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.


The DI experience is wholly unique:  ultimate learner ownership, learning through clarifying questions and experiences, 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 and present solutions to any challenge. In working to solve DI Challenges, team members learn 21st century skills (Durable Skills), such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship, and courage; they step outside of their comfort zones to pursue ideas and present their thoughts, and, they learn to build upon their individual strengths

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is DI?

Check out the experiences of alumni, team members and volunteers from around the world.

2. How Does DI Work?

Students in teams from two to seven members from kindergarten to university level work over the course of a few months to solve open-ended academic challenges and practice Instant Challenges. The most unique aspect to DI is that this program is student-driven! There is absolutely no adult or outside help allowed.Team Managers are there to supervise, provide resources and teach skills, promote teamwork, and encourage creative problem-solving. Team members generate the ideas and bring them to life. The experience culminates in a performance showcasing their solution.

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 August 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 meets once a week for two to three hours, and as the tournament approaches, some teams may decide to add additional practice time. The time commitment varies by age, challenge chosen, and the competitive ambitions of the team. It’s really up to each team to decide how much time they want and need to put into solving the challenge they’ve selected. A new team should plan on 32 hours of work time to solve a challenge.

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

5. How Much Does DI Cost?

Experience the Ultimate Team Package: Unleash Your Students’ Potential with a Destination Imagination Colorado 2024-2025 Team!

We are working to simplify the team manager experience. With that in mind, we’ve bundled both registering your team for the season and registering your team for your regional tournament — streamlining the process for you.

Unlock the full power of creativity, problem-solving and teamwork with your purchase of a 2024-2025 Team.

By signing up for a team, you receive the following::

  1. Your Team #: Join an exclusive community of like-minded individuals who share your passion for creativity and problem-solving. Students will develop an understanding of the creative process through student-oriented learning and will build durable skills including self-confidence, a growth mindset, creative thinking, collaboration and character building.
  2. World Class Training Guide: Gain access to a comprehensive training guide that will guide you and your team on your journey to success!
  3. Instant Challenge Practice Sets: Hone your skills with a variety of practice sets designed to challenge and inspire.
  4. Access to the Destination Imagination headquarter’s Learning Platform: DI Learn. Dive into a world of learning and exploration with the exclusive online platform.
  5. Access to Destination Imagination Colorado Training: Take advantage of in-person or online training sessions offered by Destination Imagination Colorado.
  6. Connect with Team Managers on Discord: Join the thriving Destination Imagination Colorado Team Manager community on Discord for valuable insights and support. Connect with other managers and multiple other DICO teammates for thought provoking discussions and genuine connections.
  7. Bring your team to the Regional Tournament: Showcase your team’s talents and compete against other teams in our thrilling Colorado Regional Tournament. Teams will have the opportunity to exhibit their creativity and innovation by showcasing Challenge solutions.
  8. Instant Challenge Day: Put your problem-solving skills to the test on Instant Challenge Day, an exciting event tailored to your region and teams! (Only for specific Regions)
  9. Personalized Support: Our dedicated team is here to assist you every step of the way. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns as we are here to help in any way that we can! We can’t wait to connect with you.

To provide a comprehensive and seamless experience for your teams, with a clear goal of the regional tournament experience, this package is non-refundable. This is a change from our previous pricing structure – we are streamlining it to make it easier for team managers to move through the administrative part of registering a team.

Price for the package varies per region based on financial support from school districts. Package prices range from $290 to $390.

Other costs not included in the package:

  • Materials to solve your challenge: This varies per team, depending on how creative you are with materials. A very loose estimate is approximately $300 per team.
  • Team manager background check: $20.
  • Regional Tournament T-shirts. $20 each.

For a team of seven, this is approximately $110.00 to $124.00 per student for a six to nine month joyful journey in problem-solving, team-building and innovative thinkers!

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 or students interested in DI must form a team and recruit a volunteer team manager. All students may participate in DI as long as they have an adult team manager! There are no try-outs, no ability requirements, just the desire to work with their 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?

  • Identify the team manager
  • Select up to seven kids to be on the team
  • Determine time and place for team meetings
  • Look through the Challenge Previews to see the variety of challenges the DI team can choose from
  • Purchase your team number at the DICO 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 the meeting schedule
  • If you are the team managers, check with your regional director to complete your background check
  • Begin planning team meetings using the DI Roadmap
  • Attend a Team Manager Training (both live or via webinar are available)
  • Have a great season fostering team work, creativity, collaboration and 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.

Andy Square

Andy Dechant

5280, 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
Kayla Square

Kayla Steffens

South Metro, Co-Regional Director
Nisia Square

Nisia Patalan

Southwest, Regional Director


Spicy South, Regional Director
Alisa Square

Alisa Johnson

Western Slope, Co-Regional Director