Imagine this: you have two pipe cleaners, four rubber bands, two pencils, one piece of paper, four mailing labels and
one 12-inch piece of string.
Your challenge: using these materials, you and your teammates must build the longest bridge possible.
You have two minutes to plan and six minutes to complete the bridge Go!
What sounds like a problem for a team of engineers or a bad episode of MacGyver is actually a sample Instant Challenge
for kids participating in the Destination ImagiNation program.
Destination ImagiNation is a
non-profit organization that holds an annual competition that challenges students to devise creative solutions for
This year, 231 local students on 40 teams participated in the program.
Teams from Durango, Bayfield, Pagosa Springs, Dolores, Mancos and Silverton gathered March 20 at Escalante Middle
School for the Southwest Regional Tournament, where 17 teams qualified to compete in the state competition in Denver on
Destination ImagiNation is open to students from elementary school to college. Students form teams of two to seven
people. Teams then select one of five Primary Challenges. They have two to four months during which to
devise their solution. They must work within a budget and can receive no outside help.
Each of the challenges offers the team members opportunities to do research, develop technical skills and learn about
theater arts and performance techniques," said Nyla Kimmett, Colorado affiliate director of Destination
Students involved with the Destination ImagiNation Program develop self confidence and know there is nothing they
Teams present the solution to their Primary Challenge at the regional competition. Scoring is based largely upon
creativity and teamwork.
Every team also must complete an Instant Challenge, similar to the problem listed above. Teams do not know what their
Instant Challenge will be before the competition.
The top two teams for each Primary Challenge move on to the state
Susan Hatfield, regional director for the program, said the competition prepares students for the real world of
Destination ImagiNation focuses on teamwork, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. It prepares them to be
successful in the real world, especially in the competitive environment today."
Mathew Arts, Destination ImagiNation's marketing and public relations director, agreed with Hatfield, citing that there
are currently four alumni working for the program.
Arts said the program has a global appeal, with more than 12,000 teams, comprising about 100,000 participants,competing in all 50 states and over 30 countries.
The program's global competition is held each year in Knoxville, Tenn., and draws about 16,000 students and
Arts said the program helps students develop flexibility and adaptability to stressful situations."
(Participants) learn how to think on their feet, work as a team and
develop critical-thinking skills."
Kari Clements, coordinator of the program at Park Elementary, said that a record number of Park students competed this
This is by far the most students we've ever had participate, in large part because the competition was opened up to
fourth-graders this year."
In previous years, only fifth-graders from Park were allowed to compete. All three teams of fourth-graders qualified
for the state competition.
Patrick Young is an intern at
The Durango Herald.