ALL ABOARD | Destination Imagination: From sea to shining see

Last weekend was a gentle reminder that life is grand even if we’ve all lost a few.

The first Saturday of every March, a magical experience unfolds across the water at Lake Stevens High School.

Don’t ask me for directions, because I got lost again this year.

But, being lost, I was found when I attended the Destination Imagination North Sound Regional Finals.

Forty-five teams from area schools located in Skagit, Whatcom, Island, Snohomish and San Juan counties competed for state slots en-route to May’s global finals in Knoxville.

This is my third year helping out with the awards ceremony.

I also unofficially serve as a volunteer monitor of youthful exuberance.

When was the last time you spent a day in a gymnasium filled with 300 to 400 kids?

And I thought airports were a great place to watch activity.

These Destination Imagination kids, competing courageously with the hope and angst of being one of the first-place teams to go to East Wenatchee, were amped.

When was the last time you saw anyone get amped to go to East Wenatchee?

Remember, however, when one is in fourth grade, going to the local dairy farm to see a cow could get us amped.

Even though I hated it at the time, I loved being young.

Being young was simple.

There was not much to remember.

There was not much to know.

There’s not that much to know when you don’t know anything.

I used to know it all.

I was 15 at the time.

Then 16.

Then 17.

I finally stopped knowing it all around the age of 25 when I learned how little I knew.

Einstein once said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

The creative teams honored by Destination Imagination are the perfect example of why education has changed for the better in this country.

Children are now encouraged and given opportunities to excel in their individual expression.

Destination Imagination offers that opportunity on a grand scale to help kids feel grand about themselves.

We soar with our strengths.

We whine with our weaknesses.

There was no whining heard over the screams of joy when parents and kids cheered for their courage and commitment in taking a project from beginning to end and beyond.

These Destination Imagination kids reminded me how smart I was in fourth grade.

A lot smarter than I was in seventh.

Today’s kids not only know where they are going to, but they also know where we are coming from.

Imagine that!

Speaking of kids, let us close by hugging the biggest kid of all, our beloved Chris Gabelein.

Chris’ Bayview memorial last Sunday was as she was.

A glorious, multi-colored-balloon gathering of friends and family with all hail breaking loose in the form of snow, a rainbow and street- only parking.

One-of-a-Kind Chris.

Your “Mouth from the South” salutes you. Forget that Radio Shack bullhorn you borrowed 20 years ago.

Now you have a gold one lined with pearls.

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