Students attending a Snowball meeting work on a collaborative snack-building activity.

Calvin Reed

Students attending a Snowball meeting work on a collaborative snack-building activity.

Calvin Reed, Staff Writer

“I didn’t know what I was walking into. My first time attending an Operation Snowball meeting, I was actually looking for the HOPE club. As it turned out, the HOPE club, which was scheduled to meet in B215, had been canceled for that day. But next door in B214, a certain other club was in session. I decided to go see what was happening. Inside, I noticed that there were a couple of boxes of dry spaghetti, a bag of marshmallows, and one club member. I introduced myself, and, in turn, I was introduced to Operation Snowball….”
–Anthony Herrera, East Freshman

Similarly, when I first went to Operation Snowball, I was greeted by a modest grouping of students gathered around a Domino’s pizza and a 12-pack of Coca-Cola. The activity of the weekly meeting was simple–A blindfolded challenge to construct a plate of snacks with a friend.
Motivated to win this competition, the club attendees worked together in this hilarious game to see who could spray cheese ritz crackers and construct s’mores faster than the other. Sure, this might all seem pointless (as I initially thought,) but I soon discovered there was a greater meaning.
Operation Snowball started as a small organization–founded in Rockford, Illinois in 1979–and was focused on creating a safe space for people to talk about their addiction-related issues.
It was a pro-discussion, but not an anti-drug organization. A student-led, no-judgment group to ease people into talking about any issues they were facing.
“Operation snowball is a peer leadership group centered around three aspects of health, mental, physical, and emotional,” said Operation Snowball advisor Jake Stewart.
I found that after the competition was over, what followed was a thoughtful discussion about what the simple challenge told us about life.
Since Snowball’s founding, it’s expanded to an international organization, with divisions in most of the US and several European countries. However, it still remains “local” in its ideas and focuses on building a community.
So what exactly is Operation Snowball? Asking Advisor Stewart, he said: “A place where we can uncover the difficulties that being a teenager really is.”
“People find connection, they build friendships.”
It can be anything you want it to be. A support system, a helpful outlet that’s impactful in its ideas.
(Or, you can go for the pizza.)
If you would like more information, you are encouraged to contact adviser Mr. Jacob Stewart.