We’re so glad to be welcoming all of the new and returning Odyssey teams this year! We want to take this opportunity to let you know how this season is shaping up. The way the world is going, we’re still not quite back to pre-pandemic normal, but we’ve had our creative thinking hats on to come up with something that we think will fit the needs this year. To do that, we’ve been working closely with the Virginia state Odyssey association, following the updates from the international Odyssey organization, and — most importantly — listening to many of you.
Based on that, our plans for the year are as follows:
- On a regional level, we will hold an event for teams to showcase their solutions in the mid to late April timeframe. This will not be a scored competition in the usual sense, but teams will get feedback from judges and a chance to perform in front of a live audience. Teams that wish to participate will need to provide a judge and a volunteer. This will be a single event for regions 14 (Catoctin) and 16 (Dulles).
- At the state level, Virginia will be holding a virtual tournament only, and all teams are welcome to participate. Team long-term submissions will be accepted from February 13, 2022, to March 4, 2022. Spontaneous submissions will be accepted from March 6-20, 2022. A meeting for coaches interested in participating in the state tournament will be held on Dec 1, 2021. Please see the state website for additional information.
- At the international level, there will be both a virtual world finals and an in-person world finals. Please see odysseyofthemind.com and the program guide for more information as it becomes available.
Unlike in a traditional year, teams can pick and choose which of these events they want to take part in. You can do any or all as your team sees fit.
Why are we holding the regional event in April, after the state virtual tournament?
We heard from many of you that you wanted a chance for your teams to participate in an in-person event. We also heard that many of you are starting later in the year than usual, so we thought it would be unreasonable to ask teams to be ready to perform in early February – which is what we’d have to do to get ahead of the state event. The state also determined that their tournament will be open to any teams, so whatever we do regionally will not be serving as a qualifying event this year. By waiting until April, we also hope that we will minimize the impact of any lingering pandemic concerns.
What will the regional showcase look like?
We’re still working out the details, but plan on a fun event for all! Not only will this be a chance for teams to present their solutions, it will also be an opportunity for people who have not encountered Odyssey of the Mind before to see what it is all about. If you have any creative ideas on what we could include in this event, please let us know.
Will the regional showcase include both long-term and spontaneous events?
Yes, we expect to offer both experiences.
Why is the state only holding an online virtual tournament?
Many school districts around Virginia are experiencing restrictions on their after-school activities both due to Covid protocols and due to staffing shortages. Some of these districts rely on school buildings for team practices and school buses for team transportation, and these services may not be available. The only way the state association could have an event that would be open to all Virginia teams was to make it an online activity.
Let us know if you have questions on any of this.
Sheryl Lemma and Tom Coate
co-Directors, Regions 14 and 16