I have four years of Odyssey of the Mind experience - one as a third grader and three (and counting) as a coach on my kids' teams.
This program is so hard to describe, but it puts a spotlight on just about everything I want my kids to learn ... creativity, teamwork, engineering, art, science, construction, writing, public speaking, performance and more.
Each fall, groups of about seven kids - from elementary schools to colleges - are tasked with completing a project - often building something such as a car or structure and creating a skit that's part of it. They can receive no help from their coaches, who are there to provide some guidance and make sure nobody gets hurt.
A lucky few move up from regionals to states to worlds. We have several teams from the Triangle who are moving on to compete in the world competition in Iowa in May. As you can imagine, it's a huge expense to travel with seven kids, parents, coaches and more cardboard and duct tape (which appear in most every OM skit) than you can imagine.
At least one local team is raising money toward the trip to Iowa, which is expected to cost them more than $12,000. The Sushi Surfers are a team of third, fourth and fifth graders from Joyner Elementary School. (Full disclosure: Joyner is the school my kids attend).
The team won first place in their regional competition and second in the state contest. They built a tower made of only balsa wood and glue. The tower could weigh no more than 15 grams (about the same weight as 15 paper clips). It held more than 400 pounds!
They have received pledges of about $4,800 toward the total cost of $12,000. They are raising another $8,000 through a GoFundMe.com page. They were close to $3,000 at last check.
If you feel moved to support this team, check out their GoFundMe page. Good luck, Sushi Surfers!
I'm sure there are more Triangle-based OM teams working to raise money toward a trip to the championship. If that's you and you have an official bank account or fundraising platform for donations, please email me and I am happy to share.