The waiters are often an untapped resource in camp. They are young, energetic, and interact with the campers around 3 times every day, yet many camps overlook their value as more than just a food service team.
A Waiter Olympics event is the perfect way to involve the wait staff at a much higher level than just food service.
- Reasons to have a Waiter Olympics event
- Choosing a venue
- Every camper is directly involved
- Game ideas
- Added touches that add to the fun
Reasons to have a Waiter Olympics event
• It’s fun, entertaining, and exciting
• It puts a spotlight on your waiters and gives them a chance to shine in front of their “customers”
• It creates camaraderie between campers and their waiters
• It makes a great low-cost camp-wide night activity
Choosing a venue
The dining room might seem like the place to do it; everything you need is right there. Unfortunately, the one thing you need that is NOT there is a place where the entire camp can sit and watch the competition without getting in the way.
So, it’s a bit of a schlep, but the best thing to do is bring everything you need from the dining room to the gym (if it has bleachers) or to any large open space where you can have a lot of spectators.
Every camper is directly involved
In addition to rewarding the waiters for winning, you announce a special treat that the winning waiter(s) will serve their campers at a meal the next day.
This gives the campers something to gain from rallying behind their waiter. Have them make signs, make cheers, and do all of the things that fans do when they go to games.
You can even give waiters extra points if their campers have really creative cheers for them.
I chose games by watching what the waiters had to do on a daily basis and translate those tasks into competitions. You should do the same; it doesn’t make sense to have them compete doing tasks that they don’t do in your dining room.
Here’s what we came up with:
Set Up / Bus tables: Start with tables and chairs folded, all supplies packed up. Waiters work together to set up tables and chairs, place tablecloths, utensils, etc. When the judges say the table is set properly, they race to pack everything back up and put away all supplies.
Obstacle Course carrying a full pitcher of water or tray of filled cups or bowls
Water Relay – similar to above, but the object is to move water from a container at the starting line to one at the finish line by carrying the water in pitchers by hand or on trays. First to fill their container wins.
Kool Aid blind taste test. Add a drop of black food coloring so they can’t tell by color, place in opaque bottle, or blindfold contestants.
Milk Combo: I noticed that after breakfast every morning, the waiters were responsible to combine all of the partial milk containers into one. Make it a race!
There are so many other options. Like I said, watch what your waiters do every day and turn those tasks into competitions!
Added touches that add to the fun
• Audience cheer competitions between events
• Project a scoreboard with all of the events on it (I use a simple Excel spreadsheet for that)
• Rockin pump up music (Get Ready to Rumble, etc.) and a lively emcee
• Medal ceremony in the dining room at the same meal when the special treat is served