AYER — Amy Messcher knows the benefits that come from being on a Destination Imagination (DI) team. She managed a team for three years before becoming the Ayer School District’s DI coordinator five years ago.
Now she’s added the Harvard School District’s coordinator position to her resume.
This year will also mark her fifth year as the tournament director for this region.
“I believe that DI is truly an experience to complete the individual and promote positive living,” said Messcher.
Her two children, in grades three and eight, are also active on two teams Messcher is managing this season.
DI is a place where kids take what they know and what they are good at and learn to apply it to solving challenges, working together and cooperatively with a team, and pushing the limits of imagination to best not their competition, but themselves,” states the DI Web site. The skills necessary to succeed in DI are cooperation, organization, creativity, respect and the ability to problem-solve, it says.
Messcher’s teams will compete in the regional tournament March 29 in Ayer. The competition will include two parts.
First is a team challenge that’s solved over a period of eight weeks or more by the students on each team. The challenges are open-ended with a variety of different solutions teams can come up with – there is no one right answer. Each team has to come up with an eight-minute “play” to solve the “challenge” with no assistance from its team manager.
“All of the ideas come from the kids and are developed by the kids,” said Messcher.
The second part involves an instant challenge that asks the teams to “think on their feet” as they only have a short period of time to solve a dilemma that has just been presented to them.
“I believe that DI allows children to learn from their peers without adult persuasion or interference,” said Messcher. “DI encourages the teams to apply creative problem-solving methods and tools, fosters creative and critical thinking, and nurtures research and inquiry skills. DI is where the children are the leaders and chief problem-solvers.”
The skills acquired through DI participation can and will help with a child’s future endeavors, she said.
“DI fosters many qualities you would notice in a leader and those who can and will make a difference,” she said. “They are able to solve problems long term and impromptu and, DI encourages competence in, enthusiasm for and commitment to real-life problem-solving.”