For release: November 20, 2010

For more information contact: Wayne Kurtzman, NH-DI Media Relations,
Note: Press kits are available at:

Learning To Make The Ordinary Extraordinary

Over 100 Team Managers, the adult facilitators of the educational non-profit Destination ImagiNation program were trained at Merrimiack Valley Middle School in Penacook on Saturday. Among the presenters were two NH-DI alumni who are both educators and members of a popular New Hampshire improv troupe.

The Team Managers spent the day going through session to help their teams facilitate creativity, problem solving, teamwork and presentation skills. These adults guide student teams through the process of solving mind-bending challenges. The catch:  Only the student team can solve these Challenges that incorporate national learning standards with disciplines that include mechanical and architectural design, science, the arts, community service and improvisational skills.

Enter two alumni of the program, John Herman and Jillian Thiele, both educators and members of the improv troupe Stranger Than Fiction, who volunteered to teach storytelling and presentation techniques to the team managers. While it’s not unusual to have alumni teach classes (there are over 100,000 Granite State alumni from the program), it is unique to have active improv troupe members.

“[The program] is giving young people the opportunity to gain life skills”, according to Herman, “but also the opportunity to connect with other people their same age, in a way that is outside the classroom, positive and applicable to their future.”

For Thiele, as is the case with many of the over 2,000 students in the program each year, the program was very important part of her future. “I credit a lot of my creative thinking to DI”, said Thiele. “I was a very shy kid. I really came out of my shell in doing this type of presentational problem solving. It was an outlet for creativity that school wasn’t tapping into for me … it was allowing me to think out of the box on a regular basis.”

Student teams will spend months preparing for Destination ImagiNation tournaments which begin in March. Each Challenge has some 20 scoring areas, and includes an additional “think on your feet” Challenge giving team only a few minutes from hearing the task to delivering  the solution. New Hampshire students compete within the state, and then with the best from around the world. Destination ImagiNation programs are run in over 30 countries. Thiele had competed and her team won at the Global level during high school.

“Very many times as an adult and I’m doing something that is creativity-based, I credit the core of that what I learned in DI.” It formed the basis of what I do today. … It helped me realize how I could create something extraordinary out of the ordinary”.

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About New Hampshire Destination ImagiNation

Destination ImagiNation® is a leading-edge non-profit organization dedicated to teaching participants the essential skills of creativity, teamwork, and problem solving. Every year, DI reaches 100,000 students (from pre-K through college) across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries.
There are over 1.3 million Destination ImagiNation alumni around the world including over 100,000 New Hampshire alumni.

NH-DI is administered by the 501(c)3 non-profit NHICC™: New Hampshire’s Incredible Creativity Connection. NHICC, celebrating 29th years of creative problem solving programs for New Hampshire students, will run Destination ImagiNation for over 2,000 students from schools and community organizations across New Hampshire. NHICC also operates Camp Gottalikachallenge, our 17 year old summer creativity camp.

Learn more about NHICC and New Hampshire Destination ImagiNation at, or the international Destination ImagiNation organization at

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