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Snowball prepares for fall retreat, reflects on leadership roles

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2018 spring retreat- class of 2019 staff and theatre pose on their last night at camp.

2018 spring retreat- class of 2019 staff and theatre pose on their last night at camp.

2018 spring retreat- class of 2019 staff and theatre pose on their last night at camp.

Erin McGovern, Freelance Reporter

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Operation Snowball is currently preparing to bus 225 Lyons Township students to Camp MacLean for their annual fall retreat, leaving this Friday morning at around 9 a.m. The retreat will be full of first-time participants, said Snowball director John Quinlan ‘19.

“The main message of Snowball is encouraging high schoolers to live healthy and positive lives,” Quinlan said. “A part of this is through education on substance abuse, but we also aim to teach participants about mental health, spirituality, and diversity.”

Snowball is split into two sub-groups, staff and theatre. Weekly meetings consist of the staff developing leadership skills, learning how to lead small group discussions, and deciding on speakers for the retreat. Theatre determines topics for the skits, writes them, memorizes them and works on acting and transitions, as well as prepares to lead small group discussions surrounding their performance. The whole club must be prepared in time for the retreat which takes place on Nov. 2-4 this fall.

“We start off meeting 2 times a week and we work from using our script to becoming memorized,” Theatre director Shea Labatto ‘19 said. “By the end, we are able to not use scripts and focus on acting. A couple weeks prior to the retreat we meet every night for hours and work on our skits and transitions.”

Snowball staff and theatre only has about 50 members. Eighteen of those are theatre and the rest are staff. Through the weekend, the leaders guide participants in activities like energizers– chants to get participants moving and excited for activities to come– and also lead small group sessions to talk about guest speakers that come to speak on substance abuse. Lead by Dave Stormont and Angela Patel, Stormont said that he hopes that staff and theater help allow kids to be pushed “out of their comfort zones and lets them branch out with others.”

Snowball leaders possess and learn leadership skills that will benefit them from high school and beyond. They want the participants leaving inspired, connected, and to know that everyone has the chance to change the world in a positive way, Stormont said.

“I wanted to be a Snowball leader because on my retreats as a participant, I loved the positive energy and the community aspect of the program,” Quinlan said. “I wanted to be able to inspire other the way the leaders my freshman year inspired me.”

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