Highlights from DI 2015 Global Finals

Thanks to all of you who supported, encouraged, cheered & contributed financially to help The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans get to compete at Destination Imagination’s 2015 Global Finals! We couldn’t have done it without you all!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans team and team managers

PDX carpet selfie on the way to DI 2015 Global Finals

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans team and team managers

On our way to DI Global Finals 2015

Now… How do I go about explaining such an incredible week, a week in which I saw so much growth and maturity in the kids; a week where we had a total blast! Well, since there’s too much to tell, I’ll give you some highlights of our week…

  • Global Finals was at the UT-Knoxville, TN campus and had 17,000 attendees, 8000+ students from 17 countries, 544 volunteers and 1,468 teams in 6 challenge categories. To say it was an epic week is an understatement!
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  • What an honor to have walked through this year with the team and then get to watch them compete in their Instant Challenge and Central Challenge (Technical Challenge: Creature Feature) and watching the team work together, have a fabulous performance and let their personalities and skills shine for the appraisers.
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team ready for their central challenge at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Friends who came to support The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans at Destination Imagination team at GF15

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Central Challenge time at DI GF15 – Penelope’s steam punk top hat is made out of duct tape, straws and decorations!

  • The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans tied for 14th place in the world out of 87 teams — crazy over-the-top proud of them! {once you’re done reading this entire blog post, feel free to head on over and watch the team’s performance: HERE and if you want to hear the introduction by the Appriaser about what the challenge was about watch this first: HERE}

Especially when they got the highest score in the story sub-category: “creativity of the world portrayed in the Story of Adventure, Creativity of the Creature’s role in the Story of Adventure, Integration of the Creature Actions and World Features and Clear and effective storytelling”!

They got the fifth highest score in Team Choice Elements (Savannah’s puppets including and Angler Fish puppet which she created a pattern for herself and the team’s “Rescue Submarine” song sung to the tune of “Yellow Submarine” and Penelope’s excellent communication of the details to the appraisers): “creativity and originality, Quality, workmanship or effort that is evident and Integration into the Presentation”!

And eleventh highest score in World Features (Duncan’s roll up backdrop change and Savannah’s elaborate control panel complete with electronic schematic): Successfully demonstration of World Feature 1 and 2, Technical Design and Innovation of World Feature 1 and 2”!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Duncan is Mr. DeMarcus, Penelope is a Steam Punk Inventor and Savannah is an Electrical Engineer… together they create a team from NASA: National Aquatic Submarine Association, which is part of their solution to solve their Central Challenge

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

CUB (their creature submarine) doing one of his creature actions… diving into the ocean!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Puppet show, control panel, pier/dock and laptop… all created on their own by this amazing team!

  • Noelle!! My photographer friend who lives in Knoxville that hung out with us all week and graciously was our chauffeur, tour guide, encourager, entertainment and photographer to document our week! It allowed me to not have to pack all my gear and actually be in some images!!! If you live anywhere near Knoxville, TN… you should totally hire her!! Seriously! www.noellebellphotography.com
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Stacee & Noelle, so thankful for this friendship (we’re even twinning in our DI GF15 shirts!)

•The team got to walk in the Welcome Ceremony; they were three of the 16 people chosen to represent the state of Oregon. They got to sit on the arena floor during the entire ceremony. Then toward the end of the ceremony they were asked to carry and wave flags of other states/countries. It was quite an experience! Mark, Noelle and I missed having them with us, but enjoyed the plush leather recliner box seats where we were seated!!!

UT-Knoxville’s Sun Sphere is sort of an icon, so we had to make sure we got lots of pictures in front of it!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans getting ready for their Instant Challenge (left) and afterwards doing their Tada (right)!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

One more Sun Sphere pic, because we had our own photographer!! Woo hoo! And some fun art that the DI kids created this week!

  • The team got to walk in the Welcome Ceremony; they were three of the 16 people chosen to represent the state of Oregon. They got to sit on the arena floor during the entire ceremony. Then toward the end of the ceremony they were asked to carry and wave flags of other states/countries. It was quite an experience! Mark, Noelle and I missed having them with us, but enjoyed the plush leather recliner box seats where we were seated!!!
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans walking in the Welcome Celebration

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans (see arrow) in the middle of the fun at DI Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Laser light show at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015 Welcome Ceremony

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Arial acrobat an confetti fun at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015 Welcome Ceremonies!

