Vestal Odyssey of the Mind teams to World Championships!

Vestal Odyssey of the Mind teams to World Championships!

Abeera Chaudri, Journalist

This past month, three Vestal teams won at the state Odyssey of the Mind level and are advancing to the World Championship in Iowa!

Odyssey of the Mind is one of the most prestigious and rigorous clubs in school. Often compared more to a lifestyle than a club, teams work for hours on end, 7 days a week, to make it this far in the competition. 

The three teams will be traveling to Iowa for the competition from May 25th-28th. There, they will meet and compete against teams from more than 20 countries as far as Switzerland, Poland, and China. 

All this talk about Odyssey of the Mind begs the question- what is it in the first place? Odyssey of the Mind is a competitive program focusing on creativity and teamwork to showcase your abilities in two forms: long term and spontaneous. 

Long-Term: Long-Term Problems involve the team choosing between 1 of 5 categories (vehicle, technical, classics, structure, and performance) for their skit. Keeping the skit under 8 minutes, the team must integrate the requirements given while also being scored on stylistic elements of the performance. The team works on making a fun and enjoyable performance that can also tackle the sometimes obscure requirements of the problem. As mentioned earlier, creativity is an integral part of this process. Crafting elaborate things like a dress entirely from paper or a realistic dog out of old t-shirts is needed to bring a wow factor for the judges. The skit process is super fun- and slightly nerve racking- but it can make you pursue ideas that are unimaginable in a restrictive school environment.

Spontaneous: You have one minute to think, and three minutes to respond. Your problem- name something a fly may say if stuck in a spider web. Go! Those are the haunting words of a spontaneous verbal problem. Your goal here is to maximize points with as many creative answers as possible. 1 point for common responses and up to 3 points for creative responses. That being said, it is not limited to verbal problems. You may walk into the room with one toothpick, a straw, and some labels, and be asked to make a tall structure that can support weights. That is hands-on. The best of both worlds is the category of hands-on-verbal. Verbal questions are not always so structured, and a hands-on is not always a literal structure. It’s a gamble what you will walk into on competition day, which is why teams must practice to train their minds to think in unconventional and creative ways. 

These are just the fundamental aspects of Odyssey of the Mind. One of the most important aspects to a team’s success, though, is the people involved. A team working together and embracing each other’s strengths and weaknesses is the only way that anything can get done. Without teamwork, you have an unstable foundation for your entire solution. Vestal’s teams will take these traits with them to Iowa for the World Championship next month.