Rock, paper, scissors send children to camp

Jill Knuth, a freshman in LAS, and Rene Valdez, a sophomore in LAS, face off in the finals of a rock paper scissors tournament held on Sunday. Trevor Greene

Jill Knuth, a freshman in LAS, and Rene Valdez, a sophomore in LAS, face off in the finals of a rock paper scissors tournament held on Sunday. Trevor Greene

By Rachel Rubin

Competition heated up on the South Quad late Sunday afternoon when the Illini Summer Opportunity Organization sponsored the second annual rock, paper, scissors tournament.

ISOO is a student organization with the focus of raising money for children in Champaign-Urbana to go to summer camp.

The organization began last year when a group of students noticed that many families in the community could not afford the $180 fee for a two-week summer camp program.

“Not many students realize that outside of our campus there is a whole community out here,” said Scott Wolf, senior in Business and last year’s president of ISOO.

Wolf said that with the ongoing economic crisis, it was expected to be harder this year for families to get the funds.

Rock, paper, scissors was one easy way to accomplish the group’s goal, said Josh Gross, sophomore in ACES and treasurer of ISOO.

“Who doesn’t know how to play?” Gross said. “It’s a quick hit.”

The founders, mostly from Sigma Alpha Mu, used the Greek system to get the word out.

“Playing rock, paper, scissors makes you feel like a kid again. We’re hoping it will remind everyone of how fun it was to be younger and go to summer camp,” said Holden Metz, junior in AHS and president of ISOO.

All entries in the tournament received an “I got Rocked” T-shirt and free meal coupons from Noodles and Co. and Howbowda Bagel. Red Bull and Chipotle also sponsored the event, and donated raffle prizes including a 27″ high-definition television, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and Chicago Bears tickets.

Girls from Sigma Delta Tau sold balloons tagged with stamped postcards. The postcard returned from the farthest location will win a free trip to Mexico.

Many in the energized crowd danced to the Jock Jams blasting from the main stage.

“I just came in knowing it was all a chance,” said this year’s champion, Rene Valdez, a sophomore in LAS. Valdez won a free trip to Acapulco from Student Travel Services, a Chipotle burrito party for 50 people, and an iPod touch.

The second place winner would also get an iPod touch, Wolf said.

After last year’s tournament the Champaign Park District was able to give out 144 summer camp scholarships, almost double the amount it could hand out the year before. In Urbana, 80 children attended camp for free.

An anonymous donor chose to donate $9 for every $10 raised this year, helping raise the total to $19,000.

“Last year we were trying to send kids to camp, but this year we’re trying to change the community,” Wolf said.

ISOO will be hosting their next event, a raffle ticket competition, on Oct. 18 at the Phi Kappa Psi house before the football game.