Beyond the


January Newsletter 2021


NorCal Odyssey of the Mind News

Word from the Association Director

Happy New Year All!

It’s 2021 and that can only mean one thing…Odyssey of the Mind tournament season is almost here!

Coaches are trained and coaching…
Teams are building, creating, building again … again… and again…
NOW judges are registering and getting trained and filled with excitement for the new solutions that will be coming their way! Judges need to register by January 30th at Judge Registration. Thank your judge for helping make the tournament season a success and joining us on the creative journey.

Tournament season is almost here!!!

Make sure you have your team registered to participate in the All Regions Showcase Tournament by January 17th. The Showcase Tournament is the first opportunity for your team to show off that one-of-a-kind creative solution they have been working on this season. It will give your team the opportunity to see how this online tournament system works including SPONTANEOUS. Teams must compete in the All Regions Showcase to advance to the NorCal State Association Tournament. Teams that qualify at the state tournament will then advance to WORLD FINALS. NorCal teams will shine at World Finals!!!

We know that this season is new and full of changes which often brings inspiration and new views of the world, so we cannot wait to see what you have all been working on. Please remember that you and your team’s safety is the top priority. Follow the health and safety guidelines set by your school or organization, city, county, and state. Make good choices for those around you. Thank you for being safe and good community members.

Speaking of community be sure to check out the Odyssey Angels program in Odyssey of the Mind. This program challenges your team to use unique creative problem-solving abilities to help some aspect of your community that would otherwise be overlooked. Our students are creative in all aspects and their ability to help the community around them is no exception. To get more details go to our website under the Coach tab and click on the Odyssey Angels button below. We would love to see what your team has been doing to help.

This season, we will not get to see you all in person and we look forward to the lively tournaments in-person next season to see those costumes up close made out of unique materials, or to look at that mechanism and wonder how it works, or to hold our breath just before that structure cracks, or to simply see all the people of our Odyssey community happy and healthy with the sun or rain hitting your smiles. This season we will still get to see all that creativity on a new platform and see what you all do in this new modality that we all live. It is so exciting to be in this new world that only Omers can grab with both hands and seven minds and make something amazing!

Tournament season is here! Let’s see that creativity SHINE online!
Go through those important dates and check off the important registration and submission dates and while on the journey have FUN!
See you all soon … online!
Be safe.
Diedre Girod
NorCal Association Director


Show Us Your Talent graphic

Registration is OPEN for the ALL Regions Showcase Tournament.

For the first time NorCal will be having the ALL Regions Showcase tournament. This is the first opportunity for your team will have to show what they have been creating. Teams must participate in the ALL Regions Showcase Tournament to advance to the NorCal State Association Tournament. Teams that qualify will then advance to WORLDS.

Please have your membership number, problem number and division number for your team prior to beginning the registration process.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Teams, then Members Area. Login using your membership number and zip code for the membership.
  3. Click on Team Registration and complete the process with the national office. You will need the full names and grades of all individuals on your team.



Do Not Miss the Deadline graphic

In this “Odd”yssey year, we will be hosting our very first ALL Regions Showcase Tournament. Due to the current health conditions in our state and competitions moved online the Showcase is bringing all the regions together instead of hosting separate regional tournaments. Teams from all problems, all divisions and all 6 regions of Northern California will submit their long term solutions online and participate in spontaneous. This gives teams an opportunity to participate in the online system and receive feedback with scores from judging teams.

  • ALL REGIONS SHOWCASE will have window of time that submission can be uploaded.
  • Showcase submissions open on February 1st.
  • Showcase submission close on February 22nd at 8:00pm.

Then tune in on March 13th for the All Regions Showcase Announcements and Shout-outs! Rankings are not being given but tune in to see if any special awards are given. Watch for more information to be posted soon.

Teams MUST submit a solution to the Regional Showcase to be advanced to the NorCal State Association Tournament. Teams that qualify to advance from the NorCal State Tournament will go to WORLD FINALS. Participation in the showcase is required.



