D211 Operation Snowball Retreat hopes to spread positivity, good decisions
Video courtesy of Richard Bauer, Operation Snowball advisor.
D211’s Operation Snowball is right around the corner and will be held at Schaumburg High School on March 10.
Richard Bauer, Operation Snowball advisor, explained that there will be different workshops and guest speakers than years prior. Otherwise, there are not any large changes for the upcoming retreat. This year at Schaumburg High School, the retreat will be from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.. It costs $30, and space is limited to 100 participants per school.
Students are able to sign up online at the D211 Operation Snowball official website. While Bauer has said in an email to staff that most spots are now taken, interested students may continue to register and may likely still be able to attend.
The activities at the retreat are meant to help students realize that they are not alone in life and in their decisions. Operation Snowball pushes students to be good decision-makers and strong leaders through living substance-free lives.
Co-Director Lauren Day, ‘18, said that the activities become more emotional and impactful as the 16-hour day progresses. “There are several activities that focus on who you are and how you can help yourself,” she said. “It has helped me a lot with how I put myself in the ‘bigger picture.’”
Bauer explained that the students have check-in at 6:30 a.m., which is tough for most people. “We have energizers, games, and songs that we do from the moment [students] walk in,” he said. “It’s like when you walk onto a cruise ship and you have the entertainment committee there to welcome you.”
Co-Director Colin Witt, ‘18, said that he dealt with mental health issues and believes that other students’ lives could be impacted just like his. He said, “It was the thing that pushed me into being in a state of mind where I knew that it’s okay to be myself and show that to other people.”
Day said that Operation Snowball focuses on spreading positivity to others through your own self-improvement. She said, “Hopefully, if we impact one person, then they can impact another person, who can impact several other people, and the changes keep going to create a better society for our future.”
At a prior Operation Snowball, the students were surveyed about their experience. Bauer reported that 96.3% of participants said they would come back, 3% said that they would maybe come back, and only one student said that they would not come back. He said that the one student said they would not come back because the retreat is just too early.
Operation Snowball is held at a different school in our district each year, excluding Fremd because they are not involved in it. Bauer said that hosting at different schools is a way to heighten the interest because when it is held at Conant, it is a little bit more exciting. The next time it will be held at Conant is in 2020.
Tara Lovas is the only freshman staff member on Operation Snowball this year. As an eighth grader, she was chosen to attend the event in a small, select group of junior high students. “There’s a lot of stress in people’s lives and the day relieves that because you forget about your outside life,” she said.
The idea for Operation Snowball was created in 1977 by teenagers of the Illinois Teenage Institute, according to the official Operation Snowball Website. There are eighty chapters of Operation Snowball throughout Illinois and 30 chapters outside of Illinois.