Tim Walsh: Stories from the Young Inventor Challenge

by Tim Walsh | 16 May 2024

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed


In celebration of our "MAY I help? Yes, you MAY" Campaign (DONATE HERE),

We are encouraging everyone to share their favorite

Young Inventor Challenge® Stories. Here’s mine from last year!

On the Saturday morning of the Young Inventor Challenge International Championship, I noticed a young participant and her Mom talking. This poor kid was on the verge of tears and Mom looked exasperated. I introduced myself and found out her name was Carol. I shared with her that I had judged her game presentation online, and that I really liked her pitch and her game. I told her, “You’re going to do great today.”

The email exchange below tells the rest of the story. (I got permission from Carol’s mom, Maggie, to share this).


Hi Maggie,

Ahren Hoffman passed on your email to me. I was so glad to hear your daughter Carol won best game! I could tell she was a bit nervous at the beginning, so I hope my brief chat with her was encouraging. I remembered her and her game from judging it online and really did think it was great!

Thank you so much for participating in the YIC. We really do believe in the skills and confidence that this program instills in kids like Carol and we couldn’t do it without the support of parents like you. We appreciate you.

Seize the Play!



Hi Tim,

I just wanted to thank you for those words of encouragement. It was an exhausting morning. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We barely made it on time. She wasn't prepared with her pitch. She lost her paper. It was a lot, and she's been stretched thin with the play she was in (We had no idea this was the same weekend when we signed up).  I think we were both about to cry when you walked up. It was a small kindness, but I can't tell you how much it meant to both of us. It felt like the universe provided exactly what we needed at the exact time we needed it. A rare occurrence, and it altered the trajectory of the day. Thank you.

I am so bummed she wasn't there to receive the award. I never imagined her winning this when we started. When she first told me she wanted to have a game about cats throwing up hairballs, I told her it was gross. lol. Little did I know.... After her play and win, we played Clue for the first time and watched Jumanji. She and her brother are already talking about the next board game invention. It's been an amazing experience. Thank you for the opportunity.

Kind Regards,


Would you consider contributing to an event the brings out the best in kids? For the month of May, we are asking YOU to back the Young Inventor Challenge® with any amount you desire. Every dollar directly supports the innovators of the YIC! 

Please consider backing the Young Inventor Challenge here: https://lnkd.in/eGMzDRMx AND be sure to post YOUR favorite Young Inventor Challenge story and include the donation link. We can't wait to hear it!

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Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!