It’s a normal Tuesday afternoon. Cambridge Wyldlife volunteers gather at First Baptist church in Cambridge that opens it’s doors to facilitate step one of the Jell-O making process. Giant bags (around 300 gallons worth) of Jell-O are poured into five-gallon buckets and mixed with hot water. With hands stained red and nostrils full of Jell-O powder, the buckets are transferred to the Sinclair gas station, where they are put into the refrigerator to set.
While the Jell-O forms, the Isanti County Fairgrounds are set up with an obstacle course, sound equipment, water balloons, and the massive tarp that will host the Jell-O fight.
Finally, Sunday arrives. Sixty-Five kids from Cambridge, Isanti, Princeton, and North Branch swarm the fair grounds, entering only after they are marked with their team color. Inside the gates, they paint their faces to represent their team. Just when the kids think they can’t wait any longer, the signal is given and the 6th through 8th graders make the 150-yard run to the event.
During the next half hour, kids act like James Bond, are pulled on mattresses with a bowl of Jell-O strapped to their back, and play tug-a-war. Boys with linked arms are pulled apart by screaming girls and kids that are dizzy from spinning fly through the obstacle course as they conquer a stack of hay bales, balance beams, the army crawl, swinging jump-ropes, and tires only to find themselves standing on the large tarp. They wait for the moment when pales of Jell-O are poured down on them.
If this event were to be frozen at any moment, one would find almost every person, including parents and any one of the twenty-five volunteers, to have a smile upon their face. In this moment, it doesn’t matter what class you are in, who your friends are, or what clothes you are wearing. In this moment it is about throwing as much Jell-O as possible at as many people as possible, it is about working together to tackle volunteers and cover them with Jell-O, and it’s about seeing who can slide the farthest on the Jell-O filled tarp.
Near the end, fire trucks arrive and kids forget about the Jell-O, racing to the trucks to have warm water sprayed down on them by members of the Cambridge Fire Department.
After they rinse off, a garbage bag with holes for their heads and arms are placed around them and they go home with their hands still a light shade of red that for a short time will serve as a reminder of the annual Jell-O event.
On behalf of Cambridge Young Life and Wyldlife thank you to all the members of the community that helped to put on this event. Wyldlife (6th through 8th grade) meets every other Monday at 7:27-8:28 p.m. – Next meeting is Oct. 10. Young Life (9th-12th grade) meets every Wednesday at 8:28-9:29 p.m. starting Sept. 28. The Young Life office is located near the Cambridge McDonalds, next to Anytime Fitness.