The Ballston Spa Odyssey of the Mind team with their creation the Thinkinator. Lydia Freehafer, Maggie Zink, Hope Danison, Caitlin Shanley, Alyson Demskie, Allyson Block and Katie Barno. Photo Submitted.
Ballston Spa Working through creative problem solving can serve young mind swell in academics as well as life.
It turns out the state’s best teenagers in this realm are seven sophomores making up the Ballston Spa Odyssey of the Mind team, who qualified to compete in the organization’s 33rd World Championship from May 23to 26 at Iowa State University. On March 31, they went up against 17 teams in a statewide competition.
“We were very excited to go to world (championship). It’s an amazing opportunity to meet people from around the world. It’s so cool,” said team member Maggie Zink.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international program offered mainly through schools providing creative problem solving opportunities for students in kindergarten through college. Teams of five to seven choose a problem to solve among subjects ranging from building mechanical devices to presenting interpretations of literary classics.
The Ballston Spa team has remained mostly intact since middle school, with a few members leaving, and have advanced to the state championships every year since 6th grade.
Zink has been on an Odyssey of the Mind team since she was in the third grade.
“It’s really, really fun, I love to make props and scenery for Odyssey. It’s a lot of fun, you’re with your friends and you meet a lot of people,” said Zink.
Team member Lydia Freehafer, 16, has been involved with OM since she was in kindergarten.
“My older sister had done Odyssey of the Mind, and my mom had coached her team. Sometimes I would visit their meetings and it looked like a lot of fun. My favorite part about being in the group is how rewarding it is. After working hard for months and months, you get to see your work pay off during the competition, which is tons of fun,” she said.