Finding Tournament Volunteers & Appraisers

Each team needs to provide two volunteers for tournament on March 3rd: a support volunteer and appraiser.

Remember, DI is entirely run by volunteers. The tournament cannot happen if the teams to not provide the required volunteers.

You need to have your volunteers identified in January. Use the month of December to find your volunteers. People are usually feeling pretty generous in Dec and are more likely to say yes. 🙂


Support volunteers: These people serve approx 2 hr shifts. These shifts can be scheduled around their child’s/children’s performances. This includes jobs such as: selling concessions, directing traffic in the parking lot, guarding props, etc. Get one of your parents to serve in this role.


Appraisers: Appraisers are the judges. They will attend a half day training in Gurnee IL on Feb. 10th in the morning where they learn how to judge one specific aspect of one challenge. Then on tournament day, they will work with a team of 4-5 appraisers to judge the students. They allocate points based on a rubric and the criteria outlined in their training. But they also get to provide positive feedback to celebrate the students’ accomplishments. You get to write little sticky notes where you jot down anything you liked or enjoyed about the performance. After the students finish their presentation, you get to talk to the students about their process. You hear how they came up with their ideas or made their creations. You also get to decide which teams advance to the State tournament in that category.

Appraisers do work all day. But they get tons of food. They get to meet awesome people, and everyone who appraised last year said they really enjoyed it. The challenge is that appraisers usually don’t get to watch their kids perform.

Here are who are typical appraisers:

  • Parents (they watch the dress rehearsal and have someone videotape their kids’ performances for them — our parents who did it last year really enjoyed this b/c it helped them appreciate what their children had been working on all season)
  • Grandparents (we had a LOT if grandparents last year…. and their grandparents friends)
  • Aunts/Uncles
  • Babysitters/Nannies
  • College students who are interested in education/science/engineering/technology/theater (DI is the largest competition in the world that promotes creativity in kids. It is a fantastic resume builder for college kids.) — PLEASE NOTE that appraisers must be 18 yrs old and be out of HS
  • ANYONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT BEING A TM NEXT YEAR! – If you have someone who is thinking about being a TM next year, recruit them to be an appraiser. Being an appraiser is the absolute best TM training you can get!
  • Retirees
  • Neighbors
  • People with older children who don’t mind volunteering 1 1/2 days to help kids
  • Anyone with an interest in engineering, science, theater, arts, writer, musician, etc. (DI pairs appraisers up with the challenge that best fits their interests/skills/experience.)

In the video section of this website (and in the volunteer section), there is an appraiser video you can share with your potential appraisers.

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