• Closing Ceremonies were also amazingly cool… check out the laser light show and fog machine combo!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Funny pic of the Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015 Closing Ceremonies {thanks for taking it Donna}

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Amazing fog and laser light show and my favorite guys: Duncan and Mark

 

  • The team (and adults) got to attend a workshop with THE Buzz Aldrin! At 85, he’s still doing his thing! He’s adorable, hilarious and it was such an honor to be in the same room a NASA icon! Definitely a highlight! Our only disappointment was not getting to get a photo with him.
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Buzz Aldrin workshop at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015 – it was such an honor to be in the same room as Mr. Aldrin!!!

  • NASA sponsored Nighttime Sky Observing event. We looked through huge telescopes and were able to see Jupiter, Venus, and our Moon. Fun side note… Mark was able to help me figure out how to angle my cell phone so that I could take a photo of what the telescope was seeing. Still cell phone quality, but amazing none-the-less!
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans looking at Venus, Jupiter and the Moon at a NASA event at DI Global Finals 2015

  • Pin trading – this is a HUGE event at Global Finals! Each affiliate (state/country) produces their own set of pins each year. Then these pins, and often pins from previous years, are traded. It’s a great way to meet kids from other states and countries. It is also fun to watch which pins become the favorites each year and, by the end of the week, are worth more than a straight 1:1 pin trade.
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Savannah and Penelope with Box and Ball, the DI mascots

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Pin trading with kids from other states and countries! FUN!!!

  • Giga Balls – this are hysterically awesome… think HUGE beach ball meets squirrel cage ball… result… a whole lot of fun. The highlight of the Giga Balls, however, was Duncan being strong and fast enough to literally bowl over the UT bouncer guy who was supposed to stop the balls. It was super funny as he flew into the arms of a nearby dad. The best part, as we were all dying of laughter, was when he turned back to the dad and said, “Thanks for saving me, but I think we should have gotten to know each other a bit before all that!” Then he congratulated Duncan on being able to bowl him over. I have video of it, but kept focused on Duncan and missed the flying bouncer guy! LOL
The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Waiting in line for the Giga Balls at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015

 

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Penelope and Savannah in the Giga Balls at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015

 

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Our new UT friend that Duncan bowled over with the Giga Ball at Destination Imagination Global Finals 2015

The weather was beautiful and not overly humid. The food was yummy – our favorites were the abundance of fruits, veggies and ice cream treats and desserts!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Eating cotton candy treats

We were blessed with safe travels, health and a lot of fun!

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans Destination Imagination team at Global Finals 2015

Heading back to Atlanta to catch our flight home

Thank you to all of you who helped us along the way!

And thanks to my parents and my brother’s family for welcoming us home at the airport and for our sign at home and the beautiful lavender roses (wish I could capture the smell to share with you all!!).

Thanks to Duncan and Savannah’s friends for decorating our front door with love in the form of post-it notes.

The Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans {and team managers, Mark & Stacee Taft}

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your photos and amazing story on our official Destination Imagination Facebook page! We wish your team the best of luck next season!

    Tina Shaffer
    Communications Coordinator
    Destination Imagination, Inc.

  2. Wow! What a great experience for everyone!

  3. Wow, this seems like such a jam packed experience!!! It seems like everyone came home with lots of fun stories and memories to treasure for a long time to come

  4. Looks like a week to remember! Congratulations to the Tongue-Twisting Turquoise Toucans! 14th in the world is quite a feat!

  5. Oh sweet friend, I had the best time ever with you all this year and I do so hope that I can make it up there this year. Maybe we can come up with our own retreat of kinds to just hang out. So so much fun at DI with you all and so many wonderful memories and much laughter and little sleep. 🙂 Thank you Stacee for your dear friendship and for all the fond memories from this trip. Mark it was great getting to know you more this year and a HUGE shout out to Duncan for rolling around the camera gear with all of his endless energy! Love and miss you and praying that you can make it out again next year.