Destination Imagination – Globals 2014
May 20-25, 2014
In May of 2014, my family and I went to Knoxville, Tennessee to attend my sister’s and her team’s competition for Destination Imagination, a volounteer-led non-profit that provides an educational competition for students from kindergarten to university level.
I never would have thought that attending a competition’s finals like this would have had as much of an impact on me that it had. I knew that it would be big, that there would be a lot of participants – including different countries that flew in to Tennessee to compete.
When I was a part of a team back in school, we never made it to the global level. We were just one step away from being able to make it. While my close friends had made it to the global competition before I joined, I never had any idea just how big the event was. I knew it was a pretty big event, just from the rumors.
I had that opportunity last year, back in the summer of 2014, when my younger sister’s team had made it far enough, passing the state level, to compete in the global – and final – stage of the competition. Fortunately, I was able to get time off from work to attend, nearly a week-long event.
I have to re-emphasize just how under-prepared I was – emotionally and psychologically – for what was going to happen during the week there. Every day I was there I was just blown away by the sheer size of the event. Over 1,400 teams competed in the FINAL competition: nearly 8,000 students were all competing in the last stage of the competition. That doesn’t even include the huge number of volunteers and supporters that make this event possible. That explains why it was nearly a week long: to have enough time for every team to present their projects and be judged accordingly.
As a guest to the event, I couldn’t help but feel like a winner myself. Even though I wasn’t a participant and didn’t compete in order to attend parts of the event, I was able to take away something positive and borderline life-changing. I literally wouldn’t even have the opportunity to come all the way out to Knoxville and experience this tremendous event without my sister.
This post is just the first of a handful of experiences related to my venture to Knoxville and my experiences with the Destination Imagination Global Competition in 2014.