By Christine Chamberlain (Minnesota)
Summit Semester gifts young adults with experience.
The 2018 Semester class jumped on a roller coaster ride of a journey in September, and since then, there has been no time for stopping. This is to be expected. Fast-paced adventuring is the very nature of the program. Learning life-altering lessons, gaining invaluable knowledge, and participating in Summit Semester’s traditions is the norm.
On October 30th, my classmates and I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in Summit Semester’s Farvest Hall. “Farvest Hall,” named by an anonymous alumnus who was unable to properly pronounce “Fall Harvest Festival,” marked a turning point in the semester. Since the arrival at Snow Wolf Lodge, Summit Programs Director Tripp Almon told the students that Farvest Hall would be the fourth best thing that would happen in their lives. Throughout the following weeks, the build-up to the event found some students excited, others curious, and a few skeptical. In order to keep Farvest Hall’s events a surprise, we were all kept in the dark about what exactly would be happening. The only details we knew was that there would be a 5k run in the morning and the day would end with a costume party. In the meantime, we had to wait while our committed staff members worked behind the scenes.
Nine weeks into the semester, the week of Farvest Hall arrived, and before we knew it, it was the night before the event.
The evening before, the students were finally given some insight into the festivities that would take place the next day. After our evening class, we were surprised to meet Professor Arthur Cornbottom (aka Staffer Jesse Childress), who informed us that Farvest Hall would be a competition between 6 countries, made up of the student body, to see who would host the 2020 Summer Olympics. After splitting us into our countries and giving us our team colors, we ended the night with anticipation for the next day.
Citizens of the World
The morning of Farvest Hall started off at 8:30 AM with an outdoor breakfast at the sports field, and shortly afterward the “citizens of the world” were officially introduced to the entire Olympic Committee. To our delight, every staff member played a character, each from a different country. It was at this moment we gained some insight into how much detailed work the staff had put into Farvest Hall, from the theme down to role-playing with costumes and accents. Our staffers had transformed before our eyes, and this made us anticipate the rest of the day.
Following introductions, the nations competed in a tug-of-war to determine who would receive a 20-second head start in the 5K run. The next couple of hours found competitors sprinting through a course littered with obstacles and distractions with the race ending with an army crawl and fiery finish line. Before, during, and after the 5k, it was inspirational to notice everyone encourage every single runner. Although loyalties to teammates were observed, most students were most concerned with seeing all their classmates finish strong.
Team (Spirit) Building
After the race, the countries reassembled to start cultivating their culture by carving pumpkins and painting flags to represent their people. It was quite interesting to see cultural development continue and national identity formation. Each team’s name changed from a certain color to a unique title. The peoples of the world started figuring out who they were. This re-enforced team spirit as everyone started quickly and creativity working with team members, many of whom were people they had not worked with closely before.
The end of this activity brought us to lunch, and instead of eating together in the Lodge’s dining hall, everyone congregated in our classroom in Echo Canyon to eat buffet style. The next thing on the agenda was to prepare a presentation explaining why each country would be the best for hosting the next Olympics. The Olympic Committee required that each nation talk about their top 5 laws, an important national holiday, and a brief introduction to the country’s history. Before these speeches were given, however, everyone created an anthem based off a recycled pop song that described each country in a unique way. This was by far one of the most entertaining parts of the day. Each team performed their song, and Echo was filled with laughter as hilarious lyrics and clever dance steps were executed as the entire assembly was introduced to each others’ culture for the first time. Humanity from every corner of the Earth was represented from those living under oceans, on Tatooine, Wakanda, Russia, and even to those who resided literally inside of an iceberg.
Capture the Flag
Following our performances, the assembly regrouped outside Snow Wolf Lodge to participate in a large-scale game of capture the flag. The entire acreage of Snow Wolf Lodge’s property was divided into zones and team members spent the next hour or so strategizing and sneaking through no-man’s-land.
With three definite blasts from Professor Cornbottom’s airhorn, the game ended and the Blue Team took the win. Following their victory, the time finally came to hear each county’s pitch as to why they were worthy enough to host the Olympics. Gathered once again in Echo, an eye opening experience awaited. We learned that the Titanic was actually sunk by Iceburgeian citizens, Blue Dye No.2 is cultivated on Tatooine, and the citizens of Wakanda were not allowed to talk about their country. Details from country anthems were expounded upon as we discovered Djibouti’s anti-Marijuana stance, B-loo-berry’s anarchy that “worked”, and the Russian Bandit’s capitalist governmental reform policy.
International Food Fight
The end of the afternoon led into the evening, and with the setting of the sun came a food fight in which each country covered each other in their national color. Within seconds, everyone was covered in shaving cream, soda, and condiments. All strategy and planning went out the window, and the fight erupted into a free-for-all. Once thoroughly satisfied that everyone was covered with as much food as possible, the Olympic Committee called the fight to an end and judged us according to how clean we were or, more appropriately, were not. From there, the time came to prepare for the annual costume party, the final act of the night.
Ending the evening dressed up for Halloween was the perfect way to wrap up Farvest Hall. The dinning hall had been beautifully transformed into a new space, and we were welcomed by Christmas lights strung across the room and background music setting the ambiance for the evening. After all that had taken place during the day, the costume party was a welcome change as everyone took the time to relax and admire each other’s thrifted costumes.