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.
Let us share with you from alumni, team members and volunteers from around the world.
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.
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.
|Type of Membership||Price|
|Competitive Challenge Materials||$105 National Registration + $45 Affiliate Fee =$150|
|Rising Star Challenge Materials||$105 National Registration + $30 Affiliate Fee =$135|
Average of $250, DI emphasizes using inexpensive materials.
$0 to $100 (Depending on Region)
$80 – $110 per team member for a minimum of 16, 1 hour sessions. (Most DI teams meet more time than this!) State and Global participation will increase this cost.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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. This experience offer the richest, most complete training. You get to interact with experienced team managers and volunteers, all of whom are eager to help. The agenda for the Denver Metro trainings will be posted here once its finalized.
There is no charge for trainings. It’s included as part of your fees when you purchase your National Membership.
Email Kate Donelan
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 and Rob run our Colorado Destination Imagination state office, each region is organized by a team of volunteers. You can find out who the team for your region is by clicking on the regional page.