Odyssey of the Mind

Since I retired last June, the opportunity to be in a school, engaged with groups of children, has been missing from my life. Today, for a few hours, that changed. I was a volunteer for Odyssey of the Mind. Odyssey of the Mind is a huge movement designed to enhance creativity in kids from grades three to twelve. Prior to my grandaughter’s involvement, I had never heard of this before.

Volunteering involved about six hours of training several weeks ago and required me to arise at 5:15 AM in order to drive to Pennsbury High School and report for duty at 6:40AM. Needless to say, I wasn’t too excited. Slowly, that changed. I met the team of folks I would be working with for the day and they were fantastic. We set out material, reviewed our jobs, and practiced the problem our groups would solve all before the first team arrived at 8:00AM.

Our groups worked on what is called a “Hands-on Spontaneous Problem”. Each team that showed up was instructed to use certain materials and given specific rules for working with them to gain points. It was amazing to see the way the different groups worked together and came up with creative solutions for the same problem, using the same materials.

After a few hours, the adults on our team decided to get a bit c reative ourselves. One of our members was a singer with a barbershop quartet. We made up welcoming words to the tune of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, then three of us sang and three of us danced along to the tune when each group entered our room. I was a singer and for the first time I experienced what it is like to sing an individual part in harmony with two others. How fun!

Eleven groups and six hours later I left Pennsbury feeling satisfied, happy and tired. It was great to once again be in a school working with like-minded adults and promoting an educational experience with groups of kids. Ah…nap time!




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