To casual observers walking along the Lakefill, the group of more than 80 screaming teenagers wearing bandanas and playing games on the grass could have been an odd sight.
“It was very intense,” said Sophie Boyce of Traverse City, Michigan. “There was a lot of yelling and a lot of cheering. We were all really into it.”
The Junior Junior Olympics, one of the program events that let cherubs run around, featured unconventional competitions like balloon toss, dizzy bat, tug of war and crack-open-a-frozen-shirt-and-wear-it.
“It was one of the most fun nights of my life,” said Ava Seccuro of Beverly Hills, California. “It was just really fun to be doing something other than academics with some of my closest friends, and it let me get to know them on different levels.”
Although the program immerses students in journalism for five weeks, activities like Junior Junior Olympics helped cherubs bond with their fellow classmates.
“For me, it was also a really good opportunity to get to know some of the members of my instructor group who I really hadn’t been acquainted with yet,” said Emmet Jamieson of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. “Now I’m friends with everybody in my group.”
On a Saturday night later in the program, the cherubs had exclusive use of the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion for three hours. They competed in basketball and tennis, swam and played a game of volleyball against the staff.
“I’m not the best at volleyball, but no one at cherubs will judge you or care,” said Jamieson, who competed in the game. “It’s a very welcoming environment for people who just want to have fun and exercise.”
Although cherubs spend most of their five weeks exercising their minds, they also have ample opportunities to ball out.
“The activities are nice breaks from sitting down at a computer all day,” said Sarah Effress of La Jolla, California. “It’s definitely nice to get outside and be away from computers and de-stress for a little.”