Marj Allen

Marjorie Allen passed away early Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer. NH Destination Imagination has lost one of our most dedicated volunteers.

Marjorie devoted 33 years and countless hours to working with children to develop their creative problem solving skills. For 17 of those years, she worked with New Hampshire children.

She filled many roles, including Affiliate Challenge Master, NH Board Member, and Affiliate Training Director. As our Training Director, Marj educated and trained a vast number of volunteers, helping them, in turn, to transform the lives of children.

Marj regularly attended Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee as an Appraiser, often working in the prep area with elementary teams. She often said how much she loved talking with teams just before they went on for their final performance—calming their nervousness, watching them glow with pride, and celebrating their learning and creativity.

She contributed to the organization in many capacities, but Marj may have been most proud of her role as a Team Manager; she managed teams from 1981-2003. She helped so many children discover their potential, pushing them to think outside of the box. Years later, her team members continue to reflect on the impact she had on them.

“At an age when I was so sure of what I thought I knew and what I thought was ‘right,’ she challenged me to shed my assumptions and to trust the instincts and intuition of my teammates. The best solutions, she taught us, were always coalesced of diverse ideas. So, I learned the important lesson that creativity isn’t just about ‘thinking big thoughts’ but about being open in mind and spirit,” said Andrew Baker.

Emily Jones shared: “Being a member of a creative problem solving team under the leadership of Marj Allen was a life changing experience for anyone who was lucky enough to have it. We learned the power of teamwork, planning, thinking outside the box, and approaching a problem from different perspectives. We learned how to build and improve on failure to the point that it was not failure at all, but a stepping stone on the path to progress. We learned what it was like to be accepted, appreciated, and valued for our contributions, and to hold ourselves accountable for each other’s success.”

Emily Richardson said, “As an educator, I constantly think about what she taught me—that the first idea isn’t always the best idea; the importance of collaboration and listening to others’ ideas; that it’s not only okay to revise, but a necessary part of learning; to celebrate what I’m passionate about and to pursue it with everything I’ve got. I also think a lot about how she taught me. She was our cheerleader, our guiding mentor, and someone who facilitated our meetings, but she never gave us the answers. She let us discover them on our own.”

Those of us who knew Marj through her work with NH Destination Imagination are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of someone who gave so much to us. We are comforted to know, though, that she has created a profound legacy in the lives of the countless children she has impacted.

“She touched my life through her work with Destination Imagination and, like a drop of water in a pond, there continue to be ripples,” said Tiffany Huseman, a former team member of Marj’s.