Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Odyssey of the Mind

Have you heard of Odyssey of the Mind?  My kids and their classmates are part of this NASA-sponsored, international organization and recently participated in a regional competition. 

The basic idea of Odyssey of the Mind is for kids to creatively solve two types of problems as a team.  They prepare what is called a Long Term Problem starting at the beginning of the school year as part of an afterschool program and demonstrate their solution during a live performance.  The solution must follow particular criteria, rules and guidelines and, most importantly, is accomplished by the team members without the help of an adult.  Another part of the competition is called Spontaneous  which is on-the-spot creative thinking.  Although not everyone places or wins a prize, the spirit among all who participate is positive and the experience has great value, which is a prize in itself.
Odyssey of the Mind is made possible by volunteers.  These individuals, myself included, invest their time because they have experienced the results of the program.   I was recently dazzled by the awesomeness of the kids who competed at the Palms Regional Odyssey of the Mind Tournament. 

Speaking of awesomeness, our school went home with accolades, beaming with pride and excitement!  A blast was had by all!  Kudos to Mr. Rowland and Mrs. Killian who deserve a special award for coaching our kids!    

Still not clear on Odyssey of the Mind? Here is a video that may help you further understand the concept:   http://youtu.be/7fqzCIf5JOE
"Behind each one of our [Odyssey of the Mind] finalists is a volunteer support network that can proudly claim to be one of those thousand points of light that I like to talk about." - George Bush, President of the United States
Another important point to note: Odyssey of the Mind has created a community outreach program called Odyssey Angels. The Angels deserve their own blog post, but for now, more information can be found here: http://www.odysseyangels.org/content/become-odyssey-angel
Know a group of kids that would like to get involved?  Applications for next year will be accepted starting July 1, 2012: http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/learn_more.php

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