The role a booster club plays in aiding schools and students participating in sports and non-athletic activities can not be overstated. An Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club can help open a world of discovery for the students of your school. Assisting with an Odyssey of the Mind competition isn’t quite the same as backing your typical fine arts or music program event. Here are a few insights into how an Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club supports its team.
Let The Odyssey of the Mind Begin
From its humble beginnings in New Jersey more than 40 years ago, Odyssey of the Mind has been challenging and inspiring students worldwide to think outside the box and problem solve in new ways. Creativity and teamwork are core components of every successful Odyssey of the Mind competition. Teams of students select and complete a problem that involves them learning to work together as they expand their creative thinking skills.
Every year children from member schools participate in a series of creative challenges that aim to solve divergent problems. You know, the kind of brain-twister that has no right or wrong answer for solving it, only an inventive one. The process enriches the lives of the young contributors by exposing them to the power of brainstorming, role-playing, critical thinking, and group dynamics.
The goal of OM competitions isn’t for schools to earn a reward, though trophies are awarded at regional, state and World Finals level matches. The real benefit comes from the self-respect and innovative thinking skills students gain while participating. And its the opportunities for growth and discovery that led C. Samuel Micklus and Theodore Gourley to create the Odyssey of the Mind concept in 1978, and it’s been growing ever since. And the need for Odyssey of the Mind Booster Clubs has grown as well as clubs strive to support the endeavors that help nurture and inspire our youth.
Not Your Typical Student Activity
Unlike most extracurricular activities that occur during a portion of the school term or another specific event – a football season or a spelling bee – an Odyssey of the Mind team will meet over weeks and months as they solve a long-term competitive problem. Show your support by partnering with a member school and form an Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club. Take heed to the regulations by state and visit the official Odyssey of the Mind site for more information on member school districts.
Because the goal of the Odyssey of the Mind challenge is for young minds to tackle complex problems in teams, adults can offer little assistance in the actual completion of the tasks, lest the team be penalized for outside assistance. The problems are unique and change each year, but consist of 5 thought-provoking synopses from constructing a vehicle to putting on a performance. The amount of time given and the team’s allowed budget are set to give teams equal opportunity to solve the problem and present their work to the competition judges. Scoring is subjective and considers how creatively the team approached the subject with points awarded for style and how well they met the required aspects in their solution.
How An Odyssey Of The Mind Booster Club Supports Its Team
Schools need to promote interest in Odyssey of the Mind competition while offering physical, financial and volunteer support for academic and other non-athletic extra-curricular activities – programs like art, music, and theater. So your Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club will be more of an umbrella club, one that covers multiple activities over a range of student ages. Long-term problems take weeks to fully accomplish but all the work must be original and come from the team of students so booster club support will be ongoing.
Typically the Odyssey of the Mind team is comprised of students from the same school. However, multi-school teams can participate if the schools those students attend are registered members with the program. An Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club will be more involved with raising awareness among students, parents and school faculty to the possibilities these events represent.
Get involved via your Odyssey of the Mind booster club
- Consider becoming a coach – The coach is the only adult allowed to work with the team of students, offering moral support to get them engaged in thinking creatively, guidance to stay on task and encouragement to power through adversities.
- Lend transportation assistance – Often students and family may need help getting project materials (props) and team members to a competition, especially at the state and international levels. Shuttle competitors and volunteers and raise funds to cover travel and lodging expenses.
- Get social with the media – Assist with the school’s efforts or lead the Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club’s social media promotion of the schedule of events. Then reach out to a local news channel with a human interest story featuring the team members and their contributions.
- Volunteer with Odyssey of the Mind – Several manpower positions are needed throughout the year at the scholastic, regional and state-level tournaments. These may include anything from tournament assistants to competition judges.
Pass the Torch
Keep involvement going strong all year long by encouraging a student booster club to incorporate Odyssey of the Mind principals. Even students that don’t compete will benefit from exposure to challenging math, science and art projects. The camaraderie of working with different classmates and the confidence this promotes are invaluable and could last a lifetime.
Promote Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club continuity with help from school administrators, as they often stay with an institution for many years and can safeguard valuable information like volunteer lists and club records. Partner with other non-athletic booster clubs to share ideas, manpower, and resources that can be used again and again.
Community volunteers that offer their services year after year, can be a big part of an Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club’s memory. Their participation with the different events, fundraisers, and competitions mean they are skilled at completing tasks and can pass along effective methods to new members.
The Odyssey of the Mind program involves children of all ages competing with their peers in challenging ways. Parents and teachers must also think creatively on how an Odyssey of the Mind Booster Club supports its team. From raising awareness to helping teams travel, the needs of students and the schools that support them can vary. By keeping an open mind and thinking outside the box and you too will enjoy the Odyssey of the Mind journey along with your young ones.