volunteer team manager. All students may participate in DI as long as they have a Team Manager! There are no try-outs, no ability requirements, just the desire to work with your team to solve Challenges.

7. Why Become A Team Manager?

Becoming a DI Team Manager can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have as an adult volunteer.  You get to witness the growth of your team and the amazing solutions they develop first hand. Along the way, you learn how to build teams, teach creative problem solving and form lasting relationships with your team members and other adult volunteers.


“Unlike any other organization I’ve come across, I see that DI teaches extremely valuable real-world skills that will give my kids, and the kids on my team a major head-start in life. They don’t get these valuable skills in school and very few other organizations are effective at teaching and encouraging them. More than ever, the engine of our economy is “American Ingenuity” and I want my kids to enter the working world with strong skills in this area. Being part of DI is very satisfying – and worth my time. I’ve developed a much deeper and meaningful relationship with my kids (and other DI team members) through DI. DI has prompted some great “kitchen table” discussions with my kids on very practical real-world issues. It’s also allowed me to play a major increased role in their lives and in their development that I know they value.”-Scott Dalgleish

8. What Skills Are Needed To Be A Team Manager?

  • Enjoyment in working with children
  • Patience
  • Curiosity
  • Meeting/Work space at a home or school
  • Ability to believe that team members can solve the problem
  • Tolerant of student’s work styles and pacing
  • Recognize that conflict is part of finding a creative solution

9. How Do I Form a Team?

Once you have selected a DI Team Manager, you need to find a team. Teams are formed by finding students that are interested in DI. How do you find these students?


1. Friends of your Student
2. Ask your child’s teacher for names of students that would like DI
3. Send out a flyer to students in the grade levels that will be on your team
4. If you have one, meet with the GT coordinator of your school for help forming a team


Teams are formed with 2 to 7 students, most often in the same school and grade level. However, ANY 7 students can be a team! You can form teams in your neighborhood, homeschool association, school, or church.

10. What Steps Are Needed For Starting A Team?

  • Find an adult that would like to be your Team Manager
  • Select up to 7 kids to be on your DI team
  • Determine time and place for team meetings
  • Look through the Challenge Previews to see the variety of challenges your DI team can choose from.
  • Purchase your team number at the DI Store (if you’re part of a school or a school district, be sure to check with your building coordinator first – they may have some special instructions for you)
  • Communicate with your team parents about meeting schedule
  • Complete a background check for Destination Imagination; check with your DI Regional Director before purchasing.
  • Begin planning team meetings using the DI Roadmap
  • Attend a Team Manager Training (both live or via webinar are available)
  • Have a great season problem solving!

11. Are There Proven Results?

In 2014, Dr. Mark A. Runco, Professor of Educational Psychology for the Torrance Creativity Center at the University of Georgia and Board Member for the Center for Childhood Creativity, completed a study measuring student engagement and creative attitudes and values among students who participate in Destination Imagination and students who do not.


According to the statistically significant results, Destination Imagination students were found to be:


  • More engaged and imaginative when completing given tasks
  • More creative than non-DI participants
  • More self-confident and tenacious
  • Able to elaborate on and generate more ideas than non-DI participants
  • Great collaborators—86% of DI students agree that their teamwork skills improved within 1-2 years of participation
  • More inquisitive—92% of DI students agree that solutions to problems are often improved by considering a variety of perspectives

12. What Is Destination Imagination's Impact?

13. What Might A Final Challenge Solution Look Like?

All final challenge solutions are different and individual to the team and to the challenge the team has chosen. But this will give you and idea of what a final solution can look like.

14. What Do DI Alumni Have To Say?

Hear from DI alum how the Destination Imagination program has and continues to effect their lives.

“Without the eight years of Destination Imagination that allowed me to conceptualize and build in a completely raw and creative environment, I don’t believe I’d be accomplishing the things I am today.” – Yale Shaw, Industrial Designer


“There are so many elements of DI that I use in my life. As an expat, you are always in a challenging situation. You should be learning a new language, navigating cultural norms, and deciding what food to try. Learning how to problem solve through Destination Imagination has helped me as a traveler because people are dynamic and there is never simply one way to handle an interaction. Teamwork is integral in a culture because each person has their role which keeps the community functioning. Creativity is needed with learning a new language because you’re not fluent so anything goes—words, gestures, sign language, pictures, Google translate, etc. You are always on stage performing; people are watching you even when you don’t realize it. When I travel abroad I represent not only myself, but my family, my country, and my race.” – Renee Smith, English Teacher


“The farther I go in my career, the more I understand how those countless hours spent brainstorming, paper macheing, painting and improvising have benefited me. Today, there’s really no challenge in my job that intimidates me. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the rush I get. I owe that to my DI training.” – Kevin Hoban, Producer

15. Do You Provide Training For Team Managers?

DI Colorado provides trainings for both our new and “seasoned” Team Managers.


New Team Manager Training: Covers the basics: an overview of the program, what you’ll need to get started, Instant Challenge, team building etc. Our goal is to get you started on the right foot and comfortable with the Destination Imagination program. This training will not discuss any of the long-term challenges.


Team Manager Training: These training opportunities are located throughout the Denver Metro Area, Pueblo, Durango and on the Western Slope. Many may be held virtually.

There is no charge for trainings. It’s included as part of your fees when you purchase your National Membership.

16. Wine & Wisdom - Team Manager Support Group

Our Colorado Team

Kate Donelan

Executive Director



About Kate: I fell in love with the Destination Imagination Educational Experience when my oldest child was in 1st grade. I saw the power of teaching students the creative process as well as all the social emotional learning that took place. I was the Team Manager for both my sons teams and saw many students participate and learn!! What an amazing aspect of growing up it was to be a part of!


I became the Executive Director of DI Colorado in 2010, and was honored and privileged to accept the position. Working with adults and youth through this amazing journey has been one of my great joys in life.


My other joys: my boys, Aidan and Dominic and my husband David. I also love reading, hiking, and exploring Colorado!



While Kate runs our Colorado Destination Imagination state office, each region is organized by a small team of volunteers. (See more information about our Regional Directors below). In addition, you can learn more about each region by clicking on link ABOVE the pictures of each regional director, or by clicking on the REGIONS page.

Minda Square

Minda McGurk

5280, Co-Regional Director
Andy Square

Andy Dechant

5280, Co-Regional Director
Maureen Square

Maureen Dewar

Cherry Creek, Co-Regional Director
Susie Square

Susie Balagna

Cherry Creek, Co-Regional Director
Megan M. Square

Megan Morgenthaler

Jeffco, Co-Regional Director
Tina Square

Tina Morgenthaler

Jeffco, Co-Regional Director

Tanya Shimonek

NoCo Canyon, Regional Director
Debi Square

Debi Tipton

South Metro, Co-Regional Director
Kayla Square

Kayla Steffens

South Metro, Co-Regional Director
Nisia Square

Nisia Patalan

Southwest, Regional Director


Spicy South, Regional Director
Jill Square

Jill Jurca

Western Slope, Co-Regional Director
Alisa Square

Alisa Johnson

Western Slope, Co-Regional Director