About Us

Creative Car Costume

We want kids to do great things!

Californian North Odyssey of the Mind challenges participants to use their creativity, problem-solving skills and teamwork to travel uncharted paths to make the world a better place.

We promote divergent thinking for participants of all ages throughout NorCal and encourage them to be accepting of diversity in people, thoughts and beliefs. This environment helps foster personal integrity, self-respect & cooperation.

When kids are given the chance to collaborate and create without interference, they grow in ways that benefit both themselves and their communities. We believe every student deserves to be recognized and celebrated for who they are and for their unique contributions.

Squiggle Pill
Odyssey Ceremony Participants

Our vision and values

NorCal Over 50 years of adventure

Our vision is to empower students of all ages to do remarkable things for themselves and the world.

The International mission of Odyssey of the Mind is to provide creative problem-solving opportunities for everyone and to foster original and divergent thinking.

Through the Odyssey of the Mind program, coaches, parents, judges and volunteers promote creativity by challenging teams to solve open-ended problems.

Students who participate develop a sense of self-respect and respect for others. By working in teams, participants learn teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving, and the appreciation and understanding of divergent views.

Our Values

Respect: We encourage respect for ourselves and others. We treat all people kindly, with consideration and fairness.

Teamwork: Cooperation helps all team members learn and succeed in their own ways.

Ownership: Students are in charge from start to finish!

Creativity: We encourage students to look at problems from all different angles

Risk Taking: Odyssey is a judgement-free zone, where all ideas are welcome, and where kids are free to try, start over and try again.

While the ultimate goal for most teams is to present their problem solutions in competitions, this is not a requirement. The purpose of the program is to provide students with an exciting learning experience that is challenging and fun.

Dr. Sam Micklus student's floatation devices
Dr. Sam Micklus student's floatation devices

Our History

OM has its roots in the Industrial Design classes of Dr. Sam Micklus, Odyssey of the Mind founder. As a professor at Rowan University, Dr. Micklus challenged his students to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers, and flotation devices that would take them across a course on a lake.

Students were evaluated not on the success of their solutions, but on the ingenuity applied and the risk involved in trying something new and different. Students had fun.

Word spread and the students’ activities attracted attention from the local media. Soon, others wanted a part of the action. This public interest led to the development of a creative problem-solving competition for school children. Since then, Dr. Micklus’s life has been happily consumed with developing problems for other people to solve. His rewards are in the joy and pride of the millions of participants who rise to the challenge of solving those problems.