A huge and heartfelt thanks goes out to the Charlotte community for helping the Odyssey of the Mind team travel to Ames, Iowa, for the World Finals May 28-June 1. Out of over 836 teams, this crew of seven fourth graders represented Charlotte and Vermont on a world stage. They competed against the best teams from 35 U.S. states and 15 other countries that traveled from all over the world to compete for the title of World Champion.
Odyssey of the Mind encourages innovative thinking and recognizes exceptional creativity through its competition. The Charlotte Central School (CCS) Odyssey of the Mind team worked for months and was considered to be one of the best in Vermont. Then, after months of work, the group traveled together as a team to attend this four-day event.
Along the way, team members made new friends from places like Germany, Mexico, China, and Poland and several cited getting to know the buddy team from Mexico as a highlight of the World Finals. Other highlights included living on campus in the dorms, seeing people of all ages and backgrounds, and seeing so many different solutions to the problems. Picture a place where people walk around in crazy hats, or costumes made from candy wrappers or plastic spoons, where people wear brightly colored T-shirts displaying their state or country, and speak in pun or song. Picture a place where people strike up friendly conversation, and where people have such different stories, but the common connection of creative problem-solving.
Not only did this group of fourth graders learn about different cultures, but the team stretched its creative abilities to new limits by performing the solution in front of judges and completing a “spontaneous” problem.
Students who developed exceptional solutions and took creative risks were invited to compete at World Finals. The CCS team competed in “The Driver’s Test” where the group built a vehicle and created a performance. High scores were awarded to teams that took risks and thought outside of the box. In Odyssey there is no one correct answer, but open-ended problems where creative solutions gain the most recognition.
“The end result isn’t always as important as thinking of new, creative ideas, which should also be rewarded,” said founder Dr. Sam Micklus.
Again, a huge thank-you for the community support and help in creating this experience of traveling to World Finals. The relationships built and new ways of thinking will extend well beyond the trip.
For more information about Odyssey of the Mind, visit www.odysseyof themind.com.