Operation Snowball asks Prospect to see the individual

Caption: Senior Via Reed and junior Mia Kaddatz work together in order to set up an obstacle course to help team building. (photo courtesy of Tori Kurchiy)
Caption: Senior Via Reed and junior Mia Kaddatz work together in order to set up an obstacle course to help team building. (photo courtesy of Tori Kurchiy)

It can be assumed that most students at Prospect are aware of Operation Snowball; whether it be from announcements, word of mouth or posters. All in all, the club has been very successful in making themselves known throughout the school.

However, that is where most students’ knowledge of the program ends. Many know that it indeed does exist, but there is the issue of not knowing what Operation Snowball is about. 

For junior student leader Kelsey Bennett, this confusion in what Snowball is comes from how it is done differently in every school.

“You Google [Operation Snowball] and it says ‘drug prevention,’ but that’s not what it is [for us],” Bennett said. “That’s not what it is for every school.”

According to  Bennett, Operation Snowball focuses on building connections with people that one may otherwise have ignored. As a student leader, she helps to lead a small group of other Snowball members, saying that it makes group members more open to talking about themselves more intimately.

During the Operation Snowball retreat in March, Bennet says that by doing community building exercises and activities, it helps for students to look past people and to see the individual.

“I feel like you’ll usually be walking down the hallway and you only say ‘Hi’ to your friends,” Bennet said. “You’ll only have a little group. But during Snowball, everybody’s new, nobody knows what’s going on, and everybody can just be together and make new friends with people you wouldn’t usually talk to.”

To put a greater emphasis on making new friends, during the Operation Snowball retreat, phones will be banned and any clocks will be taped over in order to not show the time. The reasoning for this choice is to prevent students from worrying about the time and instead focus on the event they’re taking part in. Bennett says that counselor and runner of Operation Snowball Timothy Franklin likes to call the program “Like church camp without the church.”

Many ideas for Prospect’s version of Snowball can be traced back to Fremd, who also takes part in their own version of the program each year. Following what she knows about Fremd’s experience with the program, senior student director Brooke Ipsen says that the school will come to understand Operation Snowball after the first retreat.

“I know this will change, but everyone’s understanding of [Operation Snowball] makes it look like [a lot is happening],” Ipsen said. “I hope that changes and it becomes a more positive image.”

To try to explain what Operation Snowball focuses on, Ipsen recounts an activity that they did to build connections with each other.

”We do this thing called the ‘Tape Game,’” Ipsen said. “You put a piece of tape on your back and you write your insecurities on it. That way, everybody knows what you’re insecure about. Then in a group, [other people] say things that are good about you and write those compliments over your insecurity [so that it’s the only thing you can read].”

As with Bennet, Ipsen emphasizes the importance of strong connections with other people. To her, the all day Snowball retreat is a way to get to know the people around her more personally, and in accordance with the overarching focus of Snowball — See past the person and see the unique individual.

“To me, [Operation Snowball] is something new and exciting,” Ipsen said. “[I get to] be a part of it and watch it unfold. I’m just excited to see how it continues [to grow] at Prospect in the coming years.”

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