Georgia began to participate in Odyssey of the Mind in 1983. Lilburn Middle School hosted our first state competition with seventeen schools and 230 students. In 1987, a regional level of competition was begun to allow all those who wanted to participate in Odyssey of the Mind to do so. Outstanding teams from both the Northern and Southern Regionals went on to the State Finals which was held at Morrow Junior High School in 1988. In 1990, this competition format was expanded to include four regions. In our twentieth anniversary year, 2003, Georgia Odyssey of the Mind had nearly 2,000 students participating!
Each year, Georgia teams from Divisions I, II, and III have gone on to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Beginning in 1992, Georgia has been represented by Division IV teams as well. The thrill of being part of a international group of award winning problem solvers has been a remarkable experience for Georgia’s creative stars. In that period of time, we have come home with a number of trophies; we have also earned several coveted Ranatra Fusca prizes for Outstanding Creativity. We were very proud of all our Georgia teams last year at World Finals 2013 in East Lansing, Michigan. Georgia had five teams place in the top three for their problem/division and received trophies. 17 teams out of the 35 teams representing Georgia placed in the top 10. Twelve teams were announced for being in the top 6. Georgia also received 1 Ranatra Fusca!
While teams are responsible for their own fund-raising for World Finals expenses, it will remain the goal of Georgia Odyssey of the Mind to raise funds to contribute to this effort. From 1988-1992, IBM in Atlanta donated their services in the form of a grant for our Creativity Calendar and publicity for all of our competitions. In the spring of 1990, the Harland Charitable Foundation gave a generous contribution to our expansion program. In 1995, Georgia Power provided support for the State Finals at the Agricultural Center in Perry Georgia. Also in 1995, AT&T provided their support to our famous “pin sales” by helping design two new pins with their logo. Georgia College & State University was our Educational Sponsor from 2000 through 2005. Beginning with the 2006 competition year Columbus State University has been our Educational Sponsor. Every year, Georgia Odyssey of the Mind makes a contribution to each of the Georgia teams going to World Finals.
Much of the success and growth of Georgia Odyssey of the Mind is due to the commitment of parents and teachers who volunteer hundreds of hours to coach and the Georgia Odyssey of the Mind Board of Directors who oversee the program. Small stipends, materials, transportation, and membership dues are often provided by the schools, but overwhelmingly the coaches contribute their time and energy because of their dedication to young people and their enthusiasm for creative problem solving.