Odyssey of the Mind program 2020-2021

Odyssey of the Mind During a Pandemic

There is no better extracurricular to model relevant real-world skills right now than Odyssey of the Mind. Now more than ever, our world needs creative outside-the-box problem solvers committed to teamwork, and that is exactly what Odyssey of the Mind promotes. Returning teams and coaches should contact Sara Snarr to get started ASAP.

Join Us

Registration runs through October 30. Register by completing this online formProgram LogoAny questions can be directed to Spencerport's district coordinator, Sara Snarr via email.

Safety Measures 

At this point, teams have approval to meet virtually. As circumstances evolve, that may change. If in-person meetings become a possibility, that will be communicated to coaches immediately who will then decide with Ms. Snarr what would work best for their team. This year, there will be no regional tournament. All teams will automatically compete in a virtual states tournament by submitting a video of their solution. How they create that video is up to them! That's part of this year's fun. The date is TBA but video submissions will likely be due sometime in February. Qualifying teams will then advance to either a virtual or in-person worlds depending on circumstances closer to the spring. Feel free to contact Ms. Snarr with any questions. 

What is Odyssey of the Mind? 

Well ... it's part drama, part engineering, along with some art, writing, maybe some music, a generous dose of teamwork, and a few other things thrown in just for fun. Overall, it's LOADS of creativity combined with lots of fun. The key to Odyssey of the Mind is that students run the show and that's one of the biggest reason why students love Odyssey of the Mind.

Why Odyssey?

Odyssey of the Mind is a high impact educational experience that teaches students outside-the-box thinking. Students develop soft-skills that they will need in order to be prepared for college and career such as creativity, teamwork, confidence, public speaking, improvisation, and initiative. Students wrestle with complex problems and together propose and implement multi-step solutions. These projects expose students to cross-curricular experiences that model real-world applications of knowledge in the work place. Students involved experience a boost in their sense of self-efficacy, and love the opportunity for self-expression, following their passion, and team bonding. 

Who can participate?

Odyssey of the Mind is open to all students registered in Spencerport schools in grades K-12. One of the basic tenets of OotM is that creativity can be learned. Students need no prior experience or skills. As long as each team of 5-7 students has a coach, they are ready to go! Finding a coach is key and any willing adult qualifies: a parent, grandparent, neighbor, teacher, etc. The program is completely dependent on volunteer coaches and teams are formed as coaches volunteer.  

What is the time commitment?

Most teams start meeting weekly in November for 1-2 hours. As teams get closer to the regional tournament in March, they may add a second meeting during the week. Meetings are arranged by the coach at a time that works for the majority of team members. Some older teams will also do a few longer meetings on weekends or during school breaks to finish preparing for the tournament. If the team advances to states and possibly worlds, there will likely be a few additional practices to fine tune the team's solution. See the Tournament tab for more information about those higher level trips.

How much does it cost?

Costs are very low--typically $25-35 per student to cover supplies plus the cost of a t-shirt for the tournament ($10-12). If teams advance to the state or world competition, the bulk of travel expenses will fall on families. See the Tournament section below for more information. 

To learn more, check out these resources: 

Affiliated Organizations: 

2019-2020 Calendar:

Please make note of the following dates.

  • Recruitment Meeting: Saturday, September 21, 2019 9:30am in the Cosgrove Library
  • Team Registration and Formation Period: September 15-October 15. Teams start meeting by early November. Individuals may join existing teams after this period only if spots are available. No new teams will be formed.
  • Coaches Support Meetings: 2nd Monday of every month at 7pm from October-February (except in November) plus February 24 in the Cosgrove Library. Dates are: Oct. 14, Nov. 4, Dec. 9, Jan. 13, Feb. 10 & 24.
  • 40th Birthday Party of Spencerport OOTM: Saturday, November 2 from 10am-11:30am in the Cosgrove Cafeteria. Send one adult--coach or parent--with your team.
  • Judges Training: Saturday, November 2 from 8am-3pm.
  • Pin designs due: Monday, November 4
  • T-shirt Designs Due: Friday, January 10
  • Spontaneous Workshop: Saturday, January 18 from 9am-1pm at Rogers Middle School. Registrations due Dec 31. 
  • T-shirt Orders Due: Friday, January 21
  • Team Dress Rehearsal: Saturday, February 29, at Terry Taylor PAC from 10am-11:30am.
  • Regional Tournament: Saturday, March 7, 2020 in Spencerport (with March 8 as a snow date).
  • State Tournament: Saturday, April 4, 2020 in Binghamton, New York.
  • World Tournament: May 27-30, 2020 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa


Three Tournaments give students an opportunity to showcase their long-term problem solutions, and to compete in spontaneous problems. Scores for both types of problems are combined for an overall score. The highest scoring teams will advance to the State competition in Binghamton and perhaps on to World's. 

Greater Rochester Regional Tournament

In 2020, we will be hosting the Regional Tournament right here in Spencerport! We are fortunate to have a central campus with ample parking and buildings close to each other. The close proximity of two elementary schools and our middle school and high school makes it easy for crowds of OMers to come share their solutions with lots of support from family and friends. The tournament will be March 7, 2020 with March 8 as a snow date. 

States Tournament 

If your team advances to States in Binghamton in the spring, the district will cover the registration fees and a portion of hotel expenses for one night, but families should plan to set aside funds for hotel and travel. State Tournament details can be found here.

World Tournament

Details for worlds in late May can be found on the Odyssey of the Mind website under the World Finals tab. Again, the school district will offer some support for students attending the tournament but students will need to prepared with several hundred dollars to cover costs. Family members accompanying teams should plan to pay their own expenses. Teams and families are welcome to apply their creativity to fundraising.