SIBS Weekend brings families together despite inclement weather


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Andrew Whitaker | Staff Photographer SIBS Weekend participants climb the rock wall in Finch Fieldhouse on Friday.

In its 51st year as a campus tradition, SIBS Weekend brought with it a maelstrom of weather problems that threatened to turn students and siblings away.

Luckily, only a few of the 43 scheduled events suffered as a result of the snow, ice and slush. Kicking off with bowling in the Student Activity Center and dinner in most of the residential restaurants, SIBS Weekend 2014 was full of both traditional and new events for students and their families.

Some of the standout events included laser tag, rock climbing, glow in the dark miniature golf, sports and dance clinics, gymnastics, a night club and the ever-popular SIBS Carnival held in the SAC.

According to Holland senior Jill Bardowski, a staff member at Adventure Seminars volunteering for the second time, rock climbing has been a popular part of SIBS Weekend for several years. Bardowski is also involved in the night climbs, high ropes course and team building workshops that Adventure Seminars hosts.

“It was fun, but very, very busy,” Bardowski said. “It was kind of overwhelming. People love it.”

Bardowski is one of two or three staff members that monitor the siblings along with weekend volunteers, making sure harnesses are secured and that rules are being followed. After signing a waiver, siblings were strapped into harnesses and took turns climbing walls, which changed in difficulty with steeper inclines and more challenging paths.

“Even the siblings that go here have no idea it’s here,” Bardowski said. “Some of them will stay for hours if it’s not too crowded.”

Lowell senior Samantha Braman and her 11-year-old brother, Ricky, have been attending SIBS Weekend together for the past four years, and are no strangers to the rock wall. Braman, who used to volunteer at the wall, enjoys being able to climb again and bringing her brother along.

“It’s fun to come back,” Braman said. “And it’s fun to bring him here because he says he’s scared of heights, but then he gets like halfway up the wall and does great.”

Despite his small size, Ricky quickly progressed from wall to wall, while Braman scaled the makeshift rocks and rang the bell at the top in a matter of minutes.

Braman and her brother also enjoyed the Tactical Laser Tag held in Finch, where teams of six battled each other through a maze of camouflage inflatables.

Laser tag was a new addition to SIBS Weekend, along with several other events that attempted to keep the weekend entertaining for young and old siblings alike. Several aspects of the Carnival on Saturday were also updated from previous years. Due to inclement weather, part of the carnival was postponed until 7 p.m., as the company delivering the inflatable elements got stuck in the snow en route to the school.

The carnival included two new inflatable games in addition to the obstacle course. The “Wrecking Ball” forced players to dodge heavy spheres thrown by people standing on the outside while balancing on a pedestal in the center. “The Log Jammer” consisted of a spinning cylinder that also moved up and down, forcing players to either jump over or duck under it at the last second.

White Lake senior Lauren Zaloga, a core team member and carnival coordinator, said the carnival maintains certain elements every year, but tries to give organizers leeway to be creative.

“I got to pick what inflatables we wanted, so we kind of switched them up from last year,” Zaloga said.

Zaloga, who was a SIBS Weekend committee member for three years before taking on many roles on the core team, said the weather might have actually helped some aspects of the carnival.

Since the inflatables were late, other activities – such as the less popular crafts – received more attention from students and their siblings. The portion of the carnival including animals, snacks, gymnastics and craft materials was open at 2 p.m. while the inflatables were still on their way.

“We just thought about different scenarios in case they couldn’t come,” Zaloga said. “I think people got to enjoy the other two rooms. We’re almost out of all of our crafts.”

The carnival also serves to include members of the local community in the form of vendors, who provided balloon sculptures, air brush tattoos, caricatures and face paint. Mount Pleasant couple Corby and Donna Blem, of Pa Blem’s House of Trite, has been doing caricatures at SIBS Weekend for five years.

“The first time we did it was at MAINstage,” Corby Blem said. “I love to paint and I teach workshops, and this is kind of a natural extension of that.”

Corby Blem, who works at Student Employment at CMU, also hosts regular art classes in addition to selling his own artwork.

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