West Central Pennsylvania Odyssey of the Mind
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Parents are Important

This is for you, the ones who are driving the carpools, forking out money for pizza, opening closets for major scavenging, waiting while the team cleans up after a meeting, postponing dinner because one more prop needs finished, and generally watching from the sidelines while the team "gets creative!"


  • You are the team's secret weapon for success?
  • You are the "wind beneath the wings" of the team?
  • You are a vital part of Odyssey of the Mind?

Parent or Guardian Responsibilities On Tournament Day

Your Odyssey of the Mind Regional Board also relies on parents and guardians for help. We welcome friends, relative, and office associates, too!

Here are the opportunities for parents, friends, and relatives to help make the regional tournament possible. We feel certain you will enjoy helping, and few volunteer opportunities directly benefit so many children in an educational program!

WE NEED YOUR HELP on Tournament Day to:

  • Be an official - This involves a training in February on a Saturday to learn to be a judge.
  • Be a volunteer - Each membership must provide an adult volunteer for the Tournament in March. Volunteers may be assigned for 2 hours in activities such as sales, information, or other capacities. To volunteer contact a coach, your school's Odyssey of the Mind Coordinator, or the Regional Director.

We also ask you to help the team get props in and out of the building, to move your car from loading and unloading areas as quickly as possible, and to bring a sense of humor to the tournament (because Murphy's law is an Odyssey of the Mind condition!)

We on the Regional Board believe that this program offers something unique for your children. We believe that they will learn teamwork, creative problem solving, divergent thinking, persistence, practical skills, and many other abilities through Odyssey of the Mind. Please remember we are all volunteers working together to make this happen.

THANK YOU for your support, for your child, for his or her coach, and for the regional volunteers!!

We wish you creativity in your own life, and fun watching these wonderful problem solvers at work!!

Please review the Tournament Guidelines on the Events Page


  • That is absolutely wrong!
  • That is absolutely right!
  • (Well?? which is it???)

BOTH! You may do many things to help the team, but there are also things you might want to do that would cost the team penalty points. So... how do you know the difference? Here is your own handy, dandy, just-for-parent guidelines! 

What Parents
What Parents

Transport the team to buy things

Suggest what to buy

Transport the props

Repair props if broken in shipping

Teach the team members a skill
IF the team asks, such as

  • Sewing
  • Woodworking
  • Calligraphy
  • Art
  • Electronics
  • Engineering
  • Principals of simple machines
  • Welding

Suggest to the team which skills to use to solve a problem

Suggest to the team which skills would result in a better-looking
or better functioning solution

Give the teams any ideas for their problem solution

Sew anything, paint anything, do anything to contribute to the team's problem solution

Help provide snacks

Analyze why something failed

Bring spontaneous problem supplies

Expect perfection from a solution  not done by adults (or from a solution done by adults, for that matter!)

Help get props into the building for the Tournament, even to the staging area


Open attics, closets, basements for "garage sale value" materials

Suggest what materials to get from the attic, closet or basement

Provide lots of encouragement


Provide a place to meet/store props

Fix anything that breaks

Get everyone and everything to the Tournament

Criticize any part of a team's solution

Applaud A LOT and help get props offstage afterwards

Put emphasis on scores instead of fun

Source: VOICES  (Virginia Odyssey Into Creativity ExplorationS) Thanks VOICES

As you can tell, parents ARE important, as resources for learning skills, helping get materials, providing moral support, supplementing working brains with nourishment, and generally facilitating the logistics of a working team. Without your encouragement, your child will not develop the self confidence that Odyssey of the Mind promotes.

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