Teams Worldwide Gather in Poland for International Invitational

By: Tina Shaffer

From March 16–19, nearly 2,000 Destination Imagination (DI) students from around the world gathered in Wroclaw, Poland for this year’s International Invitational. Established in 2013, the International Invitational was designed as an educational opportunity for all DI teams to experience new cultures, showcase their creativity, and collaborate with students from around the world.

A total of 237 Polish teams participated in the main tournament, showcasing their innovative solutions to six Challenges in the areas of science, technology, engineering, fine arts, improvisation and service learning. Teams demonstrated the importance of teamwork, creativity and problem solving while vying for a chance to qualify for Destination Imagination’s culminating academic tournament, Global Finals, which will take place May 24-27 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“From the Opening Ceremony to the competition itself to the finale, it was an incredible event, with the energy of thousands of young Polish competitors filling the arena in Wroclaw,” said Walter Braunohler, U.S. Consul General in Krakow, Poland. “I was so impressed to see learning transcend the classroom as brainpower, creativity and determination paved the way to victory for so many kids.”

Team Annie Has Gum, from Colorado, and Walter Braunohler, U.S. Consul General in Krakow, Poland

International teams attending the event participated in a separate 24-hour Extreme Challenge. For this one-of-a-kind Challenge, called Legendary Legends, teams had to research a famous Polish legend and traditional Polish patterns, as well as present a team-created story that combines one Polish legend and one other existing legend. In addition, the teams had to design and build a technical element that exaggerated and enhanced a part of their story. More than 38 teams from the U.S., Turkey, China, Saudi Arabia and Poland participated in the Extreme Challenge.

Teams from Turkey and the U.S. nabbed the top three places in the Middle Level category, while three Polish teams took first, second and third place in the Secondary Level category.

“As a Team Manager and parent, I appreciated the opportunity to watch so much personal growth in the kids in such a short amount of time,” said Chelsea May, Team Manager for DI Colorado team, Annie Has Gum. “They took a challenge and basically solved it in 13 hours. They wrote a script, created props and costumes, made a pulley system for their technical element, thought of creative ways to integrate everything into their skit, problem solved, and resolved conflicts on very little sleep with jet lag. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

In addition to the main tournament and Extreme Challenge, students had the opportunity take part in an interactive exhibition that featured a variety of hands-on activities ranging from science experiments to lava lamp workshops to candy making.

Destination Imagination is extremely proud of all of the teams who participated in this year’s International Invitational and would like to thank Destination Imagination Poland and the many, many volunteers who helped make the event possible.