For our Senior Village campers, there are few things that they look forward to more than College Days. Over the course of the last three days, these young men were split into four teams for an ongoing competition that had them doing it all – testing everything from their athletic prowess to their wit, from their skills in various camp activities to their culinary proficiencies.
This year’s colleges were Air Force, Boise State, Dayton, and UC-Santa Cruz. This random assortment of universities illuminates the fact that College Days gives our Senior Village campers the opportunity to run their own teams. There are no captains or advisors to oversee the process, and each team’s success relies on their ability to collaborate with one another.
They have played football, basketball, softball, speedball and soccer. They have played tennis, shot archery and riflery, climbed, sailed, swam, disc golfed and canoed. They have played cards, chess, board games and done trivia. And those are just the basics. They have written cheers and dressed up mascots (see pictures). They have participated in Lincoln-Douglas style debates. They have created plaques to honor their schools. And I’m probably still missing a bunch.
On Monday night the teams competed in the College Days Cook-off. The object was for each team to prepare a gourmet three-course meal to gain the favor of the esteemed food critics. Their kitchen: a campfire. The teams successfully whipped up some flavorful creations including quesadillas, salads, and pita pizzas. The main courses were all chicken dishes, and we had top-notch pineapple chicken, chicken parmigiana, jerk chicken and a chicken stir-fry. For dessert, we had fried bananas and dipping bananas, and a marvelous fruit tart.
While the food was delicious, there’s more to the cook-off than taste. The teams are also judged on service. In addition to having chefs and sous chefs, each team is required to have a waiter, and assistant waiter and a busboy. These guys work their tails off to ensure the satisfaction of the judges. Some teams even went above and beyond providing entertainment in the form of serenades from Andrew R.’s ukelele and Grant G.’s rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These guys all fared very well against the judges tough questions that ranged from an in-depth knowledge of the ingredients, to an understanding of the difference between Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Parmigiana.
All in all, it was a great three days for the Senior Village, and one they won’t soon forget.