With the new year comes tournament season which means it’s time to train our wonderful volunteer judges!

Each Team needs to provide a judge that will get the opportunity to judge both the ALL Regions Showcase and the NorCal State Association Tournament. Who is this person? This often is someone that loves creativity and ingenuity and having a smile on their face. This person can be a teacher, community member, relative, someone that is ready to have a lot of fun that is at least 18 years old. Former Omers are always welcome too.

To register your judge, please visit and click on the Judge tab and then on Judge – Registration or click below.

Your judge will need your membership number, problem and division in order to register. Because judges will attend virtual trainings and judge from home, they need to be a little tech savvy and have access to a PC or MAC, not an iPad or Chromebook.

Judge training will be held virtually on February 8th at 6:30pm for their problem specific team and on February 13th at 10:00am for technical scoring training.

Judges Gavel graphic

COACHES Q&A Webinar January 21st

All coaches and school coordinators are encouraged to attend a question and answer session on:

Thursday, January 21st 7:00pm
Register for the webinar below or at this link

Be sure to attend for information regarding online video submission process, team paperwork and spontaneous online, and the latest updates. This webinar is an opportunity to ask questions and hear tips and tricks from others.

Be sure to also visit our website and click on Coaches, then Virtual Journey Tools or Virtual FAQ for more information.

Register for Coach Q&A Webinar


Our wonderful State Problem Captains have recorded special videos with information about your specific long term problem. It is highly recommended that ALL teams and coaches review these videos. To view, go to and click on Coaches, then select A Word on the Problem.


Coming soon – an email from your Association Director with tip and tricks for the Virtual Format of spontaneous. To help your team prepare, here are some of the changes.

Verbal Spontaneous in a Virtual Competition

Welcome to a new type of verbal competition! The Virtual Spontaneous Competition is 20 minutes long. This includes thinking time, generating responses, and submitting final responses.

A few of the changes:

  • ALL team members can participate.
  • There’s no specific order for giving responses.
  • 25-35 total responses are submitted by the TEAM.
  • Responses can be created together by more than one team member.
  • The number of responses given by any team member is not limited.
  • If team members feel uncomfortable giving responses (some do), they can still participate by giving feedback on other responses.
  • If more than the required number of responses are given, the team can decide which responses to choose to submit for scoring.

Teamwork is critical while completing a virtual verbal spont problem. The whole team works together to create and submit the very best set of responses possible. So in a virtual competition, the verbal problem is solved by the team as a whole.

Spontaneity is the Best Kind of Adventure graphic


NorCal OM Creative Sheep Prop

As teams begin to finish and refine long-term solutions, please encourage students to review the full problem description to see if any scoring elements have been missed. Do not forget to review section F of the long term problem to find the TWO MANDATORY style elements. Remember, Style is where each team has a chance to SHINE as they showcase their unique creations.


Scholarship graphic

High School Seniors!!!!

Apply for scholarships that are only available to NorCal OMers by going to the NorCal Odyssey of the Mind association website and apply today. IF you have been in Odyssey for three years and one of those years is in high school these scholarships are for YOU. Due date March 1st.…/norcal-scholarships/

National Odyssey of the Mind has scholarships available thru Creative Opportunities. Apply TODAY!


Between date of submission and announcement of scores, the NorCal Association will have multiple activities for your team to have a little fun. More details to be released closer to the February 22nd submission date. There will be prizes for your team to win. You will NOT want to miss out on these fun activities!!!!

Odyssey Angels logo

The pandemic has definitely brought several community needs to light. Has your team been able to use their critical thinking and creativity to solve a problem in your community? Do your students have special philanthropic ideas they wish to make reality? GO FOR IT! OMers have made a tremendous difference in communities all around the world by helping individuals or solving problems that are often overlooked. Submit your team idea and then put it into action before April 1st. Visit the Odyssey Angels website for more information