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Leu Civic Center’s Odyssey of the Mind Teams Gear Up for 2023 Competition

By Zachary Daum

mascherald@heraldpubs.com

The Leu Civic Center is set to join in the upcoming 2023 Odyssey of the Mind (OM) competition, a student-driven program designed to ignite innovation and collaboration across various disciplines.

Odyssey of the Mind, often abbreviated as OM, stands as a testament to the belief that creativity and problem-solving are skills that can be cultivated. This inclusive, hands-on program caters to a diverse range of interests, including artists, musicians, engineers, builders, mathletes, and beyond. The core philosophy of OM is rooted in the idea that creativity is not an inherent trait but a learned skill.

Teams participating in OM face a dual challenge. On one hand, they tackle short-term spontaneous problems, testing their ability to think on their feet and work collectively. On the other, they delve into long-term problems that demand months of collaboration, innovation, and strategic planning. It’s a unique platform that encourages students to push the boundaries of their imagination.

This year, the Leu Civic Center is proud to announce the formation of three OM teams, each with its own set of challenges and aspirations.

Primary Team – Grades K-2: The Night Life

The youngest minds at Leu are taking on the long-term problem titled “The Night Life.” Currently consisting of 3 members, this primary team is on the lookout for 4 more creative young thinkers to join their ranks.

Division 1 Team – Grades 3-5: Drive-In Movie

With a full team of 7 members, the Division 1 team is gearing up for the unique challenges posed by the “Drive-In Movie” long-term problem.

Division 2 Team – Grades 6-8: Rocking World Detour

The Division 2 team, currently comprising 5 members, invites 2 more individuals to join them on their quest to solve the “Rocking World Detour” long-term problem.

Several members of the team voiced their excitement for the project.

Lennon from the Primary Team succinctly states, “It’s fun,” capturing the essence of the program’s appeal.

Liam from the Division 1 Team emphasizes the mental stimulation, stating, “It gets my mind going. It makes me think really hard and outside the box.”

Ainsley, also from the Division 1 Team, appreciates the camaraderie, noting, “(I do this) because I get to hang out with my friends and be creative and do whatever I want.”

Lochlan from the Primary Team echoed the sentiment, saying, “Because it’s fun.”

Rachel from the Division 2 Team highlighted the freedom in creativity, expressing, “Because it’s just fun to do all the creative things in it and make your own stuff without having to follow other things. Like, there are guidelines, but you can be creative.”

The challenges of OM, as described by team members, range from the mental strain of overthinking to the demanding tasks of costume-making and script creation. However, the rewards, whether it’s the satisfaction of completing a challenging task or the prospect of going to state and possibly even world competitions, drive these young minds to persevere.

Working as a team, according to the participants, is a mix of fun and challenge. While teamwork accelerates idea generation and problem-solving, it also introduces the complexity of managing different opinions and working with diverse ideas.

For those intrigued by the prospect of joining or learning more about the Leu Civic Center’s Odyssey of the Mind teams, Alaina Pipas is the point of contact. She can be reached at leueducationresourcecenter@gmail.com.

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