SNOWBALL FESTIVITIES: Snowball directors pose for a group photo before beginning the first day of activities. (Amy Goray)
SNOWBALL FESTIVITIES: Snowball directors pose for a group photo before beginning the first day of activities.

Amy Goray

DGN Snowball flourishes within a virtual setting

December 30, 2020

Due to COVID-19 concerns, DGN’s Operation Snowball will now be looking different compared to previous years. The leadership-empowering program is adjusting to a remote schedule that will span throughout the school year, instead of a couple of days.

“We wanted to start and end with something in person, but the activities in between will be remote through Zoom to keep everyone safe but together,” Operation Snowball advisor Keith Bullock said. “Most of the activities will be similar to a weekend retreat, but some will need to be modified to make them work remotely.”

The first activity had directors, leaders, and group members alike introducing themselves and learning about how Snowball will operate this year.

“The activities we did for our first two meetings had to do with getting to know you games and then a speaker who presented to all of snowball. This is very similar to our normal procedures where we arrive at Camp and do get to know you games and get settled in and then we go to see a speaker but it is all kind of condensed,” junior and snowball leader Luke Tschosik said. 

Participating students would usually hear from a speaker in person, but this year, group members heard from opening motivational speakers M&P Presentations through a remote setting.

“[M&P Presentations] were engaging, energetic, and silly. They provided a great atmosphere on camera and in the chat,” senior and snowball director Abby Manak said. “Students were volunteering and told to put answers in the chat, as well as support the students being put in the spotlight.”

Due to the new setting and length of Operation Snowball this year, the number of directors increased.

“There’s usually about 8 directors total, and this year we have around 14,” senior and snowball director Grace Mctigue said. “It’s super interesting to have so many perspectives and personalities, but at the same time it’s a little chaotic.”

Regular training for snowball group leaders and directors required in-person interactions, but training sessions were rescheduled for later in the year and the leader responsibilities were handed to the directors.

“This responsibility of leading small groups is given to our leaders but we realized that with little time before our event had to get started that we were never able to hold workshops for incoming leaders on how to manage a small group and it wouldn’t make sense to just throw them in a group without any preparation,” senior and snowball director Hailey Mendez said. “But our priority is to shift from leading the majority of the group to our leaders throughout the year so they will eventually be handling most of the responsibility for their group.”

Through a remote setting, leaders, and directors still had difficulties in keeping group members engaged with the lack of in-person contact.

“Unfortunately, we did have a few missing from our group and it was sad to not see them show up because I am so passionate about this program and I think it is something that everyone should give a try,” Mendez said. “I get having a zoom meeting where you sit and talk with people you just met is not everyone’s cup of tea but I am making it a priority now to focus on making sure my participants want to show up because they know they are going to have a good time.”

The lack of face-to-face interaction has been difficult for junior and snowball leader Elena Tomchek, but she still continues to promote Snowball’s values.

“Right now, we are unable to get to know each other from an in-person standpoint so we have just been trying to do our best to get across the goal of Snowball and to learn about each other,” Tomchek said. “Over remote settings, it’s very easy to reflect these values by being respectful to your peers and teachers. Also, you can promote these values by using social media in a positive way to spread kindness.”

Senior and snowball director Lindsey Good looks forward to seeing how the leaders and directors will promote Snowball’s message through remote activities.

“I thought my leaders did a great job adjusting to try and fit in as much of our planned activities as possible,” Good said. “A vital way we express those morals is through our speakers, discussions, skits, leadership activities, and other events planned. However, this year we are still planning on doing those activities, only through the computer. The only thing that will change is how we conduct those activities, but just because we are not together in person does not mean that we cannot have those meaningful conversations about our Snowball values.”

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