Before I get into reflecting on my Destination Imagination experience, I’ll explain what DI is actually all about. It’s a big global competition that is a project-based program that aims to help kids become innovative problem solvers. If you like to be challenged to think outside-the-box, this is for you!
Each year, in DI there are different “categories” you can be put into. While we can express which categories we prefer, in the end it’s a surprise which one we end up in…I ended up being in Festival Frenzy which was an improv challenge! While I was elated to have my friends on my team, I was kind of nervous because I am not the best at acting and especially not on my feet. I much prefer to be behind the scenes, to be honest. My team for DI was, Hannah/Blondie, Ronan, Cameron, Caitlin and Magnus.
If you couldn’t tell from the name “Festival Frenzy” our challenge had something to do with festivals. We had to chose 8 festivals to research about, and we chose the following:
Originally, I only knew about Winterlude festival, so it was neat to be able to learn about other cultural festivals that take place around the world. Researching them was so we could be as accurate as possible and culturally respective for when we had to use them in our improv skit.
Since our challenge was improv there wasn’t much for us to prepare beforehand, other than increase our knowledge about the festivals and finesse our ability to think on the spot. To do this, we practiced improv sketches and the steps went like this: (1) randomly pull out a piece of paper that had a festival on it, (2) pull a piece of paper that had a goal for our story, and (3) halfway through our sketch we had to pull a final piece of paper which was called the “fork in the road” where we were given a challenge to overcome. It was nerve wracking not knowing what we were going to pull, and while we might not have made as much progress as we hoped over the month we practiced, there were some fun moments and good thinking on the spot by my team members. One challenge was we somehow kept randomly picking the same festival like Winterlude, Argentine Tango Festival and the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival. So, when it came to the day and we got the art festival we all were a little wary.
Here is what was tricky with our DI challenge on the day…as mentioned above having the art festival thrown at us was a little difficult because we didn’t know much about it or had practiced it. It was only in the dress rehearsals of our performance that we found out we could create a binder full of our research, and had we added more information this would have helped us have a better performance at the actual tournament. Each team had to create a sign and I took charge of doing it and here is how it turned out:
For myself, personally, I didn’t have a clear idea what to say or when to say it. Instead, I waited until I was spoken to by the other art judge. Where I did speak up was during the brainstorming…so I guess you could say I was more a thinker than a talker for the sketch. As a group, I do think we were able to use our box props effectively by using them as our art pieces in the sketch and we were comfortable enough to tell each other if an idea wouldn’t work out the best. Finally, even though we might not have been able to bring in specific facts about the festival we still used humour (some better than others) and kept the scene going. I would like to specifically highlight Caitlin for top notch genie performance and quick wit.
Overall, I would say that my takeaways are to do the research, as this hugely important to make the skit believable, it also helps give you ideas for when thinking on the spot and to help the dialogue going with your team members. DI was a big learning experience for me and I was super super happy that we ended up winning first place. The whole process of DI was stressful but it also felt rewarding to finish it all.
Here are some photos of us being productive at the competition:
and here is one when we were getting ready for presenting: To end our journey of grade 8 DI we had to write down what we did well, what we could improv on and went badly:
I hope you enjoyed looking through my journey through destination imagination <3