This evening is the ninth running of the Color War event called The Amazing Race. Traditionally, the female camper captains race against each other to complete a series of mental and physical challenges with clues spread across camp. They must then perform or solve them on BB1 in front of their entire team.
This is an oral history of the event, as told by its creators, former participants and judges.
Prior to the Amazing Race, there were several versions of tasks and events for female camper captains. The boys always participated in Rope Burn, but the roles on the girls’ side have evolved over time.
Jesse Levin, who co-created the Amazing Race with Jesse Cohen in 2014 says, “The female camper captains used to do something called Sandcastles. One year they had to build a model of camp.”
Adam Weiner, camper captain, 1987 White Water, says, “Sand Castles were weak. Then was the map of camp, and all I remember about that was how weak it was. But not as weak as Sand Castles.”
Levin: “We wanted to do something exciting. The boys had Rope Burn. We had nothing.”
Rachel Adams-Kaplan, camper captain,1992 Green Present, says, “I went shopping for porcelain figures for the captains at the mall and got Cinnabon for our bunk.”
Levin: “The Amazing Race was inspired by the TV show. That was our idea for it.”
Cohen: “Any time you try to change the tradition, it’s very difficult. While there is nothing that can match the intensity of Rope Burn, Sandcastles was not an equal alternative. After having watched a bunch of them, I knew it needed to change.
“There was one year that we tried to have them make a map out of items they needed to go find, but that wasn’t it either. The first year, we had about six or seven different events. Some more simplistic, like making a free-throw, and some more complicated, like having to put together a Rubik’s cube of Upper Staff faces using milk crates.”
Jesse Hockman, camper captain, 2007 White Villains: “What I liked about Sandcastles is you didn’t have to be a runner. But in the Amazing Race, you can be an athlete, but you also can be a good camper who knows stuff.”
Lola Kevich, 2021 White Broadway, says, “I was nervous about knowing past Color War captains.”
Tori Aurebach, camper captain, 2017 Green Humor, says, “I was nervous they were going to make me eat something gross.”
Levin: “There’s always an eating thing.”
Lauren Jackson, 2022 White Arctic: “I was nervous about doing it in front of the entire camp.”
Askley Klein, 2021 Green Hollywood, says, “It psyched me up! It made me want to perform.”
Sophie Gurtov, 2022 Green Tropic: “All day, leading up to it, I was thinking about the main event, and I was nervous about memorizing things.”
Brianna Pludo, 2021 Green Hollywood, says, “You have no idea what to expect.”
Jackson: “You can’t study for it.”
Klein: “You gotta expect the unexpected.”
Pludo: “Don’t stress about it. I know it’s hard, but studying is not going to help you.”
Klein: “Just work together. Win or lose, you still have the honor of doing it.”
Kevitch: “Don’t let the pressure get to you at all!”
Auerbach: “You can’t really prepare for this. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something like this. You’ll never get to do it again!”
Gurtov: “I’ll always remember catching the marshmallow and celebrating!”
Cohen: “Each year we try to find a bunch of different things that we can have the female Camper Captains do on BB1 that aren’t the same. We get more creative each year, and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out. It really puts them on the spot, as there is no possible way that they could prepare. Because, until they get their first envelope, they have no idea what’s in store for them. I’m thrilled that this is a new tradition that people are excited to have the opportunity to do.
“Additionally, one thing I love is this is a test of critical thinking, teamwork, endurance, and skill. It’s an incredibly impressive thing to watch these female camper captains rock it every year.”
Stay tuned for the results!