Operation Snowball

Planned and led by teens for teens, Operation Snowball is a fun, intensive yearly weekend retreat that helps participants develop confidence, purpose, and leadership skills.

Supported by Response Center staff, teens train to lead this innovative program of discussions, team-building activities, and interactive workshops centered around essential topics like diversity, positive decision making, healthy relationships, social justice, and more.

Snowball Teen Leaders get a chance to hone their leadership and peer education skills in a relaxed, supportive setting. Participants get to meet other teens from all over the Chicago area and engage in honest, inspiring conversations and activities led by their peers. It’s a safe space for everyone to express themselves, share their life experiences with others, and have a great time while doing so.

Register for Operation Snowball

Interested in attending the next Operation Snowball retreat and/or training to become a Teen Leader? Register online or contact Kelly Grover at 773.516.5510.

To stay updated on Snowball registration dates and other important information, like Response Center’s Facebook page.

Operation Snowball Testimonials

Read what some of our Snowball alumni have to say about the program:

I would not be where I am today without SNOWBALL. There isn’t a day that goes by without thanks for the lessons that I learned, the people I met, and the confidence I gained from being a part of such an incredible program. … Snowball gave me a place to be ME. I didn’t have to put on a mask to hide who I was or pretend to be something that I wasn’t to be accepted. It was a safe space to learn and grow; to know that I was never alone.

—Ronnie Kroell, Snowball participant and leader

Snowball gave me a voice. Snowball gave me a purpose. It gave me a reason to step out of my shell and find light in the otherwise dark days of high school. Between the staff at Response, who changed my life, and the friends I made, I finally had somewhere to find myself and help others. I learned how to open my mouth and be assertive for myself and others. I learned to have confidence in myself, something that seemed impossible. I NEVER had any self-esteem. At Response Center, that wasn’t acceptable. And for that, I am forever thankful.

Diana Gelfand, Snowball participant and leader

I participated in Teens For Change and Snowball. I don’t remember how I heard about Response Center; I think it was one of those things that everyone just knew about … something that was always there for us. Walking through the doors of Response Center I remember feeling this real sense of unconditional support and acceptance. In particular I remember [it] being this total bastion of safety for LGBT youth, and that is something that is so essential and so lacking in most communities. I remember outreach staff listened to us in a very deep way, we really felt heard in a way that teenagers don’t generally get from grown-ups.

—Emily Parkinson, Snowball